** Update! This blog post was written pre-Covid-19, but can still be applied to virtual leadership retreats and socially-distant, outdoor offsites for local teams**
Planning a leadership retreat? Great! Grab a notebook – you’re gonna need it.
Leadership retreats have become more popular than ever for good reason – getting your team’s leaders together is one of the most powerful things you can do to boost morale, build skills, and solidify relationships amongst team members.
Your team, of course, is going to love getting together —why wouldn’t they? But I hate to break it to ya: it’s not just about a good time. You really want to optimize the experience in order to meet your goals.
So, before you rush into planning your next (or first!) leadership retreat, here are a few things to consider in order to make the most of your time together:
1. Understand what your leaders need
It’s not just about what they want—a good time, and let’s face it, booze—but also about what they need.
As you plan, ask yourself these questions: What do my leaders need in order to meet our company goals? Where are they currently lacking? What’s most important for our company right now?
Do you need them to be confident, connected, and inclusive? Or perhaps you want your leaders to be more intentional, mindful, and contemplative?
Be honest with yourself as you reflect on the answer to that question and assess your team’s overall strengths, weaknesses, and grey areas. This will help you structure what the day(s) look like and what your focus points will be.
2. Determine your goals
As you think about the strengths and needs of your team, focus on your ‘why.’ Why do I believe a leadership retreat is necessary?
These answers will help you formulate your goals.
Goals can be focused on company scaling, growth, and financial gain. They can also center, simply, on rapport building and better communication between different personality types. There is no *right* answer, as each business is different. Take time to figure out what goals feel aligned and what overall purpose your retreat will serve.
3. Figure out your budget
This will determine so much of your retreat, including which speakers/ workshops you’ll be able to plan, location, activities, gifts, food, etc.
Even if the powers that be at your company haven’t come up with a budget yet, getting an idea of what they’re thinking will help you put together better options and this is an important, and necessary step in planning a leadership retreat.
4. Based on your leaders’ needs, goals, and budget – start brainstorming
This is where the magic happens!
At this point, you’ve considered all that’s necessary to begin putting the pieces together. Start by researching physical spaces that feel aligned to your vision. Keep a running list of potential places you’ve contacted and your initial feelings.
If these tasks are outsourced, be sure to oversee the process and have the final say on where, when, and why before presenting the leadership retreat to the whole team.
5. Connect with external partners, trainers & facilitators
You can’t do this alone. (And you shouldn’t.) After you’ve found a location and date, start reaching out to external partners to help create a meaningful experience for your team.
Be sure to reach out to people who support your vision and will speak/teach on ideas that are in alignment.
Feeling excited?! It’s time to get started.