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Some Things Matter More Than Strategy and Business

A few years ago I was running the last day in a three-day strategic retreat with a professional practice client, who at the time had 11 partners.

Because of the number partners, I ran my break-down version of The Strategic Planning Toolkit and held one hour objectives meetings on a one-to-one basis with each partner over a couple of weeks.

This was private, until I shared all with the whole group two days before a one-day strategic session with all partners present.

Each partner received a copy of everyone’s objectives meeting and an agenda for the day to focus upon the key issues identified.

The day went well and after much debate, we gained consensus and buy-in and I and the Managing Partner were very pleased.

That is, until we left the meeting at 5.00pm UK time! The day was September 11th 2001 and no doubt you recall where you were that day and how you heard about 9/11.

The rules of strategic sessions are clear, no phones and no breaks to interrupt high level strategic conversations with operational matters.

This meant none of us knew what had happened until 12.00 New York time when we left the meeting.

However well the strategic sessions went, we were all stopped in our tracks by this shocking news.

I remember sitting with my colleague in total shock and horror and knowing that the world would never be the same again. I’m sure you have your own recollections, equally as traumatic and powerful, if not more so.

It was a moment to reflect that there really are more important things than business and strategy and of course business and life generally is just about people.

On this day many people lost many things and one could argue we all lost a sense of humanity and safety that tragic day, that has been hard to regain.

Of course, just like all of us, we had to get on with life and do our best and these professional practice  clients continued to grow and develop, until a later subsequent sale to a national practice, but I’m afraid I will always think of 9/11, when I think of them.