28 Nov Corporate Team Retreat Facilitator Shares Team Retreat Tips
As a corporate team retreat facilitator, I’ve facilitated many, many corporate team retreats, and I’ve also attended more than a few lackluster ones. Here are a few of my favorite tips about common mistakes you want to avoid when planning your team retreat:
- Don’t make it boring! This shouldn’t be just another long meeting. It should feel like a retreat, so be sure the content is interesting and engaging. If you have sections where you’re conducting “real work”, keep them short and try to find innovative ways to do it. For example, when I work with teams who want to work on developing a mission statement, I create a competition. Small groups take about 15 minutes to develop a logo for the team using pennies. Then we review and discuss all the logos. The discussion of similarities is a natural transition into a more traditional discussion of components of a mission statement.
- Get team members involved. A great way to ensure that team members will leave feeling like the retreat was a great success is getting their input (and participation) during design and planning. Consider surveying the team on potential topics, activities, logistics alternatives, etc. Also consider asking team members to lead certain sections of the agenda. You will have a more successful event if the team is actively involved in both preparation and execution.
- Begin with the end in mind. To avoid conducting a team retreat that is scattered and unfocused, be sure your planning team gets clarity on the goals for the retreat. When I work with clients to design team retreats, I ask them to complete this sentence…“I will consider this retreat a success if…” Getting laser clarity early on is so important because it helps guide your selection of topics, activities, facilitators, etc.
- Include interactive activities that make a relevant point. Be sure the day is packed with interactive, interesting activities that get participants involved. Team members learn so much more by participating in an activity that makes an impression on them. As a facilitator, I have a strong bias towards activities that actually make a point (e.g. communications best practices, the importance of embracing change, relationship building within the team, tips for managing tasks and projects more effectively, strategic thinking, benefits of teaming, etc.). Here is an example of an interactive activity that I conduct with some teams:
For additional tips on designing an effective corporate team retreat, view this video: