Planning a management retreat is not difficult if your team has decided on the overall purpose of the event. Simply filling the agenda with PowerPoint departmental updates, a motivational speaker and a token golf outing won’t suffice. If a company is willing to invest money in a retreat, the greatest return on investment will come from strategically selecting the right team building, training and meeting components.
Managers are, by virtue of their roles in the company, right in the middle of things. Not only do managers need training that relates specifically to their industry (technical or hard-skills training), but they need training in how to manage the efforts of others. Many managers are promoted by virtue of their ability to complete tasks. Often little consideration (and even less training) is given to help them in their new role as managers of people. A solid management retreat agenda will include some element of interpersonal skills training like communication, decision-making or effective delegation.
Managers and Teams
Another way in which Managers are in the middle is that they are both leaders of teams, and members of another team—their peer group of other managers. Their time, effort and occasionally loyalties are split between their co-managers and their own staff. Understanding how to integrate their efforts and goals with those of the other managers helps an organization to remain in alignment.
Management Retreats, Silos and Territorialism
Management Retreats are a great way to break down “silos.” Because companies are divided into departments, it’s very natural for territorialism to occur. Often the structure of organizations, separate locations, different work tracks, varying work hours, can make it hard to work together effectively. Departments have more than just physical barriers separating them. While the individuals within might share the same goal, each attacks in different ways, from different perspectives, with different agendas and at different points along the timeline.
During the management retreat, it is vital to address these issues directly, either through information conversation or a facilitated intervention with a skilled consultant. Facilitated processes like S.W.O.T. (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) or team building adventures designed to tear down “silos” like Build a Bridge can improve alignment and encourage knowledge sharing.
Management Retreat Recreational Activities
Making the most of the time your group has is crucial. Getting managers together at the same time is a real feat of logistics and time management. When they are together, try to accomplish as much as possible (without sacrificing the restorative benefits of the offsite retreat). One way to do this is to select activities that do “double duty.” For example, an activity like a Vision Hike will let participants enjoy the natural terrain of a region while discussing important strategic initiatives. Consider planning a leadership skills workshop, but hold it outdoors in a beautiful locale. Participating in a program like GeoTrek would promote team building and rapport while providing the opportunity to explore the city they’re visiting.