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We'll lead you in a very effective retreat

that jump-starts the process.

If you click here, you'll read several extracts from popular magazines that tell about organizations who use Nature retreats to stimulate their planning session and decision-making - but the articles won't tell you what participants DO at these retreats to arrive at their new strategy or get their breakthrough idea.

That's where we come in. We'll show you how to use a 3-7 day retreat to help your organization make the strategic decisions that are the foundation of successful plans.

Call or write and we'll guide you through the process.


. Your retreat will be designed as a catalyst for the changes you'll decide.

Leaders don' usually consider a retreat because they're delighted with the status quo. They convene retreats because they want something to be different within their organizations, corporations, departments or teams.

Everything in a retreat must lead participants to develop a creative action plan that will produce changes for the better. Of course, we all know that decisions are implemented only when there is a strong commitment from the people who will have to act on those changes.

Our offsite retreats provide an excellent forum for getting expert input on important decisions, and to thus increase the chances that decisions will be widely supported.

 . All stakeholders will contribute to formulating the goals of your retreat.

There are many ways we do this - from focus groups to online questionnaires or interactive webcasts. However we do it, the critical aspect is for participants to understand that the retreat is not the exclusive tool of the management structure.

Unless participants believe that they can influence the outcome, they simply repeat what they think the boss wants to hear and tend not to speak honestly about how they see things.

. Your retreat will relate to what happens in your real-time work.

One of the great things about retreats is that people can test new ideas and try out new approaches in a non-work environment. But the participants still have to be guided so they'll see that what and how they decide in the retreat setting is pertinent to their work.

Otherwise, the offsite experience is disconnected from reality and people will not be motivated to change their behavior when they return to the office.


Specific Kinds of Retreat (top)

There are many kinds of retreats, each with its own characteristics and special planning concerns. Some of the most common are described below.

The Visionary Retreat

In our Visionary Retreat, top management gets together in an ideal setting and are stimulated to creatively chart a strategic direction, to measure progress, to set goals, to foster synergy within the group, to establish priorities, and to make key decisions. We will help them « creatively see » and write a 3 year strategic plan and one year operational plan from than vision.

The CE0 will take the lead in setting the retreat agenda and inviting the participants.

The Management Team (or Board) Retreat

A Management Team retreat typically invites stakeholders to decide actions and align them with the priorities, or to help management (or the Board) understand strategic and operational issues faced by the organization and staff. Because of management/board-staff relationship, such retreats usually include the organization's key staff or leaders, as well as the management team or the Board's members themselves.

The Project-teams or Departmental Retreat

Retreats for a project-team or department are often scheduled when a project kicks off or when there's a change in department head, when leaders mandate performance improvements, or when a group needs to measure progress against goals or establish their strategy and priorities. Such retreats are very helpful in focusing everyone on new goals or by involving them in finding the best ways to meet objectives.

Inter-departmental/organizational Retreats

Occasionally people from two or more departments in the same organization or from two or more organizations jointly convene a retreat to devise better ways of working together. Because there's no hierarchical relationship between them, a challenge for participants in such retreats is to maintain the objectives decided.

Team-building Retreats

Managers frequently want to convene retreats to improve teamwork. Retreats in nature encourage people to get to know and understand each other better.

Training Retreats

At times organizations want to bring their workforce or their other stakeholders - including customers or vendors to an offsite venue to stimulate “common interests for mutual gain”.

The goal of such retreats is often to share new data or arrive at common understandings of key issues while fostering better working relationships.

The Creativity Retreat

Organizations are increasingly using retreats to spark or learn creative thinking - for their products, services and processes. Specialists in creativity, we lead these retreats, with tools and techniques designed for that purpose.

Creativity sessions can be a component in another kind of retreat - like a strategic planning exercise where participants learn techniques and tools to solve real-time problems.

Customer or Vendor Retreats

Organizations sometimes wish to bring together important shareholders, customers, vendors, or clients. Such retreats can help start a new partnership on the right foot or strengthen an existing relationship.

10 Great Reasons To Hold a Retreat (top)

1.-To Explore Fundamental Concerns

Suppose turnover is exceptionally high or staff morale low. Or you have seen a significant drop-off in customers or increase in their complaints. A retreat can be the ideal forum to explore and address the underlying causes.

2.-To Harness The Collective Creativity Of A Group

When it's important to generate ideas for new products, services, or work processes, typical brainstorming sessions ofien fail to produce significant results. Retreats, free of routine workplace demands, have fewer barriers to imagination and creative thinking. The offsite setting can help innovative solutions emerge.

3.- To Plan Change

A retreat can promote new approaches to strategic planning, product design, service delivery, or marketing. The open discussion that characterizes well-run retreats promotes understanding of and commitment to new directions.

4.- To Shift Perceptions or Work on Attitudes and Behavior

In every organisation, people make up stories to account for things they don't understand. These stories lead to attitudes and actions that can be harmful to the organization. A retreat can be a great setting for participants to raise concerns and ask questions. They can provide more information, clear up misunderstandings, discuss the impact of past decisions, and modify those decisions if priorities have changed or if prior decisions failed to achieve their purpose.

5.- To Correct A Strategy When Things Are Going Wrong

You can't turn an organization around by executive fiat. People will change only when they see that it's important to do so. Retreats provide a forum for discussions about the reasons for and the urgency of a desired change. When people play a role in deciding what needs to be changed, they are more committed to ensuring that the change effort succeeds.

6.-To lmprove Relationships Or Change Things That Hinder Effectiveness

Suppose members of a team or division are having difficulty commumcating effectively with one another. Or two departments seem unable to work together. Or people are afraid to tel1 you what they think you might not want to hear. Retreats can help people open up to one another and create a climate of trust.

7.- To Create A Collective Vision For The Organization

Much of the tension that exists in organizations does not stem from inherent personality conflicts, but rather from individuals pursuing their separate visions of what is best for the organization. These visions often clash because they don't have the full picture of the organization. A retreat can help participants understand and build commitment to the your overall priorities. This commitment encourages people to be accountable for the success of the whole organization, not just their own work group.

8.- To Accomplish What Cannot Be Done By The Leader Alone

No matter how experienced and competent leaders are, they can't do everything on their own. Retreats provide an environment in which everyone contributes knowledge, expertise, and skills to address issues that might plague and confound a busy executive.

9.- To Make Tough Decisions

Leaders often confront very tough decisions: to eliminate a signature product or service, to close down a particular operation to reduce staff, or to change the nature of a long-stading alliance. Imagine how much more commitment there would be if many people from different levels in your organization participated in deciding what to eliminate or change and how to go about doing so, rather than simply being told what to do by the leaders.

10.- To Create Opportunities

At a retreat, leaders receive the benefit not only of broad participation in idea generation, but also of better decisions, because the group collectively will have a wider perspective and a greater number of ideas than the leader alone.

Why not to convene a corporate retreat (top)

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