Off-site Retreats for Startups

The Retreat Center at the St. Methodios Camp a...

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Every year for my EO forum we do an off-site retreat out of town. Every quarter for my company we spend one day off-site doing a planning session. There’s tremendous value getting together outside the normal confines of an office and spending time to reflect on progress made as well as to plan the future. Retreats are a great way to do this.

Here are a few tips when thinking about an off-site retreat in a startup:

  • If you can afford it, hire a professional retreat facilitator and go to a nice place (it’s hard to take people away from their families for a period of time so splurging on a good place makes it more worth it)
  • Make sure and schedule plenty of structured time to go along with hang-out time (EO forums that don’t have a retreat facilitator typically don’t schedule enough structured time with programs and exercises)
  • Start with a simpler mini-retreat where you go away for a day with no overnight component before doing a multi-day retreat
  • Require homework in advance of the retreat so that people involved come to the event prepared with thoughts

I didn’t appreciate the value of an off-site retreat until I had the chance to experience one facilitated by a professional at an amazing location in the mountains. Now, I’m sold on the value.

What else? Have you done an off-site retreat and what are your tips?

6 thoughts on “Off-site Retreats for Startups

    • Great questions. I’m a fan of doing off-sites at a big cabin in the mountains. I find the air, surroundings, and views inspiring. Also, there are usually good team bonding activities like white water rafting, skeet shooting, hikes, etc.

      The most amazing facilitator I’ve ever used is Ellie Byrd (http://www.forumsherpa.com/our-team.html). I can’t recommend her highly enough.

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