By L. Gary Boomer
The firm summit:
making good things happen
people in a
Gary Boomer, CPA, is the president of
Boomer Consulting, in Manhattan, Kan.
Times have changed! It is impossible to focus on every danger and every opportunity. Also, it is not enough to
identify issues, which is often all that hap
pens at traditional partner retreats; you must
also address those issues if you expect to
grow. Some of the top issues in firms today
are succession, workflow, lack of integrated
technology, lack of accountability, and lack
A SUMMIT, NOT A RETREAT
“Retreat” implies that you are looking to the
past and moving backwards. A firm “summit,”
on the other hand, implies a more ambitious
approach — one that incorporates a broader
participation base that will distinguish your
firm from its competition. The purpose of a
firm summit is to bring leaders and members
to initiate strategies for significant growth.
Most firms spend too little time working
on the firm and too much time working in
the firm, especially where governance is less
defined. In those firms everyone believes that
they are in charge but are too busy to lead
— so little growth happens.
Too often, firms put the same people in a
room year after year, hold a retreat and call it
good. But you can’t expect exciting and revo
lutionary results using this same old formula.
Accountability is the key to success. Who
holds the partners accountable in your firm
after the retreat? It takes a process, not a slo
gan, to ensure accountability and success.
BREAK OUT OF THE CPA MOLD
It’s time to change your format. Make these
meetings fun and create some excitement. If
you don’t know how, ask your spouse! The
following suggestions will improve your firm
summit’s results, as well as making it a much
more enjoyable experience.
Select a relaxing venue away from the
office. Get people out of their daily routine.
Meetings at the office don’t work. There are
too many interruptions and distractions.
Choose an outoftown location — prefer
ably one where leisure activities are available.
One firm recently conducted its firm summit
on an overnight sailing trip. If you’re afraid to
sail, try a ski lodge or even a sports arena.