When you are trying to find innovative ways to motivate your team and get them to work towards your goals for the company, you might find the answer in the most unexpected place!
My suggestion: A Vision Staff Retreat!
What is a Vision Staff Retreat? It is a longer than usual staff meeting where everyone is invited to listen to a presentation by the Leader and where they get the opportunity to discuss. This type of meeting can be held at the office or outside (hotel/restaurant or other) and is usually a day long. A Vision Staff Retreat is meant to allow the Leader to present the objectives for the team and discuss how this will be accomplished. The outcome of the meeting will ultimately help the Leader guide the team throughout the year, evaluate progress and adjust as needed.
Here are my how to suggestions:
- Plan and prepare your Vision Staff Retreat ahead of time.
Invite your staff at least 2 weeks in advance to make sure everyone is present.
Allow them to be prepared mentally by giving them an agenda a week ahead.
- Welcome your staff in an inviting environment where discussion is encouraged.
- Offer breakfast/coffee while you present your goals for the day and for the year to your staff. Your goals should be categorized, you should have clear guidelines and time-lines to explain what your new direction is.
- Open discussion: Where do your staff members see themselves in this new direction? How will they actively participate? What will be their individual goals? How will each team member complement the work of the other, to reach the overall objectives?
- Have a working lunch where discussions are continued.
- After lunch, distribute boards, industry magazines, cissors and glue and have computer and printer available to invite everyone to create a Vision Board for their office/workstation.
The leader creates the overall Team Vision Board.
- Everyone presents their Board and their individual goals.
- The Team Vision Board is presented by the Leader.
The Vision Staff Retreat allows your staff to get-together in an non-threatening setting, away from the stressful routine they may be used to. It also allows you, the Leader, to take a step back and let your staff know what you want from them as a group and as individuals. This may otherwise not be easy in your day to day activities. The Retreat is everyone’s opportunity to express their views on your position and to identify how each of them will participate in achieving this goal. Including your staff in your new direction makes them feel part of the team and comfortable enough to let you know when they have a concern, to put all their efforts into the work at hand for the team and to clearly see you as The Team Leader.
Creating the Vision Boards adds a different dimension to the exercise. It further relaxes everyone, it brings down all guards, allows staff members to unwind while they’re cutting and pasting, they chit chat while they’re looking for images and they discuss issues that may not have come up during the more formal discussions. This is a time to share thoughts and to talk frankly. This is the time where the Leader can dig further into finding what will create the right dynamics for his team; what are the strengths, what are the weaknesses of each staff member? What will motivate them throughout the year?
Vision Boards may be presented at the end of the retreat by each staff member, if you feel they are all comfortable to do so. I highly recommend it because it gives everyone a sense of the team, how each member will contribute to make the Team Leader’s objectives a success. Each staff member should be proud of the Vision Board they have created and of the goals they have set for themselves. Presenting these will also make them accountable in some way… In addition to the fact that these individual goals may now be used for evaluations (and appropriate compensation), each staff member is “obliged” to perform because they promised they would strive for the goal in front of all the others!! All the elements are in for great Team Dynamics!
If you are a Team Leader looking for a new way to achieve your team goals, try something totally different this year: Try the Vision Staff Retreat!