The Top 4 Reasons Your Team Needs an Annual Retreat

“Teams share the burden, and divide the grief.” – Doug Smith

We do a lot of work with teams and most of the time we are called in when a senior team is demonstrating some kind of dysfunction: conflict, poor business performance, a new change is not working, or a new leader is struggling. And, we do get asked to support teams who are highly functioning to help them build stronger bonds and align their purpose and business goals.”None of us is as smart as all of us.” – Ken Blanchard

As we head into the budget planning for next year, keep in mind how beneficial an annual team retreat can be for any team–those who are struggling or those who are thriving. In our opinion, it doesn’t have to include outside facilitation. It can have some elements of team-building included such as a dinner shared afterwards, or a service oriented approach like helping in a soup kitchen or painting a school. So let’s examine the 4 best reasons for a team to get together annually to improve team performance:

  1. Replay the team’s best wins and biggest opportunities from the past year. Reviewing the track record of wins helps the team get credit for what worked and taking stock of mistakes helps the team learn what to do differently in the future. This exercise works best when teams are willling to truly assess the team’s performance with accountability and a learning mindset.
  2. Re-energize for focus to build excitement and camraderie for the team. Today’s teams are so focused on results and execution (both very important) that they can miss the value in simply getting everyone together to share the priorities for next year in a team setting. 
  3. Re-commit to the team’s vision/business goals/alignment. Teams have to know their purpose and vision, and today’s dynamic corporate environments create the need to revisit these in order to make sure team members are aligned and the vision is still right for the anticipated year ahead. 
  4. Re-connect with each other. Teams need time to build better relationships which helps repair conflicts and improve team unity. It’s no secret that 60-80% of all conflict in an organization is not from absence of skill set, but rather from a lack of relationship with team members. (Daniel Dana, “Managing Differences: How to Build Better Relationships at Work and Home”)

Investing in your team is a smart thing to do. It doesn’t have to be long, a half day is perfect. Including a team profile or assessment is also a good idea (we like DiSC, Strength Finders or MBTI) and most people love learning something new about how they prefer to work or engage with others. Feel free to share your best annual retreat story and the impact it had on your team.”Good teams incorporate teamwork in their culture creating the building blocks for success.” – Ted Sunduist