Leadership team retreatsDoes a retreat help a leadership team advance? Or does a retreat mean falling behind as work piles up back at the office?

We worked with a CEO to plan and run an offsite leadership and culture development session. He refused to call it a retreat. He insisted everyone refer to the session as an ‘advance.’

The CEO was right: the reason for taking any leadership team offsite for two-days is to advance. We can debate terms and change words, but there’s now lots of evidence that in today’s frantic and crazy-busy times, stepping back helps us to step ahead. It’s the pause that refreshes, renews, and refocuses.

Fall is a popular time for leadership team retreats. Leadership teams need time away from daily operations and everyday distractions to work together in planning and strategy, reflection and renewal, team building, and development planning. This time away carves out space for the collaboration and planning so vital to increasing safety, service/quality improvement, leadership, or culture development.

In over four decades, we’ve seen too much time, money, and effort wasted on the 50-70% of leadership, culture, and organization change and development efforts that fail. Here are some of the key failure factors:

  • The team isn’t united in strategic priorities
  • Conflicting messages ripple out to the organization
  • Behaviors don’t model the desired culture or values
  • Little personal feedback on leadership behaviors
  • It’s not safe to discuss moose-on-the-table (touchy or politically sensitive topics)

A leadership team retreat is an excellent way to ensure you’re pulling together and focused on a shared strategy to boost the success of your development efforts. Effective offsite sessions are tailored to your organization’s culture, team dynamics, development needs, strategic issues, and priorities to make the most of this valuable time together. To review retreat resources, click on leadership team retreats and the links under “Planning a Retreat?”

Envisioning your team or organization’s desired future is a critical step in a leadership team retreat. Tomorrow we publish my August blogs in the September issue of The Leader Letter.This issue provides new research, some examples, and links to harnessing the magnetic power of visualization. You’ll also find suggestions to increase participation and autonomy. This is a core value that’s a cornerstone of most high-performing cultures. Leaders need to debate and decide if doing it with and not to or for people in their organization is a priority. Performance reviews are a culture outcropping that shows the values and approaches of the leadership team and the culture they want to build. Tomorrow’s issue features a webinar showing essential performance elements in building a coaching culture.

I hope these blogs are giving you a brief personal retreat, so you can advance your leadership effectiveness.