Have a Productive Off-Site Retreat
Written by Ron Hunter on September 04, 2012
I have led numerous offsite retreats for various organizations and find the time most beneficial. Not all are that way, however. Getting a group away from the office for a couple of days requires the right ingredients to make the most of your investment. Typically you take your leadership team to off-sites which means the largest salaries are sitting away from their departments. In other words, you had better not waste this time. So what should you consider when planning an off-site retreat?
Ask your self what you hope to accomplish at the off-site. Will this be a planning retreat to determine your next six months goals? Will you be looking to make some service or product changes? Do you need to perform a personnel inventory? Are you facing a strategic hire or replacing someone? You could use this to help determine some major upgrades in equipment or remodeling. Your goal will determine who should attend the off-site. Sometimes the leadership team can handle it, but sometimes you need other members present for their buy-in, insight, or expertise.
Pick a site where you can easily travel without tiring your team. If local, I look for less than 3 hour drives or if distant only destinations we can get direct flights. Each of these saves money. I strongly recommend not meeting around tables especially the formal boardroom tables. Ideally, shoot for a setting where there is enough casual furniture to sit comfortably for a couple of days. Then provide excellent food as this sets the tone for morale. Plan some fun. You cannot work the team the whole time. Our brains don’t work that way and fun moments help build chemistry. In addition to icebreakers, suggest people bring their favorite board games for late evening fun.
When facilitating properly during off-sites, trust among your team can grow. To accomplish trust, one personality cannot dominate the discussions. The leader of the group cannot overshadow the decisions. If the leader ignores the input, then there is no need to waste time or money doing an off-site. The right ingredients can yield a passionate team committed to achieving real results.
Posted in: Leadership