Caldwell Wealth & Estate Advisory Ltd. | The Company Retreat and Audacious Goals - Caldwell Wealth & Estate Advisory Ltd.

The Company Retreat and Audacious Goals

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May 10, 2016

Okay, before you read this please be aware that it might be a little, or a lot, boring. After all, what can you say about going away for a week to look at numbers? And every January since we decided to treat our business like a business, we have disappeared for the first week of January to review the previous year and to plan the coming year.

Like most businesses we have many defined goals; financial, educational, client service, team building, new initiatives and some general housekeeping. Right from the start we knew that to achieve success in these areas we had to define our purpose and set a long term vision. Harvard Business calls it your BHAG, your Big Hairy Audacious Goal. So what is our BHAG? It is to be viewed as the company to go to for the best UNBIASED, CLIENT SPECIFIC, PROFESSIONAL financial advice in the Kingston Area by the year 2025. We set this goal in 2010 when 2025 seemed far, far away. Now it is only 9 years away and coming at us like a freight train.

So with our BHAG in place, we plan our retreat. We follow the same agenda each year, starting with a reviewing and forecasting, and then moving on to our book of the year. The book we choose to read and discuss helps lead us in new directions and set out goals for the coming year. We try to find ways to improve our client service and client experience. We’ve introduced processes that we believe give our clients the best opportunity for success. And we feel that if our clients are successful, we will grow and be successful.

The first thing we did and our most recent client initiative was to hire a consulting firm to help us better understand what our clients want from us. And what he advised us to do is to make our clients the voice we listen to. And that really makes sense. If you are going to improve service you speak with the people who receive it. So over the next year we will be asking you how we can improve. What is the ONE thing that we could add to the client experience that we are not currently providing?

The other thing, as mentioned in my January post, was to provide a monthly update on whatever topic is on my mind at the time. Sometimes it will relate directly to our services, others will be influenced by what I have been reading and or hearing about through my many sources. These could be totally unrelated to our day-to-day business operations and can be of a more personal nature. We will see.

You might want to consider this for your company and family. Perhaps consider taking a mini-retreat  to establish your BHAG. If you review your past year, are you now where you wanted to be? Challenge yourself, set goals, read a book that will inspire you and then drop me a line and let me know what books you are reading or have read that are important to your development. One of the big questions you can ask yourself is this: imagine its 3 years in the future, so it’s May of 2019 and you are now looking back over the past 3 years. What has to have happened professionally, personally and financially for you to consider it a success?

By the way, we also have a little fun when we go away. One of the things we do is form 2 teams from staff and spouses. These teams have a little competition to see who can provide the best meal on one of the evenings. It gets pretty competitive and this past year I thought everyone might be sick of it, so I suggested we cut it out. A big uproar followed as everyone really liked the idea and wanted it to continue. And so far, in my unbiased opinion, our team has always kicked it up a notch and provided the best meal. Please don’t tell the other team I said this, I don’t want them to feel too bad!

I tried to introduce a lip-sync battle, but got unanimously voted down. And I was ready!

My next newsletter/blog will be about everyday heroes. They are all around us, in your family and in mine. So I really disagree with Tina Turner when she sings “We don’t need another hero” because we do and we have them, everywhere. Having said that, I think the title is misleading when you listen to the rest of the song.

– Michael.

Michael's Book Shelf

“If you are in the client service business, you might like to read this month’s recommended reading, What’s Your Purple Goldfish by Stan Phelps. I was introduced to this book by my son, Jacob. He’s a voracious reader and I can’t keep up with him. Thanks for another good read, son.”

Find it on or at your local bookshop.

Bonus Book Shelf

Here are the books we’ve read over the last five years at our annual retreat.


Founding Partner | Financial Planner
Michael Caldwell has been helping people sort through their money issues since the early 1970s. He has a way of talking numbers that just makes sense. Combined with wry humour and a curious mind, Michael writes about current topics of interest to the clients that he works with in his practice at Caldwell Wealth & Estate Advisory.

Read Michael's full bio »

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