The Power of Stepping Back

Recently I was lucky enough to attend an incredible 3-day corporate retreat. During which, I was reminded how taking a step away from the office and focusing on the bigger business picture can really make an impact.

The event was known as the “Family Reunion.” And it was hosted by Dan Gilbert, founder of Quicken Loans and owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, as a way to bring together his large family of companies.

In line with Dan Gilbert’s unique approach to business, this was no common corporate retreat. The Family Reunion included over 100 companies and 400 attendees to network, collaborate and generate ideas at the Cleveland Convention Center.  With the theme of “Anything is Possible", and through a mix of panel discussions, workshops, high-energy musical performances and powerful speakers, several key learnings emerged.

Here are 3 that I really took to heart.

1. Successful businesses nurture creativity and encourage innovation. Companies like Quicken Loans, Robb Report and Shinola all attribute much of their success to remaining innovative within their respective industries. All of them invest time and resources in creating an environment that seeks out and rewards new ideas. 

Keynote Speaker Sir Ken Robinson, a leader in promoting creativity in our schools and businesses, shared that businesses, now more than ever, have to be creative in developing new products and services to remain competitive in a world of rapid change.  But one idea is not enough; businesses need to develop cultures where creative thinking is routine.

2. “The best teachers are your mistakes.” Don’t be afraid of failure. Philippe Petit, French high-wire artist famous for his Twin Towers walk, believes that any new idea is a test that you will learn from, even if it fails. He spoke about the power of passion and tenacity to overcome your failures, attributes he has relied upon during his career as a high-wire artist.

I was reminded how well this translates to Performance Television advertising. Successful Eicoff clients understand that a test-and-learn strategy is critical to the growth of their TV campaigns as well as their businesses.

3. Anything is possible with perseverance, teamwork and collaboration. The Family Reunion event closed with speaker Amy Purdy, a world-class snowboarder, Dancing with the Stars finalist, author and motivational speaker, who spoke about how passion and courage helped her move forward after losing both of her legs and kidneys at age 19.  She credited teamwork and creativity in successfully persuading the Winter Paralympic Games committee to include adaptive snowboarding for the first time in 2014, in which she won the bronze medal.   

And to truly prove the point that anything is possible, the Family Reunion team published the ideas generated during our workshops into a physical book in less than 24 hours, complete with photos of participants.

So as you look at your business plans for this year, consider how these 3 insights might apply. And take it from me, don’t forget the power of stepping back.

Reading Resources

  1. Ken Robinson, Out of Our Minds
  2. Amy Purdy, On My Own Two Feet
  3. Philipe Petit, Creativity: The Perfect Crime