So, you want to take your management team off site and work on building cohesion? After having conducted management team retreats for over 9 years, I have learned a few things. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Identify your objectives. If you want maximum focus from your management team off site, get clear on what outcomes you want to achieve. Also identify what challenges will stop the team from achieving the expected results and what will be different when those challenges are overcome.
2. Don't over-stuff the agenda. The tendency is to think that MORE is BETTER. But, in most cases this is absolutely wrong. Stay focused on the important things, and allow time in the agenda for constructive debate and discussion.
3. Get the elephant in the room on the table - early! If you aren't willing to deal with the difficult issues, then don't waste your time conducting the management team retreat to begin with. Nothing will change if the elephant in the room isn't dealt with head on.
4. Clearly identify what you will do to follow-up. Most management teams have good intentions, and retreats get people "pumped-up." But the reality is that when you get back into the office, reality hits hard and the natural tendency is to revert back to the way things were. Put a plan in place to hold each other accountable.