Why you should consider a team retreat

Original article published on The Charlotte Business Journal

Each June, my company takes three days out of the work week to travel to a regional destination for our team retreat. This event is the centerpiece of our year. It has been the site of groundbreaking conversation and business breakthroughs. However, it also does so much more. 

Here are five reasons why you should strongly consider a team retreat. 

1. Forge deeper team connections

The day-to-day grind is challenging. It is possible to collaborate, but often that connection is not fully realized because it takes place in the context of work. Getting outside the work environment translates into much more personal connections.

Offsite retreats provide the perfect setting for deeper interactions with teammates. And this newfound understanding works wonders in breaking down walls and softening silos once you’re back in the office.

2. Communicate and workshop

“State of the company” updates are always important. However, they can easily become inconsistent or overlooked in the midst of the daily grind. A retreat setting gives you the ideal venue to communicate important messaging to a captive audience.

Going beyond updates, a retreat is also a chance to workshop through processes and other areas in need of improvement. You can run through certain business scenarios in a small group setting. Make sure to be intentional and transparent, which solidifies trust.

3. Breaking bread is powerful

Some of my most cherished childhood memories revolve around Sunday afternoon meals at my grandma’s. Food with people you care about facilitates a comfortable environment where conversation happens more naturally. Who doesn’t love a good meal?Food can serve as a unifier. Make sure to schedule meal times and locations that accommodate your entire team. You’ll be surprised what a meal together can accomplish. There is definitely power to be tapped into — just don’t forget dessert.

 

4. Intentional team building

A retreat isn’t a retreat without team building. And no, I am not talking about trust falls. I am speaking about the opportunity for interactive activities, which can certainly include traditional team-building scenarios but can also be much more.

A mix of settings and groupings is a must. Spending an afternoon doing fun activities like golf or escape rooms helps people connect through a common experience. Get creative!

5. Renewed energy

Who needs renewed energy and focus? Certainly this guy, and chances are most of your team as well. Depending on the time of year, you can build and carry momentum out of your retreat. I’ve found that midyear is a great time for a reset, but certainly base the timing on what works best for your business. Anytime you can add positive energy into the mix, you’re winning. Every team can use an infusion in this area from time to time. So focus on putting together a schedule that mixes business, team building, and fun. 

In closing

As with anything worth doing in business, you as a leader need to buy in for a retreat to be successful. Plan intentionally around where the organization currently is and ultimately where you want to go. Choose a theme and own it.

You invest in numerous areas of your business; a team retreat should be considered part of this conversation. When done right, it will pay off in interesting and wonderful ways.

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