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MOR Team Summer Retreat

by Sean McDonald

Practicing What We Preach

This past August the MOR team gathered to build relationships, develop our skill sets and think about the future. Our objectives were simple: connect, align, upgrade, enjoy. This was a week of rich discussion, numerous perspectives, and lots of great ideas.  It was an easy collaboration. For an organization that is largely distributed across the country, there was truly great camaraderie. We have done these gatherings in the past, and this was the best thus far.


Strategic Thinking

Leveraging the same tools we talk about in our leadership development programs, we went through a strategic thinking exercise focused on our clients. We discussed trends, such as economic pressures, developments within their workforces, and the increased need for collaboration. We also ran through a formal SWOT analysis and followed that with a strategic priorities exercise.

We narrowed in on the following 5 areas that will influence our strategic direction and upgrades in the cycle ahead:

  1. Supporting our clients’efforts to select people for our programs who are poised to maximize the opportunity and have game changing experiences
  2. As our clients are reimagining their own landscapes, we expressed a willingness to reimagine our offerings as well to assure we are maximizing the experience for clients as their worlds evolve.
  3. Increasing our focus on client context, sponsor engagement and organizational needs to extend the impact from the individual level to the organizational level. We want to help clients leverage the investment in creating more effective leaders into strategies to achieve greater organizational impacts as well.
  4. Many of our clients in IT are drawing in program participants from outside their IT organizations.  This is in recognition of the importance of building relationships across the university.  MOR’s programs were originally conceived and delivered as university-wide programs and we will increase our focus on alignment in this direction.
  5. Further recognizing that once we get on a client’s leadership journey, we very seldom come off.

To our clients and program alumni, if you would like to engage or collaborate with us in any of these areas in any way, please reach out. We welcome your involvement!


Attending to Our Own Personal Development

After the hard but energizing work of thinking about our desired future state the entire team spent time collectively and individually enhancing our coaching skills. Stretch and challenge was the main focus!  We had mini coaching clinics, coaching pairs, the works! We also discussed possible early signals from program participants that convey whether or not they are ready to engage in the work of the program and different coaching pathways we might pursue to get them pointed in the right direction.

In the spirit of “Feedback Is a Gift”, you’ll be happy to know that Brian and Sean were provided with feedback around their leadership at MOR, specifically what they should they stop, start and continue doing.

All in all it was a great success.  Since we are a distributed cast of 20+ people engaged in various programs and with limited opportunities to gather, these times to connect, collaborate and celebrate are precious.  We are all looking forward to gathering again in December for our holiday party.

We hope you too are taking time to engage in thinking strategically and devoting time to your ongoing professional development.