Follow the Leaders
Each year the VACEOs Retreat brings unmatched learning and networking opportunities to Members and Sponsors. This year we felt challenged to look inward and were inspired by real-world observations from speakers Steven Kotler, Colleen Stanley, Katrina Ling, and Bo Burlingham.
“The content is exactly what we need to hear every year,” says Ryann Lofchie, CEO, The Frontier Project.
The 2018 Retreat, held at The Omni Homestead Resort, also offered participants an opportunity to relax and enjoy activities like golf, zip line, skeet shooting, the Cascades Gorge Hike and a western-themed event.
“It’s nice to be able to come somewhere, be free to be ourselves, and be able to ask questions of like-people with similar challenges,” says Brian Curran, President, Chem-Dry of Richmond.
Rich Reineke, Partner, The Fahrenheit Group and VACEOs Sponsor agrees, saying: “I think the value of being able to access the minds of CEOs in different types of businesses gives you the insight that you need to be successful.”
Listen in as various VACEOs Members and Sponsors explain why this event, and the Council, is so worthwhile.Watch video on YouTube. Thanks, Glenn Lock of TachLock Video, for putting this video together for us!
The 2018 VACEOs Retreat was rich in content and networking opportunities. Many of the CEOs in attendance chose to take a deep dive into the workshops. Others, like Henry Clifford, CEO of Livewire, desired to simply approach each presentation with an open mind.
“My goal during the Retreat is not to delve into the minutia of each presentation, but to open myself up to thinking differently,” said Clifford. “The more I embrace the broad, sweeping ideas and look at it from the macro perspective, the more likely I am to adopt things into my own world personally or professionally.”
A self-proclaimed “Flow junkie,” Clifford was particularly drawn to what keynote speaker Steven Kotler, director of research for the Flow Genome Project, had to say about amplifying performance through achieving “Flow state.” “I appreciate his message about Flow as a five-time multiplier in productivity,” explained Clifford. “It read loud and clear for me. I feel like what he’s up to is transformative.”
Like Clifford, we felt challenged to look inward. We were also inspired by the real-world observations Kotler and Colleen Stanley presented to us. Here are a few of the sweeping ideas we were left with. What were your big takeaways? Leave a comment – we’d love to know!
Steven Kotler is a New York Times bestselling author, an award-winning journalist and the co-founder and director of research for the Flow Genome Project. He shared stories about technology advances that are happening right now, where autonomous drone taxis are a reality, artificially trained AI psychologists are helping veterans, and a new wave of 3D printers is turning multiple industries upside-down – producing human organs, bionic arms, apartment complexes and bridges. AI is being used today to diagnose cancer, create movies and novels, and, in Tokyo, offer up a likable candidate for mayor.
Crowdsourcing is adding fuel to the exponentially accelerating state of technology.
“The biggest story here is probably crowdsourcing,” said Kotler. “It’s a fancy way of saying ‘I’m going to leverage the ideas or the assets of the crowd.’” For companies that are known to innovate in house, crowd creativity is the only way they can keep up. Kotler says Google, Apple and Microsoft are crowdsourcing AI development, and Proctor and Gamble crowdsources 50 percent of its product line.
Today, the savvy entrepreneur (aka, your new competition) is leveraging technology like 3D printing, using crowdsourcing AND crowd-funding or ICOs to obtain the funds and creative edge they need to grow to scale at an ALARMINGLY FAST rate.
“This is an increasingly crowded Unicorn Club,” said Kotler. “How fast does it take a company to get to a billion-dollar valuation? It used to take 20 years. Now it’s done in four months.”
The impossible truly is becoming possible – and your competition is now everywhere.
But according to Kotler, to completely maximize your potential, taking advantage of technology as a strategy isn’t enough. You must also harness a particular state of consciousness.
“The human brain is not built to perform at the speed or scale of today’s world,” said Kotler. “That’s why we need to upgrade our mental hardware.” According to Kotler, we need to enter a “Flow state,” described as being “in the zone” by some.
It’s when you’re so focused on the task at hand that everything else disappears. Your sense of self starts to disappear. Time goes by. Occasionally, it slows down, but more frequently, it speeds up: Five hours feels like five minutes. It’s a state that has been scientifically proven to be the only time when all five “pleasure drugs” produced by the body are released, and thus all aspects of performance – mental and physical – go through the roof, impacting motivation, learning and creativity.
“Flow is as close to near-perfect, high-speed decision-making as you can possibly get,” explained Kotler. He shared with us that one study found top executives in Flow state are five times more productive than usual. So, for example, if you spend two days a week in Flow, you’re 1,000 percent more productive than the competition – and then you’ve got more time to pay attention to emotional triggers that can affect internal relationships and sales. Read more about Flow.
We were honored to hear from Colleen Stanley, president and founder of SalesLeadership, Inc., on the last day of the Retreat. A powerhouse of a speaker, she helped us understand how to respond to emotional triggers – and how certain soft skills, like empathy, can help in the consistent execution of hard selling skills.
“How do we think we can influence another human being if we don’t think, or care about, how they’re thinking or feeling?” she asked.
When you demonstrate real-world empathy, you make an emotional connection with another human being. It elevates the conversation, the conversation changes, and so does the relationship.
Can you say you’re really in tune with the emotions of your employees or prospects? Both keynotes addressed the power of mediation and self-reflection. The biggest takeaway? We need to get better at paying attention.
“The number-one way to grow your self-awareness is to carve out precious downtime,” said Stanley. “Only in the self can you gain clarity of thought and of purpose – time to reflect and ask, ‘What trigger showed up today that made me act in a manner I regret? Am I the trigger?’ In the quiet, you can tune into your own emotions.”
“Once you know thy self, you can know others better,” Stanley added. “Pay attention. It just might be the number-one skill to teach your team, leaders or salespeople.”
Now that the Retreat is over, we wonder: Will you make time to become more self-aware? Will you apply some of the principles of Flow and become more adept at decision-making? Or, will you miss the shifts occurring around you, like your prospect’s subtle change in emotional state, or the big shift in technology that will dramatically affect your business?
We are really excited about this year’s Retreat held at the historic Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Virginia! Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions we often get about our Retreat. Not finding what you need? Contact Connie@vaceos.org today.
A: We have an incredible lineup! This year’s presenters are business growth experts and award-winning authors who will help you learn how to up your game and so much more. Take a look at this lineup.
A: Yes. As soon as possible! We have a block of rooms reserved through April 4. Use the special group link here to make your reservation.
A: The Retreat program is designed just for members and sponsors. We recommend that you immerse yourself. After all, this is a “retreat!” We will have guest tickets for our two evening social events. Some folks have their spouse join them on Friday afternoon for an extra night or two of R&R. We have a reception Friday night just for the “lingerers.”
A: Not really. Let’s call it business casual or resort casual. Relax and be comfortable. There may be stricter dress codes in the Homestead dining room.
A: Start with CEO Retreat Registration. That is your main ticket to the Retreat, covering meals and program from Wednesday dinner to Friday at noon. We suggest that you come in on Wednesday – most participants do – for the Opening Reception & Dinner. And, to maximize your time making connections, you can choose one of the group activities on Wednesday – Golf, Ziplining, or the Cascade Gorge Hike. Or enjoy the many resort activities available to you.
Registration is now open for the VACEOs Annual CEO Retreat! This year’s speaker lineup are award-winning authors who will help you learn how to:
Bo Burlingham has been writing about business for 34 years. He was editor-at-large of Inc. magazine and the author of five books, the most recent being Finish Big: How Great Entrepreneurs Exit Their Companies on Top (Portfolio/Penguin, 2014). A previous book, Small Giants: Companies That Choose To Be Great Instead of Big (Portfolio/Penguin, 2006), was one of five finalists for the 2006 Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year award.
Burlingham joined Inc. in January 1983 as a senior editor and became executive editor six months later. As executive editor, he was involved in much of the magazine’s early coverage of innovative companies that have since emerged as leaders of the so-called New Economy.
Steven Kotler is a New York Times bestselling author, an award-winning journalist and the cofounder/director of research for the Flow Genome Project. He is one of the world’s leading experts on high performance. He is the author of eight bestsellers, including Stealing Fire, The Rise of Superman, Tomorrowland, Bold, Abundance, West of Jesus, A Small Furry Prayer and The Angle Quickest for Flight.
This keynote, based on Kotler’s New York Times bestseller Bold, examines how companies can level up their game like never before. His keynote will help you:
• Understand exponential change and harness its power
• Create a culture of innovation and moonshot thinking
• Unlock flow and accelerate organizational performance
• Learn how to think at scale and perform at speed
• Extend your reach and impact with crowd-powered tools
From London, Ontario to London, England, and as far north as the Arctic Circle to Bangalore, India in the south, Katrina has carried the message of blue ocean shift to business leaders around the world. As a senior global speaker, trainer, and consultant, Katrina will deliver an interactive keynote that speaks to what every business leader needs to know about creating high growth and profits.
Learn how to spot traditional boundaries that can limit your customer reach and restrict your growth aspirations. There is a proven path to create new value to draw in new revenues while lowering your costs to increase profits. Yes, you can do it all – there’s one caveat: you can’t get to the blue ocean of uncontested market space by competing more in the red.
Colleen Stanley is president and founder of SalesLeadership, Inc., a sales development firm and the author of two books, Emotional Intelligence For Sales Success and Growing Great Sales Teams.
Named one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers, Top 10 Women in Sales Experts to Follow and Top 30 Global Gurus, her goal is to shake up the way you think about your sales organization. It’s time for a new perspective and time to integrate emotional intelligence into your sales and leadership processes.
Workshops on a variety of topics will take place on Thursday afternoon, giving you a chance to mix it up with other participants and experts.
Join us again at the Omni Homestead Resort for top-notch speakers and unmatched learning and networking opportunities found only at our Annual Retreat. Make time Wednesday and Friday for activities such as golf, zip line, skeet shooting, The Cascades Gorge Hike and more. Below is a great summary of what you can expect. Want more detail? Visit our 2018 Registration page or our Retreat FAQ page today!
April 25-27, 2018
Omni Homestead Resort
Hot Springs, Virginia
SCHEDULE – UPDATED!
Wednesday, April 25
Noon – 6:00 pm: Recreational Activities
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm: Speed Networking and Dinner
9:00 pm – 1:00 am: Late Night Hospitality
Thursday, April 26
8:30 am – 9:30 am: Registration
10:00 am – 11:45 am: Steven Kotler, “Bold.” Based on his work with Peter Diamandis, Steven will contrast “exponential entrepreneurs” against the “linear-thinking executives” who work in major corporations. The exponential entrepreneurs are paving the way for a new world of abundance by finding big problems and exploiting the “Six D’s”: digitalization, deception, disruption, demonetization, dematerialization, democratization.
12:00 pm: Lunch
1:00 pm – 4:30 pm: Track 1 – Blue Ocean Shift expert Katrina Ling will lead you in this half-day workshop, during which you will develop blue oceans for your business. Blue Oceans are unfished, and without competition, unlike red oceans, where the water is red with the blood of competition.
1:00 – 1:45 pm: Track 2 – Bo Burlingham, “The Entrepreneurial Journey: The two biggest questions that every company owner has to answer.” Building a company is not a construction project. It is a journey, and—like all journeys—it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. The end is not the creation of a great business. That’s the middle. The end comes when you leave that business. Some may leave feet first, but everyone leaves sooner or later. To have a successful journey, there are two questions that every owner must answer: What exactly will make my company great, and what does it take to have an exit that will leave me, not only financially independent but also happy and proud, with a strong sense of accomplishment? Those happen to be the topics of two books Bo Burlingham has written: Small Giants and Finish Big. In his talk, he will share what he has learned.
2:00 – 3:30 pm: Track 2.1 – Workshop with Bo Burlingham “The Entrepreneurial Journey Workshop.” In the first half of this workshop, participants will discuss what they like most about the companies they have built and what they can do to make those companies even greater than they already are. In the second half, participants will turn their focus to their eventual exit, and what they can be doing now to make sure they have the options they want when the time comes.
2:00 – 3:30 pm: Track 2.2 – Workshop with Steven Kotler “Hacking Human Performance”. Learn how performance athletes, Navy SEALs, Google’s innovators and others boost information and inspiration through altered states, often called a state of “flow.”
6:30 – 9:30 pm: Party at the Gun Club (Western Theme)
Friday, April 27
7:00 am – 10:00 am Breakfast
9:30 am – 11:45 am Closing Session with Colleen Stanley
Keynote: “Five Ways CEOs Screw Up Sales”
Workshop: “Emotional Intelligence in Sales”
5:00 pm – 6:30 pm Lingerers Reception
SPEAKER LINE UP
Bo Burlingham, Steven Kotler, Katrina Ling and Colleen Stanley! Review our Speaker Lineup.
Book now! Reserve your room by April 4, 2018, through this link: OmniHotels.com/VACEOSretreat2018 or call 800-838-1766.