Episode 14: Personal Offsites: The Key To Growth In 2020, With Brett Gilliland

Brett Gilliland is the Founder and CEO of Elite Entrepreneurs, a company that specializes in giving $1M+ business owners the knowledge, processes, and tools to grow to $10M and beyond. Brett is an expert in organization development, leadership, and strategy and spent 10 years helping Infusionsoft grow from $7M in revenue to over $100M. Brett was involved in the foundational work of Purpose, Values, and Mission at Infusionsoft and facilitated the strategic planning process for many years.

One of Brett’s favorite professional accomplishments is co-creating Infusionsoft’s Elite Forum along with Clate Mask and building the Elite business inside of Infusionsoft. As the leader of the Elite business, Brett has helped hundreds of struggling seven-figure business owners overcome their biggest challenges and achieve new levels of success. He also played a central role in the development of Infusionsoft’s Leadership Model and was serving as the VP of Leadership Development when the decision was made to spin the Elite business out of Infusionsoft. As the new owner of Elite Entrepreneurs, Brett can’t think of anything else he’d rather be doing professionally. When Brett isn’t busy helping $1M+ businesses succeed, he is a family man who enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife, Sharon, and their 8 children.


What the podcast will teach you:

  • How Brett ran a full-day event for six entrepreneurs to help them get clarity in their personal lives, their businesses, and their leadership teams before their annual planning
  • Why you should conduct personal offsites on a quarterly basis at a minimum, just as you should be doing for your leadership team
  • Why it is easy to get stuck in a “treading water” mode and in a habit of responding to everything, and why a personal offsite with minimal distractions and technology is the key to breaking out
  • Why the first, most important step in a successful personal offsite is dumping all the mental clutter from your brain by spending time writing it all down
  • Why you should journal positive thoughts and gratitude after you have dumped your mental clutter, and how it helps you get into the right mindset
  • What steps to take to create a “wheel of life” to grade yourself in each of the areas of your life that matter to you, and how it helps you identify areas where your life is out of balance
  • What other activities you can do to help you better achieve personal clarity and identify the things that are important to you
  • How to get clarity in your company, whether your team is fully engaged in the company’s vision and values, and what adjustments can be made to improve the company’s overall health
  • How to evaluate the health of your leadership team and identify the steps you can take to strengthen your leadership team, both individually and as a team
  • What Brett’s “fire and rehire” tool is and how it can help you identify whether you have the right people in the right seats on your leadership team


Let me be the first to welcome you to a new year as well. I know I’m probably not the first to do that, but let me express that anyway, happy new year. This is my January 1st, New Year’s episode. I’m excited to share some things with you that I hope will be beneficial to you this year, quarters and in years to come. Most people are pausing this time of year to contemplate what the new year will bring. I want to share with you some ideas about personal off-sites. This is going to be one of my solocasts. I put together some thoughts that will be extremely useful to you. I’m calling it personal off-sites. It’s not my term. It’s not something that I made up, but it’s something that I feel strongly about.

I believe that I have some things for you that will be super valuable as you try to make 2020 the year you want it to be, rather than waiting to see what it brings for you. A lot of people in the world have an attitude of, “I wonder what the new year will bring for me. I hope it’s a good one.” That’s the sentiment. We even share that sentiment with each other, “I hope you have a good new year.” While those are awesome expressions of genuine care and concern for one another, it still reflects an idea that we’re going to wait and see what happens. I don’t want to do that. I don’t want that for you. I want you to create the 2020 that you wanted to be for yourself.

I am going to wish you a good new year, but I’m going to do it in a way that says, “Let me help you create the year of your dreams, the year that you want it to be.” With that as a backdrop, let me tell you about something I did. I had a group of six business owners together. They flew in from different parts of the country. I led them through an experience of a full day of this idea of a personal offsite. Usually, you’ll do this personal off-site alone, or maybe you’ll bring somebody in for parts of it to thought partner with you. In this case, I was facilitating an experience.

Finding Clarity

At Elite Entrepreneurs, we have this thing once a quarter we call an intensive day. This time, the intensive day was called the I’m Clear Intensive Day. In other words, I was working with these six business owners to help them get clarity in three aspects of their life. One of them is to have clarity for themselves, their personal life, their business, and their leadership team. I wanted to do this before they went into their annual planning.

That’s the backdrop. They are going to go into annual planning with their teams. The idea that I was putting forward was, “You can’t effectively lead your team or your company if you’re not clear for yourself first.” I led them through a day of getting clear for themselves first. It was great. It was awesome. Let me re-emphasize something for you. You can’t lead others powerfully if you’re bogged down in the mud of day-to-day problems or concerns. Your business is coming at you all the time.

The folks at Franklin Covey called this the whirlwind. I liked that description. The whirlwind is pulling at you and you must break out of the whirlwind to get clear. This idea of conducting or holding a personal off-site for yourself periodically to get out of the mud or out of the whirlwind of the day to day, and get clear so that you can lead more powerfully back at the office with the team. That’s the idea. I called this intensive day the I’m Clear Intensive Day. I took participants through a series of exercises to help them get clear for themselves before they went into this planning cycle with their teams.

You can't lead others powerfully if you're bogged down in the mud of day-to-day problems or concerns. Click To Tweet

It would be silly of me to even pretend to any degree that I could recreate a full day of experience in a fairly brief episode. I’m not going to try to recreate it, but I’m going to share some high-level structure and insights, and a few tools to help you get more clear for yourself, your company and your team. Those are the three aspects of clarity that we’re going to be looking for when you go do these personal off-sites that I’m going to talk about.

A Recommended Frequency For Personal Offsites

Let’s talk about what makes for an effective personal offsite. Let’s talk about the frequency first. Just like in your business, I strongly recommend that you hold annual and quarterly planning off-sites, where you get away from the business. The right people are involved in these off-sites. It’s not necessarily the whole company unless you’re still pretty small.

If you’ve got 5 or 7 team members total, sure, full company. If you’ve got 10, 12 or 15 people and you’re starting to form a little leadership team, the team that needs to get together at these company off-sites once a quarter for planning are the team that is responsible for setting the direction for the company and allocating resources to go make that happen. Those are the folks who should be together.

Anyway, that’s for the company. For your personal off-site, it’s just you, but the frequency is similar. If you’re going to go plan for your company quarterly, I recommend before that quarterly planning off-site for your company that you find some time alone to get clear yourself. Your personal off-site, I would say once a quarter at least. Some of you will even want to do this a little more regularly. It doesn’t have to be the full-blown version of this every single month. Maybe you do a larger version once a quarter. For the other two months, you do a smaller version to check-in. It’s very similar to what you would want to do for your company. You’re going to do something for yourself.

How much time would you allocate to something like this? In the annual version of it, I would recommend the full day by yourself somewhere. We’ll talk about locations and best practices around that in a minute, but get away for a full day. Some of you will say, “I can’t afford to do that every single quarter.” I understand. Some of you will tell yourself you can’t get away for a quarter, even though that would be good for you.

Let me back up and say something about that. I know what it’s like to be a business owner. I am a business owner. You feel the weight of the world on your shoulders. If not constantly, frequently. You feel that. It’s heavy. It’s on there all the time. It doesn’t stop. There are times when the first thing you do in the morning is to grab your phone to check your bank account balance to make sure there are enough funds or see if there are any urgent messages in there that you need to deal with right away. There are times and seasons in your business life where that is true.

EEP 14 | Personal Offsites

Personal Offsites: Personal offsite doesn’t mean you have to find yourself at a mountain retreat, favorite fishing hole, or an outdoor place. It does mean that you need to be away from your normal setting.


If you continue to run that way, it becomes more and more true. The things keep stacking up on you and you become good at responding. You respond, respond, respond. This isn’t personal. This is human nature so don’t feel bad. All of us can get into this trap of patterns where we are responding to the thing that is most pressing right now. We’re trying to stay above water. If you get stuck in treading water mode, you can stay there for a long time, but not indefinitely. Eventually, you’ll get tired. You’ll burn out or you’ll drown, in this case, if you’re trying to tread water.

You’ve got to break out of that mode. I recommend getting away from everything once a quarter. If you can manage a full day, that would be ideal. If you know that it’s not going to happen, then take a half day. If you’re like, “No way, I can’t even do a half day,” then take two hours at a minimum. Ideally, a full day and in-between would be a half day. Every single quarter you’ve got to do this or else you’re not going to survive.

Best Location For Personal Offsites

The frequency would be quarterly. It’s even better if you can break some time out each month and check in on it. How much time? A full day at least annually. At least a half day quarterly, but two hours is better than nothing. On location, you want to get away. Let’s keep the intent of the personal off-site. It doesn’t mean you have to find yourself in some mountain retreat somewhere or your favorite fishing hole or favorite outdoor place. It does mean that you need to be away from your normal setting. You have to get away from the office. If you work out of your home, get away from your home. Just get out.

I mentioned getting out in nature. Ideally, you’re disconnected from concrete pavement and technology, and there’s not a lot of man-made around you. I would love for you to get out in nature somewhere. That would be ideal. If that’s not going to happen, then find your favorite coffee shop or find a quiet place, even at the public library. I know a CEO I worked with for a long time who would reserve a space in the library. It was quiet. It was away from the normal. Whatever would help you get away so that you can think. This is all about critical thinking. You’ve got to have time and space to think.

The last thing I’ll say about the setup of these off-sites is that you want to remove technology and distractions. Maybe you can have some music. If you like hearing beautiful music or something that fills your soul, great. Have some of that, but as much as possible, I would separate from technology, especially if you have the same disease I have, which is some little bell is ringing or some light happened on the screen and now I’m drawn to it. You have to get away from screens and technology, and just think.

You will want something to write on. I’m old school this way, a little journaling notebook, a pad of paper or whatever, but something to write on so that you’re not working in technology to have those other distractions come and take your attention. If you want to type notes on a laptop and turn off your Wi-Fi or go to go to airplane mode or something so you’re not connected, that’s probably acceptable. You might even try the old school thing and see what it does for you, paper and pen.

All of us can get into this trap of patterns where we are just responding to the thing that is most pressing right now. And if you get stuck into treading water mode, eventually, you'll get tired, burn out, or drown. You've got to break out of that… Click To Tweet

Personal Offsite Tools That Work

I’m going to give you some tools along the way. The first one, I’m going to call it the dump tool. For you to do this off-site effectively, you’ve got to get everything out of your brain. It’s got to be clear from all the to-dos, worries, concerns, problems, etc. All the relationship challenges, anything that might clutter or way down or take up space in your brain at all, we want to clear it out.

We’re going to dump everything out in this little journal or notepad. Don’t shortcut this, by the way. If it literally takes you an hour of nonstop writing to get everything out of your brain, then do it. Keep going. Write anything and everything that’s swimming around in your head. You want to clear every corner of your mind of all of the mental clutter that’s in there. By the way, writing it down, let your mind rest assured that you’ve captured everything and you’re not going to accidentally drop something.

Most of us are so good about being responsible and making sure we get everything done. We’ve created this ability to hold lots of ideas in our heads until we get them done and then they can leave. Especially if we’re forgetful as we get older, we have a harder time hanging on to all that stuff. We can miss big things. Our brains freak out even more. We can’t miss this stuff so we create a spot in our brain for urgent things that we got to keep in mind. Longer-term things that we know at some point are going to move to the urgent. We develop this capacity to keep a bunch of thoughts in our heads. Even if we don’t want it, it’s all sitting up there. We have to get it all out. We’ve got to clean house so that we can do some good critical thinking or some good, creative, positive type of thinking.

Once you write it all down, then your mind can rest assured. You can see it all. You’re not going to lose it. You can set it aside. You can get to that later and you can choose how to deal with each of those items, but we’re going to dump it all out. After you’ve dumped that all out, I recommend that you take a little bit of time for some positive thinking, some acknowledgement, some gratitude, anything that would put some positivity into your brain so that you can go from fearful response lizard-brain mode to more forward frontal cortex thinking. There’s more logic, more ability to reason, more ability to discern, be creative, and collaborate. All of that stuff happens in the front part of your brain. You don’t want to be stuck in the back part of your brain.

We want to do some positive thinking here. I might even journal some of the things that you are positive about or thankful for in your business and your personal life. I even had somebody doing this for themselves. They were journaling. It was around Thanksgiving time. He was in gratitude mode. He shot me a little text and said, “Brett, I was journaling. I wanted to let you know how thankful I am for you and Elite Entrepreneurs. You’ve made this huge difference in my business. I don’t know where I would be without you. I’m looking forward to another year together in 2020.”

It was not only thoughtful for me to receive that, but gave him some positivity to express that. You can do something like that after you’ve cleared your brain of all the clutter. You dump and then you fill back with some positivity and gratitude, and then we’re going to move on. That’s setting the stage in your mind to have a productive personal off-site. I mentioned three areas that I help these six business owners with. I’m going to take you guys through a little bit of each one. The first one is personal, then we’ll get to the company and then the team.

EEP 14 | Personal Offsites

Personal Offsites: As part of personal offsite, other things you can do for personal clarity is having a dream list or a bucket list that talks about the places you want to go, the things you want to learn, the people you want to connect with, or the experiences you want to have.


The Wheel Of Life

In the personal space, for you to have this personal off-site, part of this is getting clarity about your personal life. Not just yourself as a business owner, but what are some of the things that are going on in your life? How well does that match with what you would want for that life? The first tool I’m going to give you is around some life goals. There are probably different names for it out there.

When I learned it many years ago, it was called the wheel of life or maybe the balanced wheel approach. You come up with the major category areas of your life, however you want to define them. For example, here are four simple ones. There’s a physical aspect to my life, a mental or intellectual aspect, a spiritual aspect, and a social aspect. Simplistically, I could come up with those four categories and say, “Those are my balanced wheel or wheel of life spokes.” I’m going to try to describe a little visual thing.

Let’s say those were the four areas I wanted to measure in my life. I drew them as four separate spokes on a wheel. If you imagine a bicycle wheel or a car wheel, right in the middle is the hub where the axle would go. These spokes, one of them for physical, one for mental, one for spiritual, one for social would go out from the hub, equidistant from one another so that there’s some balance to this wheel or some potential for balance. I want each of those spokes to be of the same length.

I want you to put little measurement marks in there from 1 to 10, 10 being on the outside of the wheel, where the wheel would be at the end of the spoke, and 1 being right next to the center of the wheel, where the hub is. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, progressively out to the end of the spoke, all equidistant on each of those four spokes or however many spokes your wheel has. Maybe you chose to have one that says financial or community. Whatever your spokes end up being, for each one of them, I want you to have this measurement scale from 1 to 10, physically on the spoke, 10 being all the way out to the end of the wheel.

Here’s the fun part. You’ve got your wheel of life set up. I want you to measure for yourself how well you are doing currently in each of those areas. For physical, I’m going to rate myself on 1 to 10 and I’m going to say, “I’m not exercising the way I should. I’m doing pretty well. I’m keeping my weight in check. I’m trying to eat right. I’m going to call that a 6.” Six out of ten, I go up my spoke. I marked number 6, or put a little dot there, and then I move to the next spoke, mental or intellectual. I grade myself there and so on until you’ve got a grade for each of your spokes.

The fun part is almost like dot to dot. We’re going to connect the dots. We’re going to go from each spoke. The dot that we put on there to the dot on the next spoke. We’re going to create our wheel now. If you were perfect 10s in every area of your life, you would have a nice smooth wheel around the outside. You can put a little arc to your lines. It doesn’t have to be a straight line. We’re not looking for diamonds. It can be a little arc.

To do personal offsite effectively, you have to get everything out of your brain. Click To Tweet

If you arc between the dots that you grade yourself, you’ll see the shape of a wheel, or if you’re like most of us, you’ll see a misshapen wheel where there’s some lumpiness. That represents where your life may be feeling a little bit out of balance. That’s a tool for personal clarity. It’s looking at your whole life and how well you’re doing in keeping balance or wholeness across every aspect of your life, and the aspects defined by yourself.

This isn’t a prescriptive model. I didn’t tell you that you have to include spiritual or physical. If you don’t want those, don’t put them in your model. Only put the things in your model that mattered to you, grade yourself, and then connect the dots to see how well you are balancing your life that way. That’s an instructive exercise to go through. I recommend that as part of your personal off-site.

Other things you can do for personal clarity, and I won’t go into the same level of detail on these, but I would recommend some dream list or bucket list. Something that talks about the places you want to go, the things you want to learn, the people you want to connect with or maybe reconnect with after many years, or the experiences you want to have. All of those types of things may or may not show up on your wheel of life, but would be important aspects of you pursuing things that matter to you.

I Am Statements

Another thing that we do in this personal space when we’re getting clear for ourselves is around “I am” statements, sometimes referred to as affirmations. I have a set of fourteen statements that I tell myself at least once a day. Every day of my life for years, I have been programming myself or reminding myself because of the human tendency to forget or to go away from something that matters. I remind myself daily of these fourteen statements.

You need to have for yourself a way to program how you view yourself and which colors you view the world. Just like a software programmer, we’re going to make sure our code is intact on the key operating system for us. Those “I am” statements can be powerful. I’ll give you one example from my list. One of my “I am” statements is I am confident. I’m unafraid of what others think. You read “I am” twice in there, but the second one was an extension of the first. I am confident. I’m unafraid of what others think. That’s one of my “I am” statements and 1 of the 14 that I say to myself every single day.

Inventory Of Time

The last tool that I want to give you in this personal space is around what I call taking inventory of your time. I mentioned this on a previous solocast. I’m not going to go into it in great detail, but if you were to inventory every fifteen-minute chunk of your time and how you spend it and look at that over several weeks, you would see patterns of the things that are important in your life, whether or not you say they’re important. It’s the way that you’re spending your time. If you have something like a wheel of life or your balanced wheel, or you have dreams or a bucket list, and you aren’t spending time in ways that reflect those important aspects of your life, then you’re living out of integrity with what you say is important and how you spend your time.

EEP 14 | Personal Offsites

Personal Offsites: When you reach the point of growth where you have to start creating a leadership team, you need to ask what the overall health of this leadership team is.


That can be an instructive tool. To be clear, you can’t inventory your life for 1 or 2 days. You have to do an inventory of how you spend your time for a minimum of 2 weeks, ideally 3 or 4 weeks. You account for any one-time things that come up and exceptions. You want to get all that out and see the patterns of how you’re spending time over the course of several weeks to get this right. It’s a good thing to look at as part of a personal off-site how am I spending my time compared to what I say is important to me.

We’re going to move on from personal clarity. Before that, let me ask you, how much more powerful would I be as a leader if I were living my life the way that I want to live it very intentionally with a lot of discipline? If you’ve heard me talk at all, you’ve heard those two words, intentionality and discipline. That’s how effective people, teams, and organizations work. It’s with intentionality and discipline or rhythm if you want to think of discipline as rhythm.

We structure into our routine how we make things happen. We get intentional first and then we set up systems, processes, and time allocation to make that happen on a repeatable basis. We know how to turn ideas into results through rhythm and discipline. Anyway, if you got your personal act together, think about how much more personal power you would have to lead others to do the same for your team or company. That’s the reason we want to get clear for ourselves first.

Setting The Vision

Let’s move on to the company. The second aspect of our little I’m Clear Intensive Day was around getting clear about the company. This starts with the vision. If you’ve heard me talk about being intentional in a company or a team, it’s about setting the vision. You need to assess. As you’re sitting back in your personal off-site, you’re asking yourself questions like, “How well am I setting the vision in the company?” How would we know? Does everyone know what the vision is? Are they excited about it?

Are you enrolling them in a way that everybody’s engaged and is super passionate about the purpose of the company? Everybody loves and lives the values that we all share in the company. Everybody is fully in on and knows their role in accomplishing the mission that we’ve stated for the company. Of these vision elements of purpose, values and mission, how well are they in place? How well have people embraced them? How much energy and engagement are there around those things?

Continuing on in the questions you might ask yourself about the clarity in the company. What if any improvements need to be made around how well we’ve fully embraced the purpose, the values, the mission? What about the strategies to achieve your current mission? Are we on track? Now we can get into a little bit more measurement mode in your personal off-site. Are we on track to achieve the mission we set out to achieve? What did 2019 end up looking like? How well did it set us up or did it not set us up for what we need to do in 2020 to be on track to accomplish the mission?

If you have something like a wheel of life or your balanced wheel, a dream or a bucket list, and you aren't spending time in ways that reflect those important aspects of your life, then you're living out of integrity with what you say is important and… Click To Tweet

You’re reflecting now on actual business results and how well we’re trending towards achieving the stated mission. If the strategies are off track, what is your personal point of view on why we’re off track? What changed in the environment? What was wrong with the strategies we chose? What adjustments might we need to take or make? If you have your own point of view around that, you can better lead a team through the process of getting clear for themselves, not to align everybody to your thinking necessarily, but to have clarity for yourself that you can go and engage with the right people to discuss what should change.

If you don’t have any clarity on that and you’re just talking about it in a future team meeting or leadership planning offsite of some sort, you’re not going to come from a place of having a point of view. That’s not strong leadership. You want to think about these things in advance, not because you’re afraid of having ad hoc debates but because you want to have had some critical thinking on your own time so that you can represent what you feel are the best needs or conversations for the business’s overall well-being.

Filling Roles With A-Players

Another question on the company front is, what’s the current health of your leadership team or your full team? Are all of your key seats filled with A players? Some of us are like, “Every role is important or I wouldn’t pay somebody to do it.” I totally agree. Every role is important. Having said that, there are some roles that are greater in importance than others. I’m not talking about individuals. I’m talking about the role. If you remove the role, some roles would have a more detrimental impact on the business if they were removed than other roles. That’s what I’m talking about.

Are the key seats in your business filled with A players? First, we’re looking at the role, then we’re looking at the people in that role. We want all of our key seeds to be filled with A players. In this personal offsite, we’re going to be thinking about, “Are each of the seats in my leadership team filled with A players? Are the key seats across the company filled with A players? How happy are our people in general? How happy are our customers?” I don’t mean to put customers last here, but I feel strongly and teach all the time that happy employees make for happy customers.

When I’m looking at the overall health of the company, I start with the vision, then we start moving into the team, and then it’s going to show up. We’re going to validate all of that assessment when we ask ourselves, “How are our customers doing?” It’s hard to have a dysfunctional company or a company with a lot of weaknesses or challenges and still deliver exceptionally to customers. It should be validating the other points that I walked you through to this one last check, “How are our customers doing? Are they happy? Are they getting the value that we sold them?”

That’s a quick run-through, but all the types of things that you would talk with yourself about in a personal offsite in regards to the overall health of the company. How well we’re tracking to company goals and the current mission? How well we’re living the purpose and the values? How fun it is to work there? How well people are doing? Ultimately, how well are our customers doing as a result of our company’s current state of being?

EEP 14 | Personal Offsites

Personal Offsites: Individual growth aggregates to company growth. You have to have people performing at higher levels across the board to get higher company levels.


The Overall Strength Of The Leadership Team

The last thing I want to take you through here is the area of the team. I referenced the team already in the company review, but we get to drill down even further. I’ve got a fun little tool for you in this space as well. Hang on here with me. On the team front, I want to ask you specifically first. You’re going to ask yourself on this personal off-site, “What is the overall strength of my leadership team?” If you’ve tuned in long enough to the show, you know our focus is to help seven-figure business owners scale. If you’re not at seven figures yet, you might be like, ”I don’t have a leadership team per se,” I totally get that.

If you are at seven figures, you may or may not have a leadership team yet. Some business owners carry that thing on their back far too long, by the way, but they have a hard time thinking about paying for a leader a higher dollar salary or even knowing, “How do I hire a leader? How would I know what kind of leader to bring in?” There are reasons that it happens, but when you get to a point of growth where you have to start creating a leadership team, in these personal off-sites, you need to be asking, What is the overall strength? What is the overall health of this leadership team? What if anything is lacking? How would the performance of the company improve if we addressed the biggest gap?” In other words, what is the next most important leadership team strengthening move I could make? Whether that’s adding somebody or that’s addition by subtraction, if we remove this player, then our team and our company would be stronger, or whether that’s how do I develop my leaders to be an even stronger leadership team?

You do that on the whole, and then you review each team member one at a time. For each team member, you’re going to ask things like, “What native genius does this person have?” That’s a Multipliers concept by Liz Wiseman. “What native genius does this team member have? How well am I leveraging their strengths?” Another question might be, “What did he or she do well this past year or this past quarter.” You’re reflecting on almost an evaluation of their performance for the quarter for the year, the things that went well and then the things that didn’t go so well during that time period.

You want to review each team member one at a time. You’re starting out with overall health, and then you’re moving down into individual team member, genius, performance, weakness areas, or any lack of performance, and then we get to the tool that I wanted to share with you. I don’t have a name for this tool, but here’s the practice. The tool is this. I want you to mentally fire everyone on your team, everybody that reports to you directly, for sure. If your company’s still the size where you know everybody by name and you’re involved in the business to the degree that you have ongoing interactions with everyone, then fire them all.

At a minimum, fire everyone who reports to you directly. They no longer work for you. They’re gone. One by one, you’ll consider rehiring them. Maybe the tool is the fire and rehire tool. Once you fired them out, one by one, you’re going to ask yourself the question, “Would I enthusiastically rehire this person tomorrow if they were gone? Would I enthusiastically bring them back?” Say yes with capital letters, bolded, underlined, and exclamation points. My daughter is a teenager. She texted me because I gave her an opportunity to see a concert that she was ecstatic about. I knew she was happy about it because it was in all-caps.

There’s an all-caps thing in texts. It’s like I’m shouting. I want that response. If you’re not an emphatic, yes, caps, underlined, bolded, exclamation points, then that might be the first indication that you need to consider making a change. You either need to have some work to do to move them up or in other words, to develop them and help them get to a place where you’re enthusiastically saying yes, or to move them out. That may sound cold or unfeeling, but your business deserves to have an emphatic yes response from you when you ask yourself, “Would I enthusiastically rehire this person tomorrow if they were gone?”

Being intentional in a company or a team is about setting the vision. Click To Tweet

If it is an emphatic yes, then celebrate that. Maybe that goes on your gratitude list. Maybe you send them a little note later that says, “I was thinking about what you mean to this team and to this company and to me. I’m grateful to have you here.” There’s an action either way. If it’s an emphatic yes, you get to celebrate that and thank them, and then plan their next development move to make sure there’s still an emphatic yes the next time you do this. As your business grows, the needs and requirements of every seat in the business go up.

You can’t keep the same level of competence and performance across all of your roles and get the growth that you want as a company. Individual growth aggregates the company growth. You have to have people performing at higher levels across the board to get higher company levels. You might say, “Unless you hire more people.” I would say, “Yeah, I can see that point.” If everybody’s staying where they’re at and you hire more people, you can get better performance and more growth.

At some point though, especially for leaders, the leadership requirements of each role increase as the company’s sophistication and growth increase. It’s a natural law of business. If you want to scale, you must scale your leadership team capability. That’s not always just adding new members. That means what once was a “director of sales” got you by in the early days, now I need a VP of sales. Somebody with VP caliber, competencies, skills, collaboration, ability, whatever. They have to be able to do that at a higher level. If you’re emphatically saying yes to them, “Today, I would rehire them. They’re amazing,” a year from now, they might not be that person if you’re not developing them fast enough.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed a review of how to get clear for yourself in a personal off-site. 2020 does not have to happen to you by default. In fact, I would be sad for you if, at the end of the year, you said, “2020 turned out to be an okay year,” or “2020 turned out to be one of my worst years ever.” Don’t just be a reporter about the year. You get to write and create it. A personal off-site, every single quarter at a minimum, will allow you to be the person and the leader you need to be to go create what you want as an outcome.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this idea of a personal off-site and some practical ideas and examples, and even a few tools that can help you get started. Please, keep tuning in. I’m trying to bring to you the people who’ve experienced it and the experts who can help you move forward as a seven-figure business owner. Have a fantastic 2020. I hope it’s exactly what you wanted it to be because you made it happen yourself. Have a great year.


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