I just finished reading an article in Harvard Business Review (January-February issue) written by Blake Mycoskie, who founded TOMS. TOMS is a shoe company, not owned by a guy named Tom (who knew?), that donates a pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair sold. It started in his apartment and now has over $300 million in revenue. The article tells a fascinating story about the company’s genesis, and I highly recommend reading it. Here’s the link. As a little aside, notice at the end of the article that HBR refers to Mycoskie as the Chief Shoe Giver at TOMS.

In the article, he writes about his need to take a “sabbatical” from running the company. He said he needed to find the “why” again because they had begun to focus too much on the “how” and “what.” He realized that he needed to regain the company’s mission.

Now think about your own company. We all reach this point, but don’t always admit it to others. After reading this article, I stopped to as for myself and for my organization the simple question. Why?

We can’t all take a long-term sabbatical from the business like he does. But maybe we can take mini sabbaticals, planned in our schedule where we take a couple of days every quarter to just spend time focusing on our “whys.” Then focusing on the “hows” and “whats” as we move forward.

Take a couple of days, preferably offsite, to take a deep breath and evaluate where we are and why we got there. And then where are we going. It could be the most energizing thing we can do, and not just for ourselves but for our organizations. Don’t forget to get your key staff involved too. They need that same kind of time set aside for them as well. And don’t forget to put a little fun into it as well!

So my challenge for you starting off this new year is to schedule four fun retreats, four mini sabbaticals, this year. I’m scheduling mine. Email and let me know how these days go for you. I will be sure to update you on mine.

Don’t forget to make the most of your minutes……