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The Team Retreat Experience

The Team Retreat Experience
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In this excerpt from The Shift from Me to Team, which will be published this year, we discuss the outcomes of the Culture Clarification process we use with clients for the team.

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By the end of the Culture Clarification retreat, we experience two outcomes. The first outcome is an idea: it’s a new “at our best” embodied in components of the clarified Core Identity and clarity about what their Peak Performance looks like and feels like.

The other outcome is a collection of tangible feelings based on the stories of the organization at its best from the retreat experience. For many, engagement changes as the retreat demonstrates the leader as a listener. By listening to team members tell stories, share feelings, take risks, and overcome vulnerability, the leader demonstrates and models:

  • Respect
  • Trust
  • Curiosity

Team members come to see the leader as someone who values their stories, feelings, and ideas and respects their collective ability to make decisions that will shape the organization’s future. They see themselves as capable and responsible, and they believe their contributions to decision-making are valued. They feel the responsibility for speaking up, even in situations when previously they may have been hesitant. The result is a sense of security in sharing thoughts and opinions. They feel the Shift from Me to Team as decision-making has been transferred from individual responsibility to collective responsibility. They feel that growth and change are possible. They are energized that this is the organization’s better way of being.

Collectively, those feelings may be described as hope—hope that the organization’s Shift from Me to Team will continue.

How does a leader honor and respect that hope?

As a leader, doing your part in helping align the organization to its Core Identity will build the Trust, Respect, and Caring the team has for you. It means you will realize the responsibility of leadership to fulfill your role to ensure the journey to unleashing organizational greatness continues.

Letting hope die will erode trust and can be devastating to your organization. We warn leaders, “Do not undertake this Culture Clarification process unless you are committed to following through to honor what your team creates. Your team has hopes they can become something special. This exercise expresses that they can be special. Not executing to honor your clarified Core Identity tells your team, ‘We do not care about being exceptional, nor do we desire to seek Peak Performance.’ Soon, your “A” players will leave for a more fertile garden.”

What happens after the retreat is up to leadership.

In The Shift from Me to Team, we also discuss Reinforcing Systems that will help honor the standard the team has set. Reinforcing Systems enable new, more purposeful habits to be created. They deepen the understanding of the Core Identity, clarify the boundaries of the Guiding Principles, and ensure that the energizing journey toward the organization’s Vision is sustainable.