Leadership Retreat Planning - Part 2 of 2

Leadership retreat planning is an important step in launching your company's fiscal year. It's important to narrow your focus, set ground rules, keep it simple, and keep your eyes on the prize. Here, we'll explore additional tips and tricks for a successful and productive retreat experience.

Abstain and Refrain

Resist the urge to incorporate alcoholic beverages into your leadership retreat. Ah yes, this is perhaps the most unpopular rule! Although alcohol is a socially accepted practice, some individuals do not partake, either because of their spiritual or religious beliefs, or because of a prior substance abuse problem. When you introduce alcohol into a corporate retreat setting, you are undoubtedly and inadvertently alienating at least a percentage of your participants. It's best to keep things professional and refrain from including alcohol during the weekend.

Don't Stand Down

When someone breaks a ground rule, don't stand down. When ground rules are agreed upon by the group, it diminishes the group experience when those ground rules are not enforced. It's tough to be the "bad guy" but it's not worth the negative impact on the group to overlook any infraction. Handle rule breaking swiftly and professionally, and instill consequences for repeated offenses.

Emphasize the Takeaway

Remember, the whole point of the leadership retreat is to create a plan of action and instill positive changes to resolve at least one of the company's challenges. Therefore, it is essential to emphasize the takeaway in order to ensure that everyone's time feels valued, and they understand what was accomplished by the time they took out from their busy family schedules and personal lives. This is most effective with the creation of a specific plan of action.

Communicate the Strategy

Upon returning back to the office, the new strategy and action plan needs to be effectively communicated to the rest of the staff. The action plan should include action items, responsible parties, deadlines and milestones. This action plan needs to be distributed among all responsible parties and their respective departments. A forum should be provided for Q&A as well, so that all staff are clear on the reasons behind the strategy, as well as the action steps required to effective the change.

Execute Action

All is for naught if no action is taken. The final step will occur (and continue) long after the retreat has ended: action. Follow up measures should be in place, in order to ensure that progress continues to be made and that responsible parties complete their action items in a timely manner. This can be accomplished by one party, or an ad hoc oversight committee.

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