Officer Retreat Ideas That Will Blow Your Mind
A leadership retreat is one of the most overlooked ways to establish a more efficient mindset in your team. You can hold as many meetings as you want to try and address certain areas of concern, but the bottom line is, everyone may not be aboard the same ship. Leadership retreats are a great way to address a multitude of concerns, allow people to express their opinions, desires and goals, and develop meaningful bonds across your team. The retreat can serve as a much needed time to collectively decompress or to bring everyone on the same page, and sometimes, both. Maximizing the time you have with your team is crucial to the success of the retreat. Let’s get a thorough plan together.
Know Your Purpose - It’s easy to get carried away with the various details involved in planning a retreat so outline for yourself what the purpose is. Perhaps it’s to address issues with team
participation, create synergy or take stock of progress relating to a large project
involving coordination from all members. Either way, it’s important to keep this in mind
when picking out the venue, activities and other essential retreat items.
Pinpoint Planning - Depending on the size of your team and the responsibilities you have at the time, it may be necessary to delegate the task of planning this event to a team member. Knowing
when you’re plate is full is part of being an effective leader. However, having too many
people collaborate on the planning of the retreat can have negative results. Some team
members may suggest ideas that aren’t used and arrive at the retreat determined to
have a bad time or may not show up at all. Make sure the person you designate to plan
understands the purpose of the retreat and is someone you trust to be timely as event
planning can be tough.
Make an Agenda - Leadership retreats and spontaneity do not mix. With no direction, retreat participants may arrive feeling like this is a vacations instead of being prepared to focus on the tasks at hand. While the retreat is meant to help alleviate some of the stresses in the
leadership/work atmosphere, it is also meant to facilitate meaningful conversations
between members and create stronger bonds which will be carried into the year. Having
an itinerary helps keep people on track and allows a strong divide between work and
play which will keep people on task for retreat activities and greater socialization
Who's Who - Deciding who attends your retreat may seem like a silly step considering FFA officer teams need all members present for the retreat to be effective but what about FFA
members serving as chairs on various committees? Do you want to bring your advisor
along for the retreat? What about guest speakers? All of this needs to be planned far in
advance and some people may have very busy schedules to work around. If you are
planning to have an overnight retreat, this will likely also affect the number of rooms you
need to reserve as well as the meal voucher or plate count. This may also impact travel
fees but will definitely impact your budget.
Setting Expectations -Communicating the purpose of the retreat helps set the stage for achieving the outcomes you want. Food for thought is the phrase of the day before embarking on this
retreat. Give participants something to ponder before arriving or perhaps task them to
come up with a list of items based on a prompt. This gives participants the opportunity
to carefully think about how to add to the conversation and allows them to be thoughtful
with the content presented. Ultimately, it invites collaboration which is the number one
way to have a successful retreat.
Location, Location, Location - Remember when we talked about knowing your purpose? Purpose is the driving factor of choosing your location. If the purpose of the retreat is to promote creativity or brainstorming for a project, a lake house may be more appropriate than an office
building. Conversely, be savvy about choosing a location that is not too casual. The
retreat still needs to be respected as serving to contribute to the effectiveness of the
leadership team down the road.
The Day Of - The first day of the retreat sets the tone for the rest of the time you are there. Retreat leaders need to maintain their presence in the room but also respect that this is a
non-work atmosphere. Facilitating discussion is imperative for productivity on this retreat
however, you must be fresh enough to allow team members to chime in often. Give an
overview of the agenda and ask participants for feedback. STATE THE PURPOSE.
Highlighting why everyone is there, again, is necessary because emotions are high the
first few hours. Being clear and consistent with the purpose will ensure a desirable
outcome as the retreat comes to a close.
Follow Up - Having a retreat is a fun way to brainstorm and work out issues that you may face over the course of your leadership role(s). However, a plan without action is a dormant idea.
Following up is the most important part of the retreat process because it keeps participants accountable as ideas are implemented and tracked. It gives you the opportunity to track progress and hammer out whether some ideas are working or need to be set aside.
Following these steps will save a lot of headache down the road. This guide will ensure a framework for success on your leadership retreat and will help set a precedent for the kind of legacy you would like to leave with your chapter as you move into bigger roles.