You and your team work hard all year, but even the most focused agents need some downtime and a change of pace sometimes. An often-overlooked tool to accomplish that is a well-planned team retreat.
Team retreats serve multiple purposes. They can be bonding experiences, bringing your team members together outside of their normal environments for fun, alternative activities. They can also be productive, serving as venues for out-of-the-box discussions for team improvement. Finally, they can be rejuvenating, with participants leaving the retreat with renewed motivation, new ideas and positive attitudes.
Follow these tips in order to plan and execute a successful team retreat:
The first goal of most retreats is to bring everyone together, so leaving a team member out—no matter how small their role within your team—runs counter to that goal. If you have a very large team and need to limit it to managers, or to members in individual offices, that’s fine, but try not to pick and choose between comparable peers unless you want to create some hurt feelings.
If your budget allows, get away from your office and your city. Go at least an hour away and stay overnight if possible. The more you can make this a special occasion and take your team members out of their normal routines, the greater the opportunity for new perspectives, attitudes and progress.
Hire a speaker.
Bring in an outside speaker to address your team, preferably someone with an interesting perspective. Motivational speakers or a real estate coach are good (you can request topics from me below), or you could consider some unusual but fun options like local historians, psychologists, politicians, authors or anyone else that will spark your team’s interest and imagination.
Get their feedback.
Somewhere in the middle of your retreat, reserve time for a roundtable discussion. This will give your team members an opportunity to voice any concerns that they have. Make it a point not to rebut or judge the comments; pay attention, empathize and then follow up directly with team members after the retreat to assure them that their input is appreciated.
Mixed in with coffee, meals and talks, be sure to have some fun! Try to have two or more activities that don’t have any business purpose at all. Activities include scavenger hunts; games like volleyball or putt-putt; painting or sculpture; karaoke; or anything else that is easy, fun and inclusive. Wrap up the final activity with some prizes and maybe a cookout or other meal to end the retreat on a high note.
Retreats are refreshing and enlightening both for team members and team leadership. Also, by scheduling one either before Thanksgiving or after the New Year, your team will be able use any new ideas as they form their business plans for 2021.