Leaders should always be learning new skills and methods of effective leadership, and hosting a leadership retreat is a great way to grow and reinforce those new skills. Leadership means more than just leading; it’s shared accountability for the team’s failures or successes, as well as responsibility for making the process run smoothly. Here are some tips on how to plan an effective leadership retreat.
1.) Be Specific With The Purpose Of The Retreat:
Hosting a leadership retreat with the simple goal of “improving leadership skills” isn’t quite enough. You’ll want to be specific with the purpose of your retreat. What leadership skills are specifically addressed? Who is to attend? How will the training take place?
This is a great time to mention that an agenda should absolutely be included in your planning process. Disorganization can only serve as a detriment to the overall effectiveness of the entire retreat, so plan all activities accordingly with specific dates and times.
Once you’ve decided what your purpose is, you can focus on how to achieve the goals you’ll be set. Do you want your employees to focus on working within their teams or working better with other leaders? Deciding what to focus on will change your entire agenda, so be sure to plan ahead of time and get feedback from those attending.
2.) Choose The Right Venue:
Your venue of choice can make or break the entire retreat. Too many distractions and your employees won’t be focused, but too little work-related training and the retreat won’t be fulfilling or cost-effective. Be sure the venue that you choose has a few basics to make your retreat a success.
First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure that internet and cell service is available at the venue. Cutting everyone off from their families and loved ones isn’t generally a good idea and without a good internet connection, you may not even be able to access your training materials.
You’ll also want to be sure that if you’re retreating to an out-of-the-way place like a forest, that you let everyone know ahead of time so they can plan accordingly. Bug spray and other items will become a necessity, and without them, the trip can soon turn into a miserable one.
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3.) Invite A Specialist:
If you truly want the most out of your leadership retreat, consider hiring a leadership coach or motivational speaker to attend. These specialists will bring new light to your retreat, providing valuable coaching and information to those in attendance.
The best part about leadership coaches is their ability to connect on an individual level with their clients and help them discover their best qualities. Encouraging employees to be the best version of themselves can help them excel in areas of their work where they were before lacking.
Leadership coaches in high demand will usually carry a hefty price tag, but it’s for good reason. Coaches like Tony Robbins have a proven track record of improving performance and confidence in employees.
4.) Gather Feedback From Your Leadership Team:
Don’t forget about your team when you’re planning the retreat. After you’ve created an agenda and goals for the retreat, host a meeting and ask for their input on the matter. This valuable information can help you better tailor the retreat for maximum effectiveness.
Your employees will likely want to gain specific things from the retreat, and so customizing the experience to those needs will help keep them engaged and learning. If you’re only focusing on the most mundane of skills, you’re likely to lose the attention of the attendees.
Feedback can also help you save money by eliminating unnecessary components of the retreat, or even by choosing a different venue. You’ll be able to gauge how the team feels about travel, and whether or not an out-of-state or otherwise distanced retreat is the best choice. Listening to employee concerns also helps make them feel valued and important to the company’s success, which is crucial to solidifying its position within the organization.
5.) Set Expectations:
While your agenda is a timeline for what will occur during the retreat, your expectations are a guide to how the attendees should act during the retreat. Be sure to let everyone know the times and places of any training events or other work-related items, and when downtime is to occur.
By setting expectations early, you’re ensuring that everyone is on the same page and aware of what you’re there to accomplish. If you’re providing food and drink (yes, adult drinks) be sure that employees understand they are still at a work function and should behave as such.
Be sure to follow up on those expectations during the retreat, and on any decisions that were made after the retreat. If an important decision was made during the retreat but never enacted, the retreat’s entire purpose becomes void.
Planning your retreat is simple as long as you remember to include an agenda and meet with your time to acquire their feedback on your ideas. The organization is the key to a successful retreat, so plan early, plan accordingly, and be sure to set goals and expectations clearly so that everyone is headed in the same direction.