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July 8, 2014

Planning Your Company Retreat


Creating a team strategy, building cohesiveness, and deciding on a unified company direction are several reasons to plan your company retreat. Last week, the Zula team gathered together for a “Rethink” in the northern Israeli village of Hanaton.

There, we participated in group discussions on a host of subjects that might have otherwise been left on the back burner.

Personally, this was my first off site getaway, and I can honestly attest that I have never felt as focused and inspired towards helping bringing a product to fruition as I felt following our rethink.

If your company has not yet had an off-site meeting, here are some tips:

1. Prepare a schedule

Out of office meetings can often disintegrate into inefficient chaos. This can be avoided by bringing a plan that will force organizers to decide on a goal for the trip. The worst possible outcome is coming away from the meetings empty handed.
Inefficiency can be avoided by setting a realistic schedule and timeframe for each discussion. In addition, a schedule of relevant group facilitators will prevent monotony and help the company focus on the agenda at hand.
Don’t be afraid to change itineraries as you go along- reevaluation of goals is healthy and part of the process.

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2. Assign a moderator

It is very easy for a group to get distracted by even business related chatter; a moderator will help direct conversation to where it needs to go. A good moderator will enable an open conversation in which all team members feel comfortable contributing and enriching the process.


3. Logistics

Logistics are equally as important as any other part of planning. We used our own app to coordinate schedules, housing options, travel directions, carpools, etc…

3. Team building & social activities

What’s a retreat without fun? Recreational activities not only provide entertainment but are great team building exercises. Don’t underestimate the ability of a unified team who has fun together to also come together to make your company better.
On our trip, we even managed to turn our shared meals into fun outings. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if you have access to a winery.


4. Record next steps

This is where you can ensure that your team takes away solid steps and action points to follow up your retreat. We had a whiteboard set up which was a nice prop that we could refer back to throughout the various discussions.

Stepping out the office together will prove invaluable for your business. There is so much to be said for immersing your team in a shared head space, which can only come through eliminating everyday distractions and routine. Everyone from large corporations to smaller startups such as ours can benefit from this kind of fresh perspective.