Why Retreats Matter [From an Executive]By Diana Marsh
Taking time to pause… For me, that is the biggest motivation in hosting a retreat for the company.
It is always a bit nerve-racking to close the office for two days, but our annual company retreat is one of the most important things we do each year. Taking two days to focus on ourselves as individuals and as a team only serves to positively impact the way we serve our clients.
We work hard every day with very little time to catch a breath between projects and tasks. These two days force us to unplug from work and just be together as a team.
Celebrating the Past
Since we move so quickly from project to project, we sometimes miss all of the great work that happened in the last 12 months. During the retreat, we take time to deliberately celebrate all of our accomplishments. It also allows both our marketing team and our technology team to learn about other projects—projects that they may not have even had a chance to work on.
Learning from Mistakes
We also talk about things that did not go well. Doing so is just as important as talking about our accomplishments. We get to look at various projects as a group to try to figure out why it didn’t go well so we don’t fall into the same trap this year.
Taking Time to Dream
Dreaming as a group is very important – we are not a large agency and, as a leader, I want to be sure that each person knows just how important they are to the overall success of our business; what each individual does can make or break our year.
We see every person on our team as an “owner” of the company, and each individual has the power to make The A Group great. With everyone’s active participation in setting the direction and goals for the upcoming year, we help set the tone for showing team members that they are invaluable to the team and what they do matters.
When we leave the retreat, we know that everyone is on the same page for the future and what it will take to get there.
Why do a Retreat?
Yes, the retreat is a great time to look back on highs and lows while simultaneously looking forward to the new year with great anticipation. But taking time out to intentionally interact with team members outside of the office is perhaps the biggest reason for our annual retreat.
Watching our team interact and get to know each other on a personal level is so rewarding. The simple act of preparing a meal (or cleaning up) brings out different aspects of one’s personality. And all that interaction translates to a healthier office atmosphere; the better we know each other the better we work together.
Over our two days out in the woods, we had focused sessions for learning, but some of the best spent time was the down time, giving folks time to interact together – be it over a board game, ping pong competitions, a disappointing Predators loss, cards or impromptu dance parties.