We did it again – dropped everything and held another company retreat. Wrapped up in the rush of everyday projects, it’s sometimes hard to imagine actually taking a break, but it’s always worth it. Like a vacation, it’s a great opportunity to leave the usual routine behind. But rather than getting away from it all, a retreat is all about getting away to it all. It’s a chance to kick back, consider challenges, and celebrate successes from a refreshing distance, and gain an entirely new perspective in the process.
Whether it’s a “white board” session or a hike in the hills, good ideas get tossed around, priorities get sifted through, goals get set, and clarity sets in. And it’s not all about work. We also appreciate the team-building power of sharing great food and drink, and letting imaginations run wild.
Writer/speaker Sophia Dembling summed it up nicely with her “5 Reasons to Retreat” in a recent article for Entrepreneur magazine. I’d come up with five reasons of my own, but I’ve just returned from a company retreat, and I’ve got a ton of stuff to do…
5 Reasons to Retreat
by Sophia Dembling
1) You need perspective to keep your business moving forward. “Retreats can be a fabulous way for entrepreneurs to pop the bubble they may find themselves in,” says Beth Buelow, founder of coaching company The Introvert Entrepreneur. “There’s a safety in the busy-ness that comes from putting your head down and throwing yourself into the day-to-day responsibilities of running a business. But that safety can lead to stagnation.”
2) Sitting and thinking is work, even if it looks like goofing off. “There is value in learning and absorbing, but in the past, I did that only in my spare time,” says Blue Buddha Boutique’s Rebeca Mojica. “I thought, That’s not real work. But it is real work, and it’s the kind of work that only I, as the leader of the company, can do. I’m the one who has the whole picture.”
3) You can connect with professionals with a range of skills. Kyle Kesterson, founder and CEO of Seattle-based animation startup Freak’n Genius, attended a Global Shapers retreat that included people from the worlds of technology, media, sports, engineering and the arts. In one session, participants listed their areas of expertise and discussed what they could do to help the others. “With such a high-performing group, it took up a whole board,” he says.
4) You don’t know what you don’t know–and sometimes you need other people to help you see things differently. “You can look at what other entrepreneurs are doing and ask how does this happen, and they can hit you over the head with the most obvious thing,” says Denise Blasevick of The S3 Agency. She hired an account manager after attending a personnel investment session at a retreat.
5) It’s an investment in your business. “Generally the money isn’t that big a deal unless you’re doing something really outrageous,” Blasevick says. “The cost is not doing it, in my book. The right retreat should facilitate experience sharing, resulting in new thinking.”