Monday, April 16, 2012

Corporate Retreats - Four Things to Consider

Corporate Retreats can be a great opportunity for teams and entire organizations to get away and FOCUS on things that are important. Unfortunately, retreats are not always as productive or fruitful as they can be. In planning for an upcoming corporate retreat, here are four things to consider:

1. What is the purpose of this retreat? Is it for strategic planning? Team building? Unplugging and focusing on what's really important in our business? Skill building? Time taken to get clear on the purpose of the retreat process is invaluable in ensuring the FOCUS is right. Once you have selected a facilitator to work with your team/organization, ensure that the purpose is clearly articulated.
Consider: What is the purpose of our retreat?

2. What approaches will work best for us? Choosing a facilitator that can bring a style and approach that matches your needs is critical. Are you looking for a planner? A team builder? Someone who can work at the strategic level? Do you have someone internally who can support this work, or do you need to look externally?
Consider: What is it that we are looking for in terms of the retreat approach?

3. What do we want as outcomes and takeaways? Consider what tangible takeaways will be best. Is it the core of a strategic plan? Annual workplans? Resource lists? New skill development? Each team/organization will have different needs. Keep these outcomes and takeaways front and center as you move through a retreat process.
Consider: What do we want as outcomes and takeaways from the retreat process?

4. How will we sustain the process? For many years I ran retreats internally for organizations I worked with. A key challenge was always around how we sustained the process. Great ideas were often left at the retreat site. For the past eight years as I have worked as an external facilitator of retreats, I have encouraged my partner organizations to consider how do we sustain the process, and keep the conversation going? It may involved dedicated staff meetings for follow up, several conference calls to keep the conversation flowing, or even a couple of shorter off or on-site "tune-ups" throughout the year.
Consider: How will we sustain the process? What will work best with our organization?

Have a wonderful week!

Jennifer Britton
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Potentials Realized - Coaching, Training and Consulting Services
Corporate Retreats - Read about some of the retreats we have developed with partner organizations, and download a retreat planning checklist
Email: info{at}potentialsrealized{dot}com
Phone: (416)996-8326

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