Every leadership team needs time away from business as usual to renew team members and the team – even teams that are working very well together. Just as we would ‘service’ a car or other equipment, teams need time to put down their day-to-day work and give time to connecting, reflecting and engaging with renewed energy. The need for leadership retreats increases when teams work remotely and/or virtually. The retreat is a ‘downloading’ and nurturing experience for team members as individuals, a re-engagement with team vision and a renewing of team relationships. It is essential that the venue is off-site so that all can fully participate.
A leadership retreat has several phases over 2-3 days:
Connection and Story - The story of what has been, beginning with each person sharing their story (usually covering a 12month period)
Team Journey Wall and Reflection
Team Barometer & Jigsaw – team members discuss their team culture, acknowledging what is strong and what needs strengthening
Team Priorities – a headline look ahead to what the team will focus on over the coming 12 months.
Phase 1 - Connection and story
The ‘connection’ activities will vary dependent of whether leaders have spent time together in offices or spent more time working virtually. The story begins with the individual leadership stories - ups and downs - of the last 12 months, shared in pairs.
Phase 2 - Team journey wall and reflection
This is where a visual timeline is created on a sticky wall by team members to represent all the events, actions taken, how they felt and behaved over the past year. It is common for team members to be surprised at the sheer volume of their work over the period. Reflecting over the past year, team members share what aspects of teamwork are sound and what needs improving. This process assists people to both celebrate their efforts and identify some of the frustrations or anxieties they experience.
Phase 3 - Team barometer and jigsaw
The team barometer is a visual representation of a gauge beginning with team members debating where the needle would be pointing at this time. Team discussion concentrates on how to move the barometer needle towards sunny. The team jigsaw focusses the team on choosing 9 vital team elements that form their jigsaw (e.g., trust, honest communication).
Phase 4 - Team priorities
A time for the team to spotlight their priorities for the upcoming year at the heading level. If more detailed operational planning is sought, the retreat will be 3 full days.
The leadership team members and the team will have strongly re-connected, valuing and acknowledging each other, strengthened relationships between individuals and across the team. The retreat deepens team relationships through greater understanding of each other. Team members are re-energised for their future work together and have chosen ways to forge a stronger leadership team moving forwards.
Leadership Retreats can be arranged at any venue, in any location. Depending where your team members are located, you may elect a hotel in a capital city, a more relaxing regional setting, or a special location on Country. As long as we can use a suitably sized room for the formal sessions, and accommodation is nearby, we can create a wonderful retreat environment.
One of my favourite locations for retreats is Magnetic Island. After a 20 minute ferry ride from Townsville, north Queensland, retreat participants can enjoy walks along the beach, hikes through national park and spend quality time together before and after the formal sessions. Participants walk away from retreats on Magnetic Island with a renewed sense of purpose and connectedness. Magnetic Island has wonderful accommodation options to suit every budget. I highly recommend: