The day you go back to your office with a workbook overflowing with great “stuff” from the company retreat, you’re optimistic about putting what you’ve learned into practice. Oh-0h. That stack of work on your desk looks a lot bigger than when you left. You’ve got to get into that catch-up mode.
Priorities in place, you tuck your retreat workbook and notes into a drawer in a special spot where you can easily locate them later. Back in your routine, you continue to do the same things you’ve always done (and wonder why you keep getting the same results). Those wonderful retreat materials gather dust from benign neglect.
When and if you do get around to looking something up, everything looks amazingly unfamiliar. Those great examples you wrote in the margins to jump-start your brain now leave you cold (“Story about buffalo”—now what the heck was that?). You can’t read most of your own handwriting anyway.
Sound familiar? You’re not alone. While a retreat can be extremely successful in the moment, even the best of ideas are likely to fade quickly unless an action plan for follow-through is in place before the retreat ends.
So what can a company do to ensure that the retreat is what it is meant to be: A great catalyst for an ongoing process toward success?
Consider hiring an Executive Coach to provide the kind of follow-up that is most appropriate after a retreat is over. He or she might work (typically for six months to a year) with individual executives or managers, or meet with team leaders—or entire teams—or specific departments to make sure the ideas and skills initiated during a retreat are fully developed and filtered down throughout the organization.
A retreat can be a terrific opportunity to create a vision, develop a new initiative, increase bonding, boost morale, reinforce company values and introduce or reinforce concepts, skills and information. The challenge is to expand its effectiveness far beyond a stimulating day or two!