professional development

Retreat to Advance: Annual Staff Meeting Key to Business Success

Each year CFM stages a staff retreat. A PowerPoint serves as a visual guide through the day's agenda.We rarely ask our friends and clients to step inside the CFM tent, but come on in for a look at one of our keys to success — our annual business retreat.

CFM highly recommends that organizations engage in a yearly self-assessment and goal-setting retreat. If given a good deal of thought about desired results, an annual retreat may be a positive team-building experience.

As a CFM staff member since 1992, I hope to participate in my 20th retreat at the end of the year. Despite being smaller in the early days, the core elements of the retreat mostly have been the same. What we do at these one-day events represents the reasons CFM remains on the list for the “100 Best Companies” to work for in Oregon.

“CFM retreats are models of transparency. Every item that’s important to the company is shared with every member of the firm, from senior partners to the admin staff,” says Holly Paige, principal of the Wave One Group, one of the few non-staff observers invited to participate in recent meetings.

“The retreats also are valuable for professional development," she says. What has impressed me the most is the way partners and staff work together as a team of equals. It’s a recipe for success that works because of the mutual respect and camaraderie that is shared by every member of the firm.”

Every December the retreat is held at a location out of the office, followed by appetizers or dinner shared with spouses and partners. Some years the settings are cushy and other years the ambiance is more austere. The typical agenda includes:

Financial year in review:

Throughout the year all employees receive a graphic quarterly summary of the firm’s fiscal standing. A detailed year-end review is shared with staff at the retreat. As one of the wags in the TV drama “Mad Men” might say, CFM is an "open kimono company” when it comes to discussing our P&L. CFM is a profit-share company and it is important everyone understands our business environment and their role in contributing to the bottom line.

Business line updates: