When I think of retreat two images come to mind. The first is of a campfire in the middle of nowhere roasting marshmallows and singing in unison. The second is a group of individuals participating in a series of trust exercises. Which in certain circumstances are appropriate but most of the time they are just uncomfortable. As an employee, I can tell you that both images would have been less than desirable to me. Yet routinely, this is where organizations gravitate towards when they are seeking a solution to boost morale and assist with culture change.
Retreats certainly are a phenomenal tool and a worthwhile investment. If your reasons for deciding to facilitate a retreat are aligned with a goal that a retreat could actually accomplish. Here are the five reasons, I decided to facilitate the first-ever Leadership Arts Team Retreat.
One. A Lack of Focus
Over a six-month period, I went from having no employees to having three. I completely underestimated my workload and assumed that I would have the time necessary to onboard and orient them appropriately. I didn’t have the time and the result was a team excited and eager but what I like to call paralyzed. The lack of a successful orientation left them without a clear picture of our purpose at Leadership Arts and therefore made it nearly impossible for them to move forward. Instead of gaining the traction I thought I would achieve with a growing team, I had come to a standstill. I needed an opportunity to bring the team together and provide the clarity they were seeking to get our momentum going in the right direction.
Two. A Lack of Shared Vision
Creativity and imagination are at the core of Leadership Arts. An obvious benefit to me when deciding to grow the LA Team was the creative energy. I wanted to make sure I continually fostered that energy, promoted engagement and created buy-in. Utilizing a retreat to create a shared vision by defining what each of our big-picture goals is for Leadership Arts, not only promotes our individuality but brings us together under an even bigger better vision.
Three. A Strong Need to Just Be
In today’s world, the challenge to disconnect becomes a conscious struggle every day. As an entrepreneur, that line becomes easily blurred and before I know it weeks and even months have passed without me taking out any time to take care of me. If we do not nurture what we need to for ourselves to keep revitalized, then nothing else matters. This is what I call time to be. Time to be you and not all the other roles that consume your life. For this reason, it becomes essential what you select for your retreat location and facility. The location and facility must be able to permit this to occur.
Four. A Strong Need for Collaboration
Sometimes a good idea needs the input of others to make it great. Retreats provide a unique environment where distractions truly are limited, creating the platform for some powerful brainstorming sessions. This is why I always attempt to recreate the retreat atmosphere when facilitating a strategic planning session.
Five. A Need for Strong Relationships
Let me just put it out there if your business’s success is not contingent or doesn’t benefit in any way from your team effectively working together then you quite possibly will never be in need of a team retreat. With that being said, if your organization sees the value in the team functioning together in a fluid manner then retreats can provide the gateway to some awesome relationship building. An ideal retreat happens over multiple days or at minimum one day increasing the time available to establish a connection, build trust and lay the foundation for a great working relationship.
To me, retreats should be just as much selfish as they are selfless. It is about investing in your team and yourself to ensure that you are ready for whatever is coming your way next. If you’re interested in beginning to facilitate team retreats within your organization, Leadership Arts Associates would be happy to assist in any way to get that started. We design custom retreat solutions and provide facilitation service to ensure you get the results you are seeking.