On Thursday, February 18th, Sullivan Engineering held its annual planning retreat. While preparation for this event demands considerable time, energy and expense, our team members eagerly look forward to the retreat every year. Common themes such as our company’s history, our visions for the future, and our employee culture are always discussed at our retreats. This year we delved more deeply into the organization, strategies, policies, procedures, commitment and recruitment necessary to attain the goals associated with what we refer to as our one year plan, our three-year picture and our ten-year target. With the usual transparency, our leadership team presented and reviewed the current picture and the company’s mission. They detailed their expectations of our present team and future recruits. Questions and comments were welcomed. Open discussion was encouraged. The retreat was vibrant and dynamic. Everyone who participated accessed their minds and hearts in order to create a collective vision of success for the firm. Once again, not only was momentum and good will generated, and better communication, mutual trust and appreciation for each other enhanced, but we were able to truly understand the paths to move our work forward in powerful ways.
We have found that the positive organizational reverberations of participating in a successful retreat stay with us long after we return to our daily routines. Our annual retreat reminds each of us that we are part of a team that shares a strong work ethic, and that everything we do is grounded in the principles of honesty and integrity. We believe in being humbly confident and forward thinking. There is no better motivation to get up and go to work every day than the realization that your coworkers share your core values, along with your core focus or passion, and that company leaders believe in empowering their people and consistently putting the team first. To quote our newest team member, “As a newcomer to the company this was truly an eye opening and exciting event to be a part of. What was remarkable about this event, was not only the content but the authenticity and the professionalism in which it was presented and delivered. Walking in you would think that Sullivan Engineering had 5000 employees. Many companies have a weekly meeting twice a year, so was motivating to hear about the upcoming shifts to the business structure. All aspects of the business were covered from marketing to operations. If I have learned anything since I started it’s that there is no other company or people like the team at Sullivan Engineering.
On a final note, we at Sullivan Engineering believe that the aspects reiterated at our annual planning retreats are also valuable to our clients and customers. When we have the opportunity to really get to know each other, both inside and outside of the office, we learn to work together more seamlessly and gain a better understanding of how to utilize each other’s strengths. A work team that embodies camaraderie and mutual respect multiplies its effectiveness. A team that is happy, optimistic and cooperative will better serve their client’s needs. A cohesive team that feels valued and engaged will work together to ensure that their shared goals and outcomes are reached, as well as the goals and outcomes that they are working to achieve for their clients.
We capped off the day by celebrating at SmartCEOa_s Future 50 Awards Dinner where Sullivan Engineering was one of the companies honored. The winners of this award are recognized for their exceptional employee and revenue growth along with the potential to be the backbone of our region’s economy for decades to come.
Thursday’s momentum continued into Friday’s Blue Sky Thinking session. Sullivan Engineering team members proposed concepts and ideas that would be typical in a brainstorming exercise, but also, more unconventional and creative wishes, dreams, and outside-the-box ideas were put forth for discussion.
Lastly, on Friday afternoon, the group enjoyed a presentation on Patrick Lencioni’s book “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by small business growth guru Jim Neidhardt.” Jim provides team coaching and training based on this business fable in which the author illustrates the behaviors of a healthy and focused team, and offers business leaders the practical advice and a model to assist in building an inspired, effective, and most of all productive staff. By the end of these two intense, yet exciting days, we all sensed how close we are to becoming that type of team, and committed to work hard and aspire to realize that ideal.