Are you feeling a bit busy right now? There’s a lot to do, the weather is changing, the weeks are fast but the days are slow. In my 18 years of working in schools and nonprofits, whenever I see signs of burnout, I recommend a staff retreat.
What are you seeing and hearing in your hallways & break rooms? Are your team members showing readiness for a break? Are your employees expressing frustration about conditions, policies, or communication? This is very normal.
Sometimes, it becomes apparent that you need a system for checking in and doing deep work as a team. When is there time to ask tough questions and make big plans? Pulling back to do visionary work ensures that people don’t quit when the work is tough.
When is the last time your team spent a day or two digging into big challenges and exciting ideas for growth? How long has it been since you had a meeting that was about vision and not updates and tasks?
Maybe now is a good time to look at your calendar and find a time to do this with your team. If your school or nonprofit is small, this might be everyone on your staff. If your organization is big, this might be your administrative staff and leadership. You know who needs to be in the room for this work to be effective.
So, what do you need to do to have results driven retreat with your team?
Plan Your Staff Retreat Agenda with Team Input & Feedback
Get a survey of the participants on key topics and ideas. Take a pulse of the room before you get started. This will help you to know where to direct your time and resources during the retreat. Celebrate your areas of agreement. Dig into your disagreements and look for common ground.
When you have advance knowledge of the bridges and divides, you are empowered to do your most effective work. When your retreat is focused on results, your organization moves forward intentionally.
Include Team Building Exercises for Small Groups (that don’t involve trust falls, please!)
A successful retreat includes some new learning for the group. But the most important part of a results driven retreat is the work the group does. Break into small groups to work on key parts of important issues your organization is facing. Have questions ready for them to answer about the issue or idea they are addressing.
By the end of your retreat, your group work should have produced useful direction for the organization. Important questions will be answered and a plan for moving forward will be in place.
Leave White Space in your Agenda
A truly effective retreat that brings staff and administration together will have ground rules and culture built to facilitate honesty. Some people on your team may have perspectives or ideas that are not popular or make you feel uncomfortable. This isn’t the space to shut them down.
Sometimes the conversation that feels like a derailment is actually the conversation you really need to be having. Your staff that have hard things to say are the ones who will be your greatest personal teachers, if you give them space to speak.
Plan for Follow Up
So many well-intentioned workshops and retreats happen with no action afterwards. We can easily get swept back into the day to day operations without moving the organization toward our broader vision. Don’t waste your time with your team by letting this happen.
Put an accountability plan in place. Every action item should be assigned to a specific individual or group with a timeline. Make a communication plan for weekly updates to the group. You might even set up a shared spreadsheet in which everyone can track their progress on goals.
Bring in a Staff Retreat Expert Planner & Facilitator
Does this all sound amazing but a little overwhelming? That’s because facilitating a purposeful retreat with a solid plan for implementation is a big job! Many organizations bring in an expert facilitator like me to do the heavy lifting for them.
I’ve facilitated a lot of retreats and workshops and I have it down to a science. My systems are in place, my reputation is solid, and your thriving school is my only goal.