January 10

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3 life-changing moments from our CEO retreat (and what they mean for you)

“I just want you to know those two days changed my life. And my business.”

I received several messages like this from CEOs recently. In this article I’d like to share their “aha moments” and how you can apply those insights into your own leadership.

First, some context: A few weeks back, I ran a retreat in amazing Iceland with a bunch of world-class CEOs and entrepreneurs from my Rivendell programme.

It was a lot of fun - we took “hot seat coaching” to the next level and did “hot tub coaching” each night 😀

Iceland Hot Tub Coaching

Most excitingly, practically everyone who came told me within a couple of weeks that the retreat had made a huge difference to them and their business already!

Let’s have a look at three of those insights.

1. My North Star vision finally clicked

Stefano, a relentless high-achiever and GM of a fast-growing and groundbreaking tech business, actually came to the Rivendell retreat with muted expectations.

“I don’t want to put the pressure on myself to have a breakthrough moment in the two days we’re together,” he explained.

It’s fair to say that he left the retreat having had a great couple of days but without the sense of a true breakthrough. (I can only sympathise; too often I’m the one suffering from “breakthrough envy” in these kinds of sessions!)

However, as is often the case, seeds had been planted and questions were brewing.

When we spoke just a couple of weeks later Stefano told me that his world had, indeed, been shaken up by the retreat.

“What’s made the biggest difference was when I realised the ideas I was offering to another leader on the retreat were just as applicable to me and are very personally exciting!

I’ve come to realise that they are, in fact, my North Star for the kind of business I want to build and the impact I want to make in the world. I can now see where I’m not taking the actions needed to move in the direction I want.”

Question for you: If you were looking back at your life, aged 90, what professional accomplishment would give you a silly grin and a warm glow of satisfaction at the impact you’ve made?

2. I realised I was playing too small

Ashley explained that the Rivendell retreat had been a pivotal moment. An entrepreneur for over 20 years, he’d made bold moves to build a market-leading company from nothing, but had recently been taking a more and more conservative path.

He’d accidentally fallen into incremental mode. And he was increasingly finding his business a golden cage, unsure whether it was really worth growing. He had enough money; wouldn’t higher growth just mean more headaches?

The quality of exponential strategic thinking during the retreat had what he described as a “profound influence” on his thoughts on what multiplying his impact looks like, why he might want that, and what the roadmap looks like.

Question for you: Where are you trying to “play it safe” …but are secretly just getting bored?

3. The one thing that matters became crystal clear

One Founder/CEO called me up to say very specifically that the Rivendell retreat had changed the entire course of his business.

Coming to the retreat, he was juggling a lot of exciting opportunities, but was stretched very thin.

One question we explored together threw new light on the ONE thing that really mattered. If he got that right, everything else would come easily.

“When I got back from the retreat,” he explained, “I immediately refocused on my number one project, and made some bold moves to align the business around that.”

Question for you: Of all the opportunities ahead of you, which would you focus on if you could just pick one?

Insights that change everything

We all live in a world defined and limited by the quality of our thinking and the extent of our imagination.

So when you’re a CEO or founder, a single insight can open up huge opportunities and create big shifts in your effectiveness and your business.

That’s why one of the core themes of our Rivendell programme is 10X Strategic Focus. The clearer, bolder and more focused our thinking, the simpler it is to make the moves that count.

In Rivendell we promote this via a “10X vision” process, quarterly accelerators and monthly scorecards to create new clarity on your breakthrough goals and stronger focus on making them happen.

Question for you: You may have a good business strategy, but what’s the environment you’ve built around you to ensure your thinking is sharpened, challenged, and focused on what matters for you, your team, your business?


Recommended resources

If you enjoyed this, I recommend the following resources:

If you’re the CEO of a 50-500M€ business and are ready to 10X your strategic thinking, 10X your team and 10X your personal leadership, I’d highly recommend you check out our Rivendell CEO programme and download the prospectus.

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