Keeping the Weapons Sharp

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It’s Summit season for the ITW Arsenal.  After 3 months of preparation and research, over 200 hours of planning for our leadership group – it’s time to rally our team at a lodge north of the city for 2 days of learning, mind sharing, and to honour some of our star performers … And of course, there’s one helluva party!  Do you have a Summit?  You should.  Keep your Arsenal sharp.
When we started doing this after our first year, it was 5 people around a table asking each other ‘so….how’s it going?’ It was basically a chance for everyone to vent grievances and blow off steam.  As the years went by, taking the team away for the weekend started to get expensive – so we started getting a little more organized. Jay and I began asking what people wanted to discuss at Summit. An interesting thing happened, our team wanted to hear from Jay and I; about where the company was going and what we had planned.  The best part is that we saw the team showing a deep hunger to find their place in the vision and looking for where they could help build the company.

The last 3 years have seen us become laser-focused on coming to Summit prepared to team build, communicate, coordinate, and most importantly … to lead our team.  We use the Summit as a distraction-free opportunity to invigorate our team and establish the collective marching orders for the Arsenal.  The value is tremendous.  Inexpressible.

Our process is to start about 3 months out establishing the War Room goals.  Then each member of our leadership group sets departmental objectives to help us achieve the big picture.  The teams are then – in turn—responsible for working with their managers to put together a plan for the year to meet their objectives.  Each plan feeds into the team objectives which, in turn, help us achieve the organizational goals.

By the time Summit arrives, we’ve got a tight message that (hopefully ?) resonates with our team and helps give some perspective on the day-to-day work that isn’t always glorious.  We also take the opportunity to acknowledge some of the sharpest Weapons in the Arsenal; we survey our team and aggregate performance info … then we ask our team to vote for our Rookie of the Year, our version of the MVP (the Most Valuable Wep) and a few others.  Again, the value we get as business owners (and as team members ourselves) cannot be overstated.

The culmination of our efforts for Summit reminds me of Ed Harris’s monologue as General Hummel from the classic movie, The Rock.  “…We arrived at our position through poise, precision and audacity. To this we must now add resolve.”

So … I’m bringing a whetstone for my mind and a lampshade for my head.  Do you have a Summit?  You should.

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