Leadership Retreat – Selecting the best vendors to deliver peak performance (Part 2)

Having facilitated leadership retreats in the past 11 years, Dr. ABIOLA SALAMI provides guidance to business leaders in selecting the best vendors that will deliver an exciting experience that positions their organization for peak performance.

Last weekend, we held our 2023 internal retreat in CHAMP, and it was such a refreshing experience. It was a great opportunity to bond and relax; celebrate and learn from our 2023 success as everyone contributed to our strategize for 2024.

While we have delivered amazing experiences that stimulate peak performance at the leadership retreat of our clients in the past 11 years (also serving two new clients back-to-back in the past week), we continue to conduct six very important checks in selecting the best vendors that will provide you with both an atmosphere and experience that enables peak performance our own vendors. Last week, we shared three of these very important checks. This week, we will share the final three checks. They are:

1.Check for Cost-Effectiveness
After looking up a vendor and comparing notes, the next thing to consider is the cost-benefit analysis. Is it economically sensible to engage this vendor? This means that you want to ensure that the value being offered by a vendor should justify your investment. Some vendors are overpriced, but they get away with it because in their heydays, they did render some stellar services and got the patronage of some top clients. However, you should know the numbers and advise accordingly: Is it possible to get a similar quality of service elsewhere for a lower amount or do the market rates suggest that the grade of vendors should be review downwards to match available resources?

It is important to note that if you want to get the best experience from a vendor, you should be willing to make the necessary investment. One of the erroneous leadership practices is when you are proposing a conservative budget for an outstanding experience. While vendors should give you the best experience your budget can deliver, it is important to set your expectations right. Don’t be the kind of client that want vendors to deliver an extra-ordinary experience with an ordinary budget. Balance is key.

Sometimes, an organization can be willing to go beyond their budget to acquire the services of a vendor. For example, there are training facilitators and there are training facilitators. Some have more charisma than impact, some have more impact than charisma whilst others have a significant dose of both. of getting the best deal from vendors is to get them to specifically itemize what they bring to the event in terms of value, then you can surf the market for the going rate for such services – then decide if the return on that investment is worth it. For added measure, the willingness of the vendor to give significant discounts on large orders or scope if event should be considered.

2. Check for Comprehensiveness 
You must look out for vendors that fully understand that corporate retreats are like productions and as such, mustn’t be treated in isolation. You should work with vendors that have both the ability and willingness to offer both pre-retreat and post-retreat engagement. It’s quite awkward for vendors to show up on the day of something as important as a corporate retreat and start trying to find their way around. It’s simply unprofessional. Thus, the willingness of a vendor or its representatives to be available to inspect a facility, audit the utilities and envision a design or programme flow is priceless. A schematic of the place helps vendors know how much work needs to be done which subsequently informs number of hands and machinery needed.

The vendor should be willing to have dry runs with the project managers of the retreat so that the things that need to be fixed will be sorted ahead of the big day; it’s an indictment not just on such vendor but also on the in-house person(s) responsible for corresponding with the vendor. Samples of proposed deliverables can be vetted too from teaching modules to even packaged food. The same is also true for post-event services. A comprehensive debriefing should follow every corporate retreat so that both client and vendor can compare note on the things that you got right or otherwise. Vendors that are willing to go this route should be strongly considered.

3.Check for Contractual Agreement 
Peak performing organizations usually put agreements between themselves and third parties into a legal document clearly highlighting the role and responsibilities of each party. This is done to ensure that both vendor and client have skins in the game and wouldn’t want to suffer legal jeopardy because of not fulfilling their obligations or terms of contract. Any vendor that is willing to put its reputation on the line has skin in the game and is worth being given preference. Human beings generally can be untamed and erratic but certain mechanisms are designed to remind us that it’s in our own enlightened self-interests to ensure that things go according to plan. This consciousness will be reflected in how the vendor has paid attention to the details. On the contrary, vendors that shy away from contracts not only suggest that they are not competent or confident enough to handle the job but are also not ethnical enough to commit to its skilful implementation.

About Dr. Abiola Salami
Dr. Abiola Salami is the Convener of Dr Abiola Salami International Leadership Bootcamp,The Peak Performer Recognition,The Peak Performing Woman of The Yearand Publisher/Editor-in-Chief ofThe Peak PerformerTM. He is the Principal Performance Strategist at CHAMP – a full scale professional services firm trusted by high performing business leaders for providing Executive Coaching, Workforce Development & Advisory Services to improve performance. You can reach him on hello@abiolachamp.com and connect with him @abiolachamp on all social media platforms.

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