When I was a young executive going through the U.S. Chambers’ Institute for Organization Management, I broke some rules that I wouldn’t break today if I had to do it over again:
Rule #1. Don’t call home. Leave your office telling them that you trust them to make the right decisions. They will. (And if they don’t, fix it when you get back.) “Graveyards are full of indispensible men.” Charles deGualle
Rule #2. Stay an extra night. You’ve just spent five days being machine gunned with information and then you are racing to catch a plane. Take a breath, spend the money and decompress.
Rule #3. Wait one week to review your notes. Watch what you will retain if you give it a week to absorb and then review your notes with the handouts. It’s amazing what you will remember and prioritize. (This is also true with information from your annual conferences.)
Rule #4. Party! (Actually, this is a rule I didn’t break.) This isn’t to say “get dumb and drunk,” this is to say “Dance like there’s nobody watching” because they aren’t! You’re out of town! The one thing I have noticed over the years is that the most fulfilled organization execs work as hard as they play and play as hard as they work. You can “let go” and still be a pro.
Rule #5. Don’t wait to go. I waited two years before I attended Institute and kicked myself over and over again for thinking I knew it all. The foundation of all my success (combined with my enthusiasm for our work) were the lessons learned in class (and out of class) at Institute!