Strategic Planning at our Company Retreat – Featured Image

Firm Culture, News

Strategic Planning at our Company Retreat

Board & Vellum recently returned from our annual company retreat, and we come bearing our new "Painted Picture," a.k.a. our new "Strategic Plan." We share it with you to keep us honest. We strive to meet our goals, and we'd love it if you kept us accountable.

July 7, 2016

Every so often, the crew at Board & Vellum takes the time to step back and collectively focus on our strategic plan. I’ve written before on how important planning is and I think it is even more important now that we’re more of a medium size company. For 2016, we left on a Thursday evening up to a gorgeous home up on Lake Cle Elum and then spent all of Friday strategizing.

What’s the benefit of doing this? I think that taking the time away is helpful for so many people and organizations. Heck, I even did a personal retreat with my husband years ago when we figured that if companies could do it then we could do. We left that weekend with a concrete plan on how to structure our lives and actually decided to have kids at that time. Our two boys are clearly thankful for our strategic planning even if they don’t know it! So how can strategic planning benefit you or your company?

It is a chance to break free of the day to day grind and think big picture. It is easy to get stuck in the mundane and not take a look at WHY you’re doing what you’re doing. During our Friday sessions we were able to carefully discuss our current challenges and then find creative ways to not only solve them but to make an action plan to become even more awesome.

You can relax. We’ve been joking that in the last six months Board & Vellum has done, well, EVERYTHING. The week before the party we had closed our office on Friday at noon to pack it up in preparation for the move to the new office. We then spent a three day holiday weekend moving and unpacking. Tuesday we were up and running. Wednesday we had the office photographed and Thursday we threw a giant party. On top of all of this we were slogging through a particularly heavy workload. We were EXHAUSTED. Getting away was a chance to re-boot and connect with each other in a non-deadline way. The change in the crew here has been extremely apparent.

Strategic Planning at Our Company Retreat - B&V Top Chef Kick Off
B&V Top Chef Kick Off

Here's Jeff kicking off the contest.

Strategic Planning at our Company Retreat – B&V Iron Chef
B&V Iron Chef

For some fun, we had a ridiculously fun Iron Chef contest of three teams.

You can check-in on how you’ve been doing. At each retreat we rank how we’re doing on all of our goals. This is super useful as you can see how you’re doing. It is always amazing to me that as people we tend to think we’re never doing enough. We were all greatly surprised when we saw our goals and our ranks on how much we had actually done. It is a great feeling and also allows us to prioritize on new goals.

Strategic Planning at our Company Retreat – Team Point
Team Point

We also love to point at things. A lot.

You can dive into specific action items. This is the one area where many well-intended planning sessions can fall apart. You spend all this time discussing your feelings, planning for big goals, and then BOOM…you leave and nothing happens. Write down absurdly detailed goals with timelines and mundane details. The more real you make it the more it will happen. We broke out into four separate groups and then came back with specific goals. After the retreat I took them all and combined them into an action oriented plan.

For our purposes, this was a great chance to escape and talk about where we want the firm to be. We’ve gone from a one-person firm to a medium sized company of 21 people that’s become a fantastic place to work and part of that means that we all get to weigh in on how we operate. Our new painted picture (a vision of what we will be doing) is something we’re very excited by and looking forward to how it shapes us a company through the end of 2017.

Strategic Planning at our Company Retreat – Our Painted Picture
Our Painted Picture, 2016

This is proudly displayed in our office to help remind us of what our goals are. We’re sharing it here to keep us accountable.

Would you like to read more from the team?

If you enjoy reading our blog as much as we enjoy writing it, that just makes our day! You might also enjoy a few of the related posts below. And, if there is a topic that you wish we would cover, let us know!

Introducing, Ben Wolk!

Meet our latest B&V’er, Ben Wolk! As a Certified Passive House Consultant and building science nerd, he focuses on designing beautiful, comfortable, healthy, and extremely energy-efficient buildings and spaces across the multifamily and single-family sectors. When not obsessing over thermal bridging details, you will find Ben enjoying the outdoors with his wife and dog or dreaming about building a rally car.

Introducing, Katie Söderlind!

Meet Katie Söderlind, the newest member of the B&V team, and most likely the first person to welcome you to Board & Vellum, be it by phone, email, or in-person. A lover of the places where high-brow meets low-brow, the dark meets light, and grit meets glamour, she's the umami flavor you didn’t know you needed in your life.

Introducing, Andrea!

Say hi to Andrea, our most recent addition to the B&V team! Adding to our collection of UO grads, Andrea joins us with experience on multifamily, custom residential, and commercial projects. Also, she owns a 35' sailboat — when you’re done asking her design questions, ask her where she likes to sail on a sunny weekend!

Considering a project? Or, just curious about something?

Send us your questions about design, architecture, interiors, landscape, third places, LEGO rooms… Anything, really. We’re always eager to meet new people, and we’d love to get to know you, your project, and your goals.

Get in touch.