What do you believe and what is your why?

A few weeks ago, our firm held our annual management retreat.  Every year around this time, we fill a room with nearly 30 passionate leaders (senior managers and partners from our firm and our parent firm) and determine what we want to accomplish over the next year (or sometimes several years).

I have to be honest, there is a lot of work that typically goes into these retreats and I do not always look forward to them.  It’s not because they aren’t great (they usually are), but it’s tough to take an extra day or two out of the office as the work inside of this place is always abundantly flowing (thank goodness).  However, every time I attend a management retreat, I am glad I did.  It’s pretty awesome being surrounded by big thinkers who want to develop both a company and community into a better place.  This year was no different.  However, what was different was what we wanted to accomplish.

Michelle Golden facilitated our retreat.  Michelle is an outside consultant who works with professional service firms on everything from marketing to company culture.  (Side note:  if you are looking for a firm retreat facilitator – she rocks!)  She challenged us to determine our “why”.  Not the typical mission statement, which we all have (I’m sure I could go to your website and find yours which probably looks a lot like ours), but rather the true “why” of what we believe and why we do what we do. (What gets us up in the morning; what excites us; what determines a happy day versus an unhappy day.)

We started by each of us writing our personal whys.  I have to say, it was harder than I thought to write my personal why and I think others in the room felt challenged as well.  What do you believe and therefore why do you do what you do?  (Sounds easy enough, but when you go to write it down, it is a bit challenging.)  After we wrote our personal whys, we read them to each other.  I was surprised to find they all had a common theme, helping others, working with others, etc.  I (as I have many times in the past) felt proud to work with people who really dig what they do and in the end want to make a footprint by helping others and their community succeed.

After we finished reviewing our personal whys, as a group, we developed a firm ‘why’ (using elements from all of our personal whys).  Talk about teamwork; what an interesting discussion!  (The book Leading Leaders came in handy, I’m sure.)

In the end, our why was determined to be:

We passionately believe in the power of collaboration.
Working together in pursuit of your success is our purpose and our privilege.
What does success look like to you?

After I read it, I know it is true.  It seems so simple now (I love working with others and helping to make them successful and I know I’m surrounded with others who believe their purpose is to help others as well), but it took a lot of teamwork to determine our why.  This is our why.  I love it and I love the collaboration that happened in the room that day.

Next year, I will look forward to our management retreat with excitement….Amanda Rae Iverson


Amanda Rae Iverson is the COO of Pinnacle Plan Design, LLC

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