By: Brian Sullivan

On May 9, 2014; Sullivan Engineering held its first annual planning retreat at the beautiful Parsippany Sheraton to discuss our long term goals and the steps that we should be taking now to achieve those goals. As a relatively young but growing firm, we felt it was crucial to discuss where we are as an organization, how we arrived here and where we intend to be in 10, 20, 30 years and beyond.

During our “Vision” presentation, we discussed how we plan on continuing to grow our building envelope team in the solid successful manner that we have to date. We also discussed other areas of practice we can incorporate to help support the building envelope team. Target markets were also identified for long term growth prospects. Additionally, we painted a picture of the growth opportunities for each individual in the organization.

After the vision presentation, we watched a TED talk by Simon Sinek titled How Great Leaders Inspire Action, followed by brief presentations on Business Development and Leadership. Just prior to lunch, we watched The Map to the Party, a video from Dave Ramsey’s Entreleadership series, emphasizing the importance of good communication in an organization.

After lunch, we focused more on the importance of communication. Jim Neidhardt of Renaissance Executive Forums discussed behavioral styles and effective forms of communication between people of differing styles. Earlier in 2014, all Sullivan Engineering team members completed behavioral assessments (Disc profiles) provided by Jim and individually reviewed the results were surprisingly (and at times comically) accurate. During Jim’s presentation, he referenced specific team members and the best methods to successfully communicate with those individuals. What we learned that day has been incredibly helpful to all of us as we interact and communicate with each other, as well as the clients, contractors and vendors on a daily basis.

The final presentation of the day was an excellent review of the PMP (Project Management Professional) certification process by Naser Hammadi, P.E. of Sullivan Engineering. Naser explained the process of obtaining the PMP designation, the topics covered in the educational and exam materials and most importantly the benefits that can be obtained from this process by each team member, as well as the company as a whole.

To close out the day, we watched an excellent and entertaining TED talk by Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work. Shawn’s talk The Happy Secret to Better Work showed us how to refocus the way we assess our personal happiness and success and was a great way to finish up an “inspiring,” “invigorating” and “re-energizing” day.

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