In these tumultuous economic times, are partner retreats really necessary? You betcha. Especially now, more than ever, members of firms need to come together to re-evaluate and realign their goals and objectives, as this will carry them forward and emerge unscathed.
A retreat can be four days or one day. The outcome is the same – come together as a team and discuss all the things you really never have the opportunity to talk about because everyday work gets in the way.
Establish a clear purpose for the retreat. This will aid everyone to be on the same page, ie: strategic goals to bring the firm closer to its vision and mission.
Ensure that the leader of the retreat is fully involved and is prepared to follow up after the fact. This is key to getting results, and not allowing things to fall by the wayside. Be honest, and talk openly about the need for accountability and commitment to the tasks and assignments that have been identified in the retreat.
Preparing and following an agenda will help keep the focus on the tasks at hand, and assist in the retreat flowing smoothly.
Setting and managing expectations of what the retreat will entail is very helpful, especially to newcomers who don’t know what to expect. Give them an outline of how the day is expected to run. People like to have an idea of what they are supposed to be doing.
The brainstorming that comes out of these sessions is amazing. Part of the retreat can focus on what needs to be done, and the other part on how to get it done. Partners and managers, as well as marketing and HR professionals, can give reports on what they hope to accomplish and implement for the firm in the coming year.
Retreats are also a great team building exercise. With the hustle and bustle of the day, you may not have an opportunity to speak to a colleague other than the obligatory “hi” in the hallway. Being together on a retreat enables you to experience your colleagues in a more relaxed, neutral atmosphere.
I’d love to hear some of your retreat experiences.