Harness the Current

Access Continuum’s Leadership Model for leading through novel unknowns

Continuum Consulting Services LLC

I have to admit, I love retreats.

Our first company, RETREATS INC, was designed around them. RETREATS was an acronym that stood for Reaching Excellence Through Recreation, Education and Adventure Training Strategies. Yes, it took an all-nighter to come up with that! We were one of the first companies to take corporate groups onto ropes courses or use catamarans and kayaks to teach about change. ‘Trust fall’ anyone?

However, over time we began to hear …

Not Another Retreat!

There have always been naysayers about retreats, the ones saying that not enough gets done, it’s too much time together, and there’s too much other work to do that gets delayed by taking time away. We’ve heard about how ‘extroverts’ tend to enjoy the group experience while ‘introverts’ are less comfortable. You may have a few more concerns you could add to the list.

More Important Than Ever

However, in our new world of work, many people hired during lockdown have never really spent time with their teammates, or even their managers, in person. As companies continue redefining their workforce models, ranging from back to office to totally virtual, or myriad other options we call Anywhering, we believe in-person team retreats are needed more than ever.

What is a Team Retreat, Anyway?

In case you’ve never been tapped to attend one, it’s an offsite, in-person full team gathering, usually for 1—3 days of themed discussion, dialogue and connection. It generally also includes a hotel or conference center in a beautiful place, great food and if weather permits, some themed outdoor activities.  Retreats are a conscious gathering of people, energy, and ideas. Leaders tend to schedule them when a team needs to launch a new product, re-vision and strategize for some emergent challenge, plan for the upcoming year, or re-connect, building relationships and trust that support their work as a team. Critically important decision making can get done at a retreat.

A Retreat ‘Refresh’

There are new opportunities for retreats to be truly useful tools for building connection and supporting organizational flow. In the Anywhering world of work we now inhabit post-pandemic, a retreat is less of an off-site than an opportunity for a robust ‘onsite.’

A Key Success Factor

Periodic retreats may be a key success factor way beyond weekly meetings for our ability to stay effective and aligned on what’s most important about the work we do.

These periodic infusions of connection and reflection can remind us of what we appreciate about the people we work with. This is especially important as our organizations become more diverse and we manage the complexities of five generations (5gen) working together.

At a retreat, separation dissolves, conflicts resolve, and colleagues become real people, not just a ‘problem’ to deal with. It gives us time to linger over coffee together and build relationships intentionally, to be surprised by our connections and become more real to one another. Any of us can probably tell a story about finding out someone we’ve had a conversation with is more interesting and their ideas better than we expected.

Retreats pull us out of our day-to-day comfort zones. We don’t grow our teams by business-as-usual—we have to get out and explore the edges together.

Having now done this for decades at Continuum, we can say we’ve seen all sorts of valuable outcomes emerge at these events…miracles, even. If you think back, you can probably remember some of those extraordinary moments yourself.

So, let’s revisit retreats. Maybe it’s the perfect time for them to be in vogue again. Continuum can make sure your retreat delivers.  Read more about what’s possible and contact us here.

Wendy White is co-founder and partner in Continuum Consulting Services.