Famed scientist and philosopher, Charles Darwin posited one of the most profound submissions that have come to shape the understanding of evolution, not just about the animal kingdom but of general application in life, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” He gives perspective on why the ability to change is the new definition of strength.
One thing we can all agree is that normal as we know it, no longer exists.
These times require businesses to think on their feet and make strategic decisions in real time. It is not just the First Mover Advantage, accelerated changes have seen the corporate world put higher premium on the Early Adapter Advantage. The latter is simply a Darwin-esque parallel which suggests that survival in the business world is increasingly shifting from merely being the early bird to being the savvy bird.
Having a war chest is no longer a fail-proof, knowing how to switch things up might be the key. Thus, a leadership retreat is not just a tick box activity – one of these things that corporations do at the end of their year. It is now a requirement for survival, a veritable opportunity to take a pause from the fast-paced world of business, to reflect and re-strategize.
Here are four strategic reasons you should consider having an effective leadership retreat.
A. It’s An Effective Mirror
The first thing about a leadership retreat isn’t to trade blames but to take responsibility. Many organizations are quick to audit their finances without auditing their people, processes, products and markets. A retreat provides an atmosphere for a team to determine with data and other cogent parameters how much its own actions or inactions were a causality to achieved outcomes. Growth requires interrogation of the things that were done right or wrong because if more money is thrown into a business without identifying the underlying factors that mitigate growth, the problems might end up being amplified. It’s at a retreat, away from the tense environment of a cut-throat marketplace that pointed questions can be asked. Culture eats strategy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – sometimes how a company executes an idea is more important than the idea itself.
For example, a fintech company can have the best app in the ecosystem but users could have terrible customer experiences when requesting to correct glitches encountered. Modern marketing suggests that organizations must use holistic strategies for their products and service. Simply put, the utility of a product or service is not fully appropriated until the final customer is satisfied. Organizations are so-called because they work as a system, retreats help consolidate the parts (personnel or departments) that are in alignment with the original vision and tweak those that are out of sync. This internal stakeholder management is one the main thrust of corporate retreats.
B. It Can Be Used Redefine Markets
It Can After interrogating internal stakeholders, organizations then can look at its external stakeholders. These are the exogenous factors that have affected the outcomes of an organization in the last financial year. Ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, submitted that, “no man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” He effectively alludes to the fact that all things are constantly in motion, a state of flux. The river in Heraclitus’ anecdote is a metaphor for the dynamic nature of markets in the business world. The variables are constantly changing, such as government policies, access to investment, consumer tastes, prices or availability of substitutes or rival products, etc. All these constitute the operating environment for businesses and the derived information determines how such businesses engage the market or if it pulls out of certain segments and reassign resources on others. A leadership retreat affords the luxury of a 360-degree perspective on the state of play.
C.It Is Used to Humanize Team Members
It is very easy to see staff in an organization as commodity; pawns that are only as useful as the work they contribute to the overarching vision. However, organizations with great leaders know that the m ost important part of human resource is the human. A corporate retreat is a great opportunity to give deserving team members their flowers. Typically, not many people gain notoriety in workplaces even when they are critical to the collective success simply owing to how skewed or centralized the leadership hierarchy is. The Pygmalion Effect comes into play when people tend to perform up to the level expected of them. It would be difficult for someone who was publicly celebrated or recognized at a corporate retreat to significantly drop the ball because such gesture subconsciously communicates to them that they are instrumental to the team and to whom much is given, much is expected. One of the innate human needs according to Abraham Maslow is esteem which is usually boosted by recognition and respect. Many people have left higher-paying jobs to join SMEs and start-ups simply because they feel better appreciated. The amazing thing is that this doesn’t always involve huge financial costs, a plaque or name-drop by top management during a corporate retreat can endear staff members more towards an organization.
D. It Helps To Synergize The Organisation
Especially for large organizations, there is usually a high tendency for departments to work in silos because they are mostly competing with one another instead of complementing one another. Many people in an organization have never really congregated at the same place at the same time and may find themselves guilty of causing friendly fires because a proper company-wide debriefing hasn’t happened. Unfortunately, such hostility towards other team members hardly bodes well for any organization. Thus corporate retreats help drive home the perspective that whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts. This means that one person’s or department’s input is effectively another’s output and vice versa. Retreats are also a great time to resolved perceived issues between parties in a relatively non-judgemental environment.
About Dr. Abiola Salami
Dr. Abiola Salami is the Convener of Dr Abiola Salami International Leadership Bootcamp,The Peak Performer Recognition,The Peak Performing Woman of The Year and Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of The Peak PerformerTM. He is the Principal Performance Strategist at CHAMP – a full scale professional services firm trusted by high performing business leaders for providing Executive Coaching, Workforce Development & Advisory Services to improve performance. You can reach him on email@example.com and connect with him @abiolachamp on all social media platforms.