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Thanks for the learnings 2017. Bring on 2018.

“Time spent [focusing on} the past takes time away from building the future.” – Simon Sinek (adapted)

You spend a lot of time and effort hiring the right people for your team (and you should). You’ve found the #standapart candidates who have worked hard for their skills and talents, and who look for feedback and opportunities to learn and develop themselves throughout the year. And your team is looking solid: people are in the right roles, there’s an energetic and positive culture throughout the office, and overall, business looks good.

This year, when you look back, embrace past lessons as fuel. Then power forward into 2018.

The time right before the New Year can lead to reflection on what was, and what could’ve or should’ve been. Embrace. Learn.  Move forward. You’ve got a vision, business plans and strategies, and a team in place that needs your leadership. Onward and upward; thanks 2017 and HELLO 2018.

We take our own advice seriously.

Smart, Savvy + Associates finds and assesses top marketing, communications and sales talent. And now, Smart Savvy Academy delivers meaningful training experiences designed to accelerate performance and elevate business results. To make sure we’re meeting our own goals in providing #standapart service, CEO and Founder, Peter Reek, has his own team of high-achievers to lead, coach, and work toward measurable outcomes.

For this coming January, Peter has eschewed the annual employee retreat for a new tradition: The Team Advance. Curious about Peter’s forward thinking? Check out Smart Savvy’s (SS) chat with Peter (PR) for the details:

SS: Peter, you’ve decided against calling your annual offsite a “retreat” this year. What was your thinking in changing the name?

PR: This is a NEW Year. We’re not “retreating,” we’re advancing. It might be semantics, but it gets me thinking cozy and comfortable, reviewing charts and spreadsheets, and an imposed downtime to ease the transition between old and new. Our year-end is December, so to me, this is a function of the business calendar and not synonymous with the reflection and renewal process of New Year’s resolutions (which usually get broken by the middle of January).

SS: Instead of a retreat, you’ve planned what you’re calling a “Team Advance.” What’s it about?

PR: I’m constantly excited by the future. A new month, a new year, launching a new initiative. I’ve purposely built a team of forward-looking people, and I want us to share in the excitement of 2018 together. “Advance” is action—we’re not looking to take a step back. We want to jump forward, both feet in (or several pairs of feet in), and get busy moving our new year forward.

SS: If not done at a retreat, how will you evaluate the results of your 2017 KPIs?

PR: We do an annual review and it’s full of brilliant insights. But they are never surprises. We monitor KPIs on the daily. To me, the KPIs are part of everyday work. Dusting them off once a year or doing an exhaustive analysis once a year doesn’t allow for course correction, nor is it effective. If you’re off track from your vision, you need to know the very day you go off course. Likewise, with measurement tools and evaluation of data, you need to be on top of your numbers all year long.

SS: What are you most looking forward to in your Team Advance?

  • We’re launching a whole new business unit so we have a lot to talk about. It provides so many opportunities across the organization
  • We’re becoming a coaching culture and are introducing coaching into our mix
  • We’re dissecting our values by examining them through the lens of current business leaders and their books
  • And we’re setting goals for the year (and I mean real, tangible, stretching but achievable goals). And by “we,” I mean each of us as individuals
  • We’ll be at the Brewcreek Centre (strategically placed between Squamish and Whistler) which allows for some great outdoor pursuits, fireside drinks, team board games and laughter.

It’s a great feeling when you see the results of strategically building your team, setting your goals, and having everyone motivated to plunge into the new year, as a team.

Want to spur on your own forward thinking? Check out this list of books from Peter's bookshelf in 2017:

Patrick Lencioni – It was a BIG Patrick Lencioni year

Boundaries for Leaders – Dr. Henry Cloud

The Outward Mindset – Seeing Beyond Ourselves – The Arbinger Institute

Mindset – Carol Dweck

The Speed of Trust – Stephen M.R. Covey

Change the Culture Change the Game - Roger Connors and Tom Smith

Radical Candor – Kim Scott

Grit – Angela Duckworth

Braving the Wilderness – Brene Brown (liked this one so  much I bought one for each team member)

Want to know what Peter's reading in 2018? Subscribe to our newsletter, the Smart Savvy Hot Sheet (link on this page). Our end-of-year edition will share what he and the Smart Savvy team are diving into next.

Interested in planning your own Team Advance, or other training opportunity? Contact us for more information about Smart Savvy Academy training programs.


 Peter.jpgPeter Reek is the Founder and President of Smart, Savvy + Associates. We find high-calibre marketing, communications, creative and sales professionals with proven track records and in-demand skills for companies who need them, across the Pacific Northwest and in Toronto. We also provide leadership and training development programs for workplace programs, corporate retreats and individual growth opportunities. Contact Peter to discuss your organization's training needs.

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