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7 Steps to planning a successful business retreat

Why hold an off-site business retreat?

There are many reasons why organisations choose to hold an off-site business retreat. There may be a requirement for a new strategic plan or a need to work on team-building. Maybe it’s planning for a new project launch or an annual review of corporate performance. These can be projects that require more time than just a 2 hour meeting.

The investment in an off-site event can often be considerable even without allowing for the time of all of the participants. So, any organisation will want it to be a success. Here are seven steps to consider.

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Know Your Goal

Without a goal, there is no point in a retreat. Most organisations will expect some change as a result of a retreat. They don’t invest in an off-site event for things to stay the same. Make a list of desired outcomes and narrow the focus. Get agreement for the goal.

Allow Enough Time

Once you have a list of conference outcomes make sure you can realistically accomplish them within the time you have allotted.

Make sure the right people attend

It maybe the senior management team or a vertical slice of the organisation. (This will be determined by the goal).

Eliciting buy-in

It’s often helpful if all participants know what to expect and how you are going to accomplish your goals. Encourage collaboration. Everyone should feel they can contribute. Make sure minority opinions have a way to be heard.

Formatting the meeting

A good way to start is to examine the milestones and history of the organisation.Improvisation and role-plays including storytelling and music can have a place. A debate can stimulate discussion with participants asked to defend current strategies. Presentations from different departments can be useful. Will you break out into discussion groups or use brainstorming?

Combine team-building with work

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Challenging team members is often an effective way to diagnose team problems. The challenge is often a metaphor for work situations where groups can determine for themselves better ways of working together.

Document agreed actions

All actions agreed by the team should be documented. Document what is to be done by who and when. Agree how progress will be measured.

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