Co-working retreats, team retreats, teambuilding excursions or the artificial term workation all describe trips organized for teams. The goal can be to bring teams closer together, find creative solutions to problems, increase productivity or to give a kick start to new developments.
Is the project team really convinced that what they are doing is really important to the company? With an unmistakable and motivating gesture, you can easily convince your team how serious they are.
Of course, employees in a company spend most of the year mastering day-to-day business, acquiring customers and making sure promises are kept. But from time to time it makes sense to take a step back and change perspectives. A retreat is about creating the space for it.
It's about creating a space where people can really get closer to each other on a deeper level, where colleagues become friends. It's not about staging an event after which people spent a lot of time in the same place but didn't really get to grips with each other.
Time outside the usual premises, off the usual paths and the desk helps to be more receptive to new thoughts. This does not happen incidentally, it is work for which energy must be available.
Often the composition of the team results from the colleagues who are available. It may be necessary to call in external specialists who have special know-how for the individual requirements of the project. Different personalities come together. When these people meet each other under the influence of day-to-day business, they often do not establish a well-founded relationship with each other and there is no deep sense of togetherness.
However, a well-founded relationship is important to have trust and to enable an undisturbed exchange of ideas, which is free of fears and conflicts. The undisturbed exchange of ideas enables new impulses, ways and ideas. As the person responsible for the project, you want them all to develop freely, because only in this way can each individual make his or her best possible contribution to the overall result.
People tend to consider other people as sympathetic and intelligent as they are able to understand them and follow their thoughts. If you put together a colourful group of experts from different fields with correspondingly different personalities, the distance between the different approaches, characters and ways of thinking is correspondingly large. In order to overcome this distance each individual must invest energy to make his thoughts comprehensible for everyone and to understand those of the other. This energy must be released.
Project work is often hindered by day-to-day business. The members of a project team are constantly interrupted in their work on important tasks with a promising future by calls, e-mails or colleagues who have "only a small question". This happens among other things because the important tasks with a promising future are often not very urgent. It is not about extinguishing an acute fire, it is rather about avoiding future fires. Therefore the current fires are given a higher priority in the short term. After every interruption you need time again to focus your thoughts on the actual project. However, these forward-looking projects require full attention in order to take decisive steps forward. This prevents us from pursuing long-term goals and proceeding systematically.
A project is a unique undertaking that requires a specific organisation. There is no blueprint to fall back on. A team is to be formed, a union of several persons, to solve a certain challenge. So one gathers the best available heads and wants them to cooperate to work out the best possible solution for the project. It is good if the team collects and focuses before the start of new adventures in order to be able to work goal-oriented afterwards.
In order to really find new paths, you have to fully concentrate on the search for them. You have to have the mental energy to get involved. In the stress of daily business this is rarely possible, you have to manage the limited energy well. The battery can't be more than 100 percent full, so it can't give off more energy. You have to clear mental and time resources to be able to focus on the one most important thing.
- Take your time to formulate your goals correctly, think about what you want to achieve in the end. As Albert Einstein said: "Use 55 minutes to define a problem and then 5 minutes to solve it".
- Select a few participants. The group should be large enough to allow a stimulating exchange. But it should also be small enough for everyone to actively participate and freely generate ideas.
- Change the environment: Meet in a different place and at a different time than your usual meetings. The more the brainstorming differs from the normal sessions, the easier it becomes to put the judgement behind.
- Create an informal atmosphere: What do you and the other participants need to be relaxed? You could meet for drinks, meet at a nice holiday resort, wear casual clothes or call each other by their first names.
- Choose a moderator: Someone has to take over the moderation, make sure that everyone can get involved and that the rules are observed. Stimulate the discussion with questions and bring the round back to the topic again and again.
A new environment brings new thoughts. Everyone has to leave the office where they have furnished themselves so comfortably behind their desk. So everyone is forced to take new paths. The members of the project team are away from the influences of everyday life in an inspiring environment. They get to know each other better and spend a lot of time together away from the familiar offices. Roles can be broken up and redefined. Even if this does not happen directly during the stay, the stay can provide the decisive impetus.
Here is not much explenation needed :-) After an intensive work phases, there should be enough time to switch off from everyday life and discover new things apart from working life, meat new people, relax at the pool, discouver new food or get ne thoughts.