November 15, 2013

3 Steps to a Successful Advisor Team Retreat

The end of the year is fast approaching, and even though a plethora of things fight for your attention as an advisor, I’m here to remind you of one action item you shouldn’t ignore: organizing an annual team retreat. These events are an important aspect of ensuring a healthy and happy workplace. A business without team retreats is like a basketball team that never practices, never plans, never scouts, doesn’t play preseason games and then tries to enter regular-season play. It’s just not a winning strategy.

As a business owner, you set the tone for the company. You may have a strong vision for the future but find little time available during the standard course of business to share that vision plan with the people you count on most. Team retreats allow you to get your entire team on board with your company mission and culture, and ensure that everyone shares a unified vision. It also allows your team members to share their concerns and opinions – letting them know their voice is valued in the company. To ensure the growth and profitability of your business, you must continuously re-evaluate your goals, mission, business model, focus, and plan of action. The challenge lies in finding the time and resources to do it. Which is exactly why scheduling a team retreat away from the office is so crucial to your business. It gives everyone an opportunity to step back and look at the overall direction of the company. This may sound like a daunting task but in all actuality, a team retreat is quite simple at its core. 

Here are the three steps to achieving a successful team retreat: 

Step 1: Communicate the Desired Outcome

Before the retreat, determine what you want to accomplish during the retreat and tell everyone involved. For instance, “we want to rekindle the sense of fun and excitement we once shared as a team.” Or “we want to decide how we can simplify some of our processes and gain laser-like focus on the things that will matter most over the next three years.” 

Step 2: Get everyone on the same page

During the retreat, get the entire team excited about your mission and vision plan. Bring in a skilled facilitator if you think that will help; sometimes an outside and impartial viewpoint makes all the difference. Consider hiring a motivational speaker or staging some team-building exercises. The goal here is to have everyone clearly understand your objectives and their responsibilities for the next year. If each team member doesn’t understand how their role specifically impacts the big picture, you’re not communicating your plan well enough. 

Step 3: Follow Through All Year Long

Create a one-page list of specific goals for the year along with metrics for achieving those goals. Then schedule monthly meetings with the team to focus exclusively on the goals set at the retreat. Shut the office down, bring in lunch, spend two hours and discuss nothing but the progress of your company’s goals. Having allotted time every month will keep the entire office focused throughout the year.

It’s that easy, and best of all, the benefits of holding an annual team retreat far outweigh the costs. It leaves your team feeling informed, valued and rejuvenated. A happier workplace and stronger office culture can result from everyone clearly understanding the firm’s vision and the role they play in achieving that vision.

Want to start planning your own team retreat? Click here and enter the code “staff retreat” to receive a team retreat sample template. 

Implementation and follow-through of regular team retreats ensures you remain bi-focal as a business owner:  focusing on the day-to-day operations of your business while also making time to focus on achieving vision goals as a team. If you can do this, your team will become more effective, your culture will bloom, and your firm will grow…the right way. 

Reprints Discuss this story
This is where the comments go.