3 Rules We Used In Our Own Planning Retreat

With the eminent whirl-wind of the holidays and New Year approaching, our team is not immune to the pressure of strategic planning for the upcoming year. 2015 is only weeks away and we’re in the same boat as our clients – it’s strategic planning season.

So, we drank our own Kool-Aid.

With team members scattered throughout the Globe, we flew everyone in for a two-day planning retreat in Lake Tahoe, CA – the OnStrategy team’s home away from home.

Play, with Some Work


We set an agenda for the two-day retreat with a set of expected outcomes. That being said, we set aside some time to just be a team. We picked Tahoe because our team generally loves to be outside (we’re bikers, hikers, climbers, and general outdoorsy people). We cooked together. We went hiking together. We hung out. We even had the opportunity to heave full-sized marshmallows at each other.

Obviously, it wasn’t all fun and games. We did some serious planning, too. Because of the atmosphere we created, our planning session brought out some pretty stellar ideas and actions to pursue in 2015, reminding us that reinvigorating culture inspires better thinking.

So in summary, here are three rules we used for our own retreat:

  1. Pick a place that’s relevant. As mentioned above, we choose a place that’s relevant to our team beyond the walls of our office. We like Tahoe for its hiking, biking, and fresh air.
  2. Have a loose agenda. We showed up with an agenda with items we wanted to accomplish, but were ok if we wanted to make changes to our schedule. If the team felt the need to move around the agenda based on how we were feeling, we did. Obviously we kept things moving, but we weren’t resistant to changes.
  3. It’s ok to be human. In the day-to-day grind, we have a tendency to forget that we work with people, not robots. Spend some time getting to know each other. We went went to the beach, cooked our meals together, and cracked open a couple bottles of wine at the end of the day. It was refreshing to just “be” together as a team.

The big takeaway from this retreat? We have a set of good, strategic priorities as we roll into 2015. Plus, we’re reminded that we have a pretty awesome team; a definite win-win.



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