Alice: Would you tell me, which way I ought to go from here?
Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don’t much care where…
Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go
One of my new clients echoed the thoughts of so many business people when he told me that the main barrier to creating a clear business direction is lack of time.
When I suggested that we needed a “Hotel Day”, his eyes lit up…“What’s a Hotel Day?”
Well, it’s the opportunity to get away from the business environment to put together a strategic blueprint for the future of your business. Armed with a pad of plain paper to capture your thinking, you take a day out… preferably in luxurious surroundings, relaxed and with no interruptions.
For those businesses and business people who do have a clear business vision, the effect on their operations, their marketing, their clients and their own teams stands out a mile. They are more focused, they find it easier to make decisions, they add more value for their clients, and they can transmit a compelling vision to their teams. They also find time to plan the next steps in detail.
“Hotel Days” are now a regular feature in my client’s calendar.
The frequency with which you hold these will vary for each individual. However they must be regular… every three months, or every month, depending on your personal style and needs. Every six months seems too far apart for me, and for most others.
If a Hotel day isn’t your style, here’s a similar alternative: book yourself a first class return train ticket to take you on a journey lasting approximately four hours. Set aside the whole day. When you reach your destination, simply return on the next available train. One of my clients did this, using the Edinburgh to London service and spent a highly successful and productive 8 hours planning, with no interruptions. He called it his “training day”… training his strategic skills and planning his next steps.
Rules for Successful “Hotel Days”
1. Block the day off in your diary in advance.
2. Create an agenda which moves from Macro to Micro, General to Specific.
3. Choose a venue with massive associations with quality (eg a top Hotel).
4. Stick to your timings.
5. Enjoy the day, and view it as a reward for your hard work so far, as well as a strengthening for the next steps.
6. Be clear of all business clutter in advance… don’t let yourself be tempted back to the office to clear up “urgent” tasks.
7. Have your Hotel Days spaced frequently and regularly enough to ensure your focus doesn’t go slack throughout the year (for some people monthly is too often, so go for quarterly).
8. Cascade the outcomes of the day to your Team within 24 hours (include “family” as your personal support team). This keeps them focused on the Vision, Mission and monthly action plan.
The Hotel Day Agenda
If you would like to see the agenda I use for my Hotel Days, get in touch by email:
with the subject title: Hotel Day Agenda, and I’ll make sure you receive it.