You’ve invested significant time and resources in bringing together your leadership team for a retreat, made big gains in building trust and alignment, and have a list of follow-up tasks. Participants speak highly of the experience and everyone seems to be jazzed and motivated.
Too many times, organizations invest in leadership retreats with hopes of blockbuster increases in productivity and goal attainment only to be disappointed. Inevitably, day-to-day tactical demands erode the energy and commitment that comes out of these efforts. Some teams get to the point where can’t even remember commitments they made and enthusiasm they felt when they were together.
In order to sustain the gains you make, there are five actions you can take to deepen and sustain the impact.
Approach a leadership retreat as an on-going activity
Before conducting an off-site retreat or team building activity, it is critical to view it as part of an on-going effort to increase team productivity or collaboration. Rarely are single events enough to create a sustained momentum.
Commit to a follow-up session in the near future
Enhancing the functioning of a leadership team is not just a one-time only event. It takes sustained investment of focused action to build a true collaborative, high-functioning team. Set aside a day for a follow-up dialogue no more than 2-3 months out to discuss progress made toward retreat intentions and course corrections in plans developed during the retreat.
Start taking action immediately
It almost doesn’t matter where you start - but start somewhere! Out of action comes integrity and energy. If, for example, your team formulated a list of ground rules for your meetings, start using them the following week after your retreat. As the leader, the onus is often on you to model behavior for the team and recognize the efforts of participants to move into action.
Engage your people one-on-one
Meet with the members of your leadership team one-on-one to debrief the retreat experience, ask for feedback and explore their follow-up action commitments. By increasing accountability for action on an individual basis, you are far more likely to achieved sustained results and greater return on the investment.
Send out a summary with action items
There’s nothing like seeing accountabilities in black and white to spur action. Commit to sending out a summary of the session to participants within 2-3 days. Turn up the gas for the entire leadership team even more by sending a summary of insights and actions to your entire organization. Better yet, delegate this task to one of your team members in advance of the retreat.
Reflect on the experience
Deepen your abilities as a team leader by reflecting afterward about what worked, what didn’t and insights you gained from the experience. Did certain team members seem more engaged than others? What was the overall energy in the room? Was the retreat design on target or could it have been improved?
While leadership team retreats are costly in terms of time, resources and opportunity costs, they can play an important role in enhancing the functioning of your leadership team. By following these five steps, you can enhance the return on this valuable investment.
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Dr. Kevin Nourse has more than 20 years of experience developing resilient leaders and is the founder of Nourse Leadership Strategies. Kevin resides in Palm Springs, California. For more information, contact Kevin at 310.715.8315 or email@example.com
(c) 2018 Kevin Nourse