There has never been a time when Partner Retreats are more necessary than they are today. With the background of the current economic climate and the impact of the Legal Services Act 2007, the need for partners to take time out to review their business goals and plans is essential.
Practices must focus on strategic issues on a regular, planned basis, otherwise they will find that they are being overtaken by the competition and profits will begin to suffer.
The idea of a day-out (away-day) is nothing new, they have been a feature of business planning exercises for many years. However, one big criticism that participants express, is that the day often amounts to nothing more than a day lost to fee earning, most of the time spent talking about the past and airing, yet again, issues that cannot be (or there is no willingness to be) changed.
There is a need to ensure that the time spent delivers real value for the firm, in resolving strategic issues and in enhancing potential future profits. This is where Howard Hackney LLP’s experience of leading successful meetings of Professional Practices will more than pay for itself.
For a successful Partner Retreat, the key elements are:
- Focus on the future
- Specify the purpose
- Agree an agenda
- Prepare in advance
- Choose the location carefully
- Select a retreat leader
- Select participants
- Set and manage expectations
- Agree ground rules
- Manage the meeting
- Keep to the agenda
- Be prepared to make decisions
- Take minutes/agree an Action Plan
- Follow up
Partners are rarely trained to be business managers, most having achieved partnership through hard work and excellent business development/fee earning ability. Even less frequently do you find someone who can lead and facilitate a strategy meeting, without some accusations of partiality or favour from one or more of the other participants.
For this reason an independent meeting facilitator, such as Howard Hackney LLP, can hold the partners accountable, keep the agenda moving forward and make it work. This also allows every partner to speak their mind without appearing to control the agenda and discussions.