Do you and your staff need a retreat day? You know, a day away from work where you can focus on strategic planning, or resolving something that’s just too big to fit into an extended staff meeting. If you do, here are some planning tips to make the most of your time.
First, you need to know what your goal is for your time away. The retreat should have a clear business purpose, like creating a strategic plan, or developing the year’s marketing calendar. Make sure you can accomplish this goal within the time you’ve dedicated.
Once you know what you want to accomplish you can decide who to invite. Just issuing a blanket invitation to all staff might not be the best use of staff resources. And consider that some retreat goals might be served by inviting some of your best customers or other stakeholders. Also, you’ll want to include anyone who needs to have buy-in on whatever decisions you are making.
From here you’ll need to decide on a few logistics. Where will you hold the retreat? Do you want to build social time around the business activities? If so, then consider a place with good restaurants or recreational facilities around it. Will you be having the event catered? Is it a brown-bag affair? This will make a difference in your locale.
Next, think about who will help you get through the agenda. A facilitator can play a helpful role here. They’re neutral, understand group processes and dynamics, and can help you get through an agenda efficiently. You may want to include one.
Prior to the retreat, work up an agenda that is specific as to time frames, activities, purpose and desired results. Distribute the agenda beforehand so attendees can bring whatever materials they might need to present. Participants should know up front if they are there to just discuss issues or if they’ll be asked to make decisions on issues. The more preparation everyone puts in ahead of time the better your retreat will go.