Whether you need an executive brain storming retreat or are trying to improve staff communication, increase creativity and motivation, or just trying to make your company feel more like family, a retreat away from the office is the perfect answer. The next time you plan a leadership team retreat, consider incorporating the following tips:
- Invite the right people. Consider carefully who you respect and trust enough to share in guiding your business’s success. Ask yourself: Are key opinion leaders present, or at least represented?
- Plan with purpose. Keep a clear purpose in mind of what you want to accomplish. Then, make sure to communicate that purpose with a published agenda and overview that you distribute to retreat invitees prior to the event.
- Carefully consider where you’ll meet. Choose an environment that will be conducive to your purpose. The best environment for meditation is one that is peaceful, sedative, relaxing, soothing and surrounded by raw nature. Usually, meditation retreats are located among cool, serene and natural surroundings, by the side of lakes, rivers or atop mountains. This is what an ideal retreat aims to be.
- Make it matter. Match your retreat to your attendees’ interests and knowledge base by soliciting ideas and giving each participant one or more retreat-related tasks to accomplish before, during, and after the event. If your team believes they’re contributing, they’ll take ownership in making the event a success, and everyone will grow and learn as a result.
- Eliminate distractions. Stay away from e-mail and the phone as much as you can, and at the most once a day. Take a break from social media, too. The reason for this is that when we turn off the television and cell phones.
- Hire some help. Consider bringing in an objective outside facilitator to help increase productivity and make the day run smoother. A respected outside consultant who is a specialist in guiding participants can help avoid unnecessary conflict by navigating the often tricky interpersonal terrain and by keep everyone on track.
- Good food actually helps keep all retreat attendees happy and positive minded. Be sure and send an email to all attendees to see if they have any dietary requirements and send that to your retreat facility at least two weeks before your retreat. Select a menu of good foods and build in time for everyone to network and socialize a little. A comfortable setting supplied with tasty food increases your odds of everyone bonding and contributing their ideas.
- Follow up on decisions. Plan a follow-up to the retreat once you’re back at the office. Setting a date for team members to report on their actions will create commitment and increase the likelihood of things getting done.
- Maintain your focus. Remember that the overall goal in organizing and following through on a leadership retreat is to facilitate your business’s success. When done right, retreats provide a powerful environment to gain alignment, make decisions, and increase commitment.
- Don’t forget the fun! No matter what your goals for the retreat, be certain to allow for some downtime for you and your employees.
There are several things to consider when planning a retreat and finding a proper retreat center. Always visit the camp in person. Meet the staff, tour the facilities, and get as much information as possible. You can learn a lot from simply being with the people who will be serving you. Are they friendly?