21 Mar Spring Break for your Team! Avoid These 6 Team Retreat Fails
Will it be Ft. Lauderdale, South Padre Island or Vail? (Or am I dating myself with those options? ;-)
Spring Break is a wonderful tradition that gives students (and families!) a break from the books and take time to recharge. Those benefits also work for work teams.
Let me first say that I am a huge proponent of team retreats. Focused time spent with your team can be extremely beneficial – but only if you plan it thoughtfully with your goals in mind. Retreats are great for very specific reasons, like launching a new product or developing a theme for an event, or very broad reasons like improving team communication, or launching a completely new team.
For any retreat, you must start with the end in mind. Know where you want to go, and create the agenda from there. But beware that the road to a disastrous team retreat is paved with good intentions. Here’s my advice for steering clear of common team retreat fails.
- Involve the whole team – active participation is a must! This includes input on the front-end and active participation during the retreat. This is critical to develop a sense of togetherness. No one gets to opt out.
- Get offsite – Getting out of the office is a game-changer. Find a location that is neutral (not an existing worksite), inspiring (quiet and remote, like the mountains, a resort or the beach) without being too distracting (I’m looking at you Las Vegas ;-) Even a tight budget should get you out of the office for a day.
- Make it fun – Create the right mood where people can relax, and feel free to express themselves. It can be an easy group kayak tour, a scavenger hunt, an escape room, a cooking challenge or a simple happy hour. Fun, light competition can open lines of communication and lay the groundwork for future collaboration.
- Hire a pro – Instead of running the retreat yourself, hire a professional facilitator, an expert in leadership development and high-performing teams. In this way, you can bring new, creative ideas – through an impartial facilitator – to solve challenging issues. I promise, you will reach high performance more quickly and with less stress with a professional facilitator to guide you.
- Don’t force it – Retreats must strike the balance of being a safe, fair environment for all participants, while still pushing people out of their comfort zones. You want to give the retreat agenda room to breathe (allow free, unstructured time!), and not over-engineer your activities. Careful planning from leaders and participants, and the advantage of a professional facilitator can help with this.
- Follow it up – Don’t stay in the clouds of theory and possibilities and maybes. Remember to get back to what needs to be done and how the team will work together to get it done. There’s nothing worse than squandering all the excitement and momentum of a retreat with zero follow up and action.
Remember that team retreats are not magic – there’s no silver bullet to solve all your team’s issues. Whether your team is successful or struggling, taking the time to get together to bond and plan is never a waste of time. A well-designed retreat can help to change strategic direction, solve significant business issues, create new ways of working together and contribute to a healthier work culture. Get started today at https://powersresourcecenter.com/team-building-retreats/