Yes, really – your staff retreat! Friends, today I’m talking to you about why starting to think about this (hopefully annual) gathering for your business is so important.

Yes, in the midst of COVID-19.

Yes, while planning for re-opening your doors.

Yes, while evaluating the situation your business is in, and pivoting to new avenues for success.

And yes, I hear you saying “why?!”

Friends, it’s because your staff retreat is a necessary part of running a successful business. In terms of how to improve communication with a team, how to build trust at work, how to ensure that everyone is motivated, engaged, and working together – a staff retreat is among the best and most proven ways to energize and unify your team.

But yes – then there’s this pandemic to consider! So today, I’m going to talk about staff retreats from two perspectives – one, why I think you absolutely need to have one in 2020, and two, some practical tips to consider for making that happen in the era of Zoom meetings, social distancing, stay-at-home orders, and general uncertainty.  I’ve got some tips for your retreat planning team to consider so that your company is protected from loss if you have to pivot your retreat at the last minute.

Check out the video below for my thoughts!

After you’ve checked out the video, won’t you share it with a friend?

You can make a real difference for someone else when you share your story. So don’t be shy about leaving a comment. Every little bit of wisdom helps!

And finally – because after all, it IS what I do – if I can be of assistance as you plan your retreat, please, friends, let me know! I offer speaking and team training as well as strategic planning and am happy to work with you to customize a workshop for YOUR team.

Read the full transcript:

Hey there friend it’s Stefanie Krievins, founder of the Pro Troublemaker Nation where I share tips and encouragement, so you can fix your hot messes. And friends I’m recording this at the end of May 2020. We’re still in the middle of the ultimate hot mess COVID-19. Thus, this really cool hat from Mexico City that’s on my head, ’cause I haven’t had a haircut in a really long time. And that’s cool I’m living in solidarity with my hairdresser, but such is life and I know many of you are rocking the hat too. Here’s what we’re gonna talk about today my friends. We’re gonna talk about the team retreat that you need to have, that you must have, and is needed now more than ever in 2020. I know many of you do either a summer retreat or end of Q3 or beginning of Q4 retreat, in order to plan for the next year. Friends bring your team together, but let’s plan ahead even in the face of uncertainty of how you can have a successful retreat, regardless of whether or not this COVID-19 thing rears its ugly head again and we have another spike and you have to go back into quarantine. Because it’s so important to bring your team together now more than ever. And I wanna talk about this retreat from two perspectives. One is content, and what do you need to accomplish and two is a few logistics that I’ve been learning that I wanna share with you. So first content, when you’re looking for a facilitator and I want you to bring in an external facilitator. Someone who can help you shape that agenda to make it as productive as possible. To make sure that the planning remains at the right level, to make sure that you get the right things done so that you enter 2021 as strong as ever as a team and as a company and in the way that you serve your customers and clients. So bring in that external voice who can help you have just better conversations. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve facilitated a team retreat, or just a team conversation and the feedback that I get is, oh we’ve never had such a powerful or clear conversation because of the way you facilitated it. And it’s because the skills of a facilitator help other people notice when they’re talking too much, or how other people notice when they’re not talking enough and not providing input and feedback. So bring in that third party to add some neutrality to the conversation and be in an external third party perspective to what you’re trying to accomplish. And when you’re looking for that person make sure you find someone who is comfortable being both on a video call or Zoom, I’m a Zoom person so that’s the verb I use there, or they are comfortable presenting and facilitating in person. This tends to be two different skills and over the past several months many of us have built skills and both of those areas and particularly in Zoom, right. But make sure you have a facilitator who is great at both virtual and in-person and can flex between the two, no matter what happens in the future. Then let’s talk about logistics, right. So, you’ve got a task force putting together this event for your entire company. They’re not professional conference planners, that’s okay. Here’s a couple of things I wanna pass on to them that I’ve been learning. I’m lucky that my marketing person – I am her side hustle – and her main hustle’s in the events world so here’s what she told me to tell you. She said, make sure you’re doing box lunches those are safe. This buffet action is not going to happen when a global pandemic is on the loose. We need box lunches moving forward. Make sure you’re in a space that has double the capacity of the people that you have. So if you have 50 people in your company, you need a room for at least 100 so that there’s social distancing. You need to space out the chairs, you need to remove physical chairs so people don’t have the opportunity to gather. Make sure you rethink these facilitated exercises so that you can still get some intimacy and some connection and some brainstorming. But yet, people aren’t all jammed together around that one piece of flip chart paper like we tend to do, right. And then also think about as you’re scheduling this with your event space, what are the ways that you can get them out of the contract or avoid losing money if COVID-19 spikes again, right. So there might be a clause in the contract, there might be some kind of agreement you can set up, or even if you put down a deposit you can for that deposit to another time. Make sure there’s a way for you to protect yourself, protect your company so regardless of what happens with COVID-19 again, you’re not losing money on this. And that you can save those resources for when you can actually physically get your people together, or choose to physically get your people together virtually on that date instead and move the in-person to a future date. Friends, those are my tips for your planning retreat for 2020 to get us ready for 2021. Don’t forget, to celebrate what went well this year ’cause it’s not all doom and gloom. You will survive, I hope you will thrive. And make sure you capture those lessons learned from this global pandemic, this economic and health disaster that is spread across our globe. Those are my two biggest suggestions during this time. Celebrate what’s going right, capture lessons learned and you will be stronger because of it. All right friends, it’s time to get off the internet and be Pro Troublemaker who knows how to get the real shit done, and I’ll see you next time.

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