Retreats offer a specific and in depth way to tweak organizational issues, revamp ways of operation, create team momentum, or just have fun. The typical format for a retreat is in four parts. The first, “Diagnosis”, is an opportunity to assess how the team is functioning. An in house assessment is performed via one on one and group interviews to identify places where the machine needs oiling. From there, “Treatment” is implemented whereby a game plan for the retreat is laid out including timing (one, two or more days), and what design will work best for the issues identified in the Diagnosis phase. This is an opportunity for management and potentially recalcitrant participants to weigh in on the format of the upcoming session and tweak what will work best for the group. Because the diagnosis phase is inclusive, even people who are typically resistant to retreats find themselves more willing participants in the retreat. “Implementation” is the heart of the process. This is where all the prep work pays off. It’s an opportunity to give the team what they are hungry for but have not been able to speak about in their daily busyness and to have conversations that are critical to the way the organization operates, but is often put off. These conversations will point the office in the direction it wants to go. One group had a very low morale issue and after the retreat, began to implement energy infusion strategies, which totally changed the ongoing mood of the office. Another group was operating like individual boats in the same ocean of work and after the retreat began to sail in the same direction. The retreat gives an opportunity for alignment and regeneration. The last part is “Follow Up” whereby the progress of the group is checked to make sure the ongoing goals are kept up and monitored. This schedule can be set in a weekly or monthly check up status and future actions can be delineated. This insures that the retreat goals are implemented and long term results are part of the process.
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