Strategy-Focused Retreats Title image. Group of four ethnically diverse smiling people, who have the questions of "what strengths do I bring to the team?," "Are we aligned an cohesive?," and "What is our path forward?"

STRATEGY-FOCUSED RETREATS

How are we doing? Where are we going? When will we get there?

–From Dr. Tricia

When I facilitate team meetings, I notice important, off-topic information emerge. In 1-2 hour meetings, these critical insights are difficult to pursue. Sometimes the material is too complex to fit within the constraints. Alternately, emotionally charged topics need more time to be successfully addressed.

Strategic retreats provide the space to dig into these deeper conversations. I utilize a fluid approach with multiple backup plans so we can take advantage of unexpected breakthroughs.

The retreats I facilitate focus more on team cohesion and organization strategy than on games. I love to mix fun into the agenda, but I don’t believe that trust is created in trust falls. I believe that real progress occurs when people are able to connect with each other, have gritty conversations, and build collaboration by problem-solving topics at hand.

Finally, to me, a plan of action following the retreat is as important as the retreat itself. It makes me sad to see the missed potential that occurs when organizations invest thousands of dollars into retreats with no plan to capitalize on the progress. This approach often leaves attendees hanging and results in this comment. “We do a retreat once a year. It’s nice, but the effects wear off and nothing really changes.” The pattern becomes demoralizing for people who put their whole hearts into the event. Thus, my services focus on the planning and facilitation of the retreat, but also the debriefing and follow-up that maximizes everyone’s time, emotional and financial investment.

Key Topics in Strategy-Focused Retreats

Small pink circle showing outline of one person's head, representing personal or individual challenges for High Achievers

Personal

 Am I optimizing my skills?
Am I fulfilled?
What do I need from the team?
How do I refuel?
Small green circle with outline of two people and arrows going back and forth between them to represent interpersonal challenges for High Achievers

Interpersonal

Are people in the right roles?
Do we have silos?
What topics do we avoid?
♦ Do our actions reflect our values?
Small blue circle showing three connected people to represent organizational challenges of High Achievers

Organizational

♦ Where are we going?
What are the critical decisions?
♦ Where are we wasting resources?
♦ What is our growth strategy?

Engaging. Productive. Unifying.

Approach to Strategy Retreats

Customization.

One size fits most approaches do not yield optimal ROI. Team retreats are customized to the type and needs of the organization, the personality trends, preferences and dynamics of those attending, and the longer-term goals of the business.

High face validity. 

Face validity, means that the team can easily see the value of the activities and how it applies to their teams and their goals. Everyone engages when discussions focus on the gritty work of relationships and organizational goals.

Long-term value. 

The best retreats are those in which brief follow-ups can be built into the daily processes. Rather than having an event as a “one-off” day or weekend, it should be used as a springboard for additional strategies.

Fluffy Versus Effective

  1. Too often, team-building efforts rely on doing fun stuff together or having an event once a year. While the intention is good, this surface level attempt at team-building yields limited results. Cohesive teams, those marked by high-trust, often take time and intentionality to create. This extra attention on the front end increases the efficiency of the team. They are able to make decisions-more quickly, prevent miscommunication and conflict, and use their resources in an increasingly proactive versus reactive manner. Poorly functioning teams spend a lot of energy managing their own interpersonal dynamics; high functioning teams are free to focus their energy on building the business.