Monday, March 11, 2013

LOTS Möte or Planning Meeting

How do you plan vacations with your significant other? Do you discuss finances together? Talk about how you can improve your relationship? Do these things come up in conversation? Or do you simply fly by the seat of your pants? One of my colleagues has a twice yearly meeting with her significant other to plan out their life, six months at a time. But it isn’t just a meeting. They take an entire weekend and go to an inn, cottage or other similar cozy place where one might go for a weekend getaway, complete with activities and an agenda. What they come away with is a clear plan for their social calendar, how they will conduct their savings and retirement, where they plan to go for vacations, how they would like their relationship to evolve, and any other related activities or functions they have in common.

I became more and more curious as she was telling me about her weekend. Their financial meeting over breakfast, their vacation discussion over dinner, their agenda-free bastu (dry sauna), and their long, outdoor walk discussing their [grown up] children, among other light matters. Where did they go for this weekend excursion? Did they take notes during their meetings? Did they write reports? How did they even come up with this crazy idea?  As she began to explain why they do it and how it got started, what at first seemed to be a bit overkill or even silly was starting to sound like a brilliant idea. 

They spent their weekend at Såstaholm hotel and conference center, just north of Stockholm. Yes, they took notes and, yes, they wrote up a report afterward. But who came up with this weekend getaway, planning meeting? The idea came from her father. He was a physician who at one time used a process called the the LOTS-model in his practice. The LOTS-model was a work tool for activity development designed for children with psychological issues and illnesses. The work was conducted in meetings together with the children’s’ families to provide support and promote positive development. My colleague called her own meeting a “LOTS möte” (pronounced like “votes” with an “L” and “möte” is meeting in Swedish). It is a sort of loose translation from the original meaning but produces similar results. 

It sounds a bit formal to plan a weekend away merely for the sake of “planning your life” but with all of the distractions at home (iPhones, iPads, Internet, TV, etc.), organizing a weekend away to have these serious, though light-hearted discussions seems like a brilliant idea. We plan for all sorts of other things in our lives, why not make a few plans for our personal relationships? And a weekend away to a quaint cottage or inn always sounds like a good idea to me. 

Here are a few places that look interesting to me:

(Photos from our trip to the Texas hill country a few years ago)

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