At the end of last year a CEO client requested some help with the design and facilitation of his leadership team ‘Away Day’, to plan for 2016. When I asked the CEO about his purpose, hopes and concerns for the event, he replied:

“I think we lack ambition, we aspire to be the tallest pigmy (in our sector)…we generate ideas, but often, we are simply not good enough in execution and converting them into financial or commercial value.” He went on to say: “We don’t seem to learn, …we reinvent or ‘buy-in’ from consultants” (‘no offence intended’ he added!)

The CEOs expectations and the purpose of the two days, the top team would spend together, were made clear:

We need to understand and focus on the real ‘Game-changers’ for our business and avoid being preoccupied by today’s operational issues.
We need to discuss & agree our strategic ‘Roadmap’; it needs to be simple, compelling and prioritised, to inform our Change & Stakeholder Plan.
We need to look in the mirror and ask: ” do we have the leadership capability, the appropriate operating model, culture and tools to get there. His point being: mediocrity will not deliver a strategic advantage.

Depending on the preparation, the quality of debate and input, and ultimately the follow through, Leadership Away-Days can genuinely change the destiny of an organisation. They can inspire and align, innovate, create momentum as well as control; initiate collaboration, improve outcomes and performance.

In 2016, I wonder how many of these events will realise these benefits…or how many will prove that “Vision without action is a daydream. Action with without vision is a nightmare. (Japanese Proverb)