Retreat Facilitation

MORRIS ASSOCIATES INC. partners with you to design unique retreats and off-site meetings which are focused, productive and cost-effective. Emphasizing teambuilding and improved communications, we develop and facilitate all of our events using this three-phase process:

PRE-EVENT:

Preparation and Assessment
  • Listen to organizational leaders to understand your corporate culture, the current situation and desired outcomes for your retreat.
  • Design achievable objectives and a comprehensive agenda to address those needs and outcomes.
  • Get preliminary feedback from you and others on your team to ensure that participants won’t be spending costly time defining issues; this means that your retreat will focus on producing results, building teamwork and making commitments and plans to continue taking action post-event.

EVENT:

Execution and Facilitation
  • Facilitate retreat so participants can concentrate on achieving goals and solving problems.
  • Foster an interactive environment in which participants openly discuss issues and work on collaborative solutions; this means that everyone can move ahead together while simultaneously increasing trust, communication and cooperation among the group.
  • Emphasize, capture and document key ideas and priorities so we can create a useful post-event report.

POST-EVENT:

Report and Follow-Up
  • Organize all documented proceedings and decisions reached at your retreat in a comprehensive, organized and edited report.
  • E-mail your retreat report and results to a designated contact for distribution to participants.
  • Schedule and lead a post-event debrief with key managers to review event results, develop follow-up communications and prioritize action plans; this ensures that the important ideas, solutions and commitments generated during your retreat don’t get lost in the swarm of work that usually awaits participants when they return back to the office.

Event Examples

MORRIS ASSOCIATES INC. has worked with corporate and organization leaders to design and facilitate retreats and off-sites for as few as five people to more than 200. Every event is unique and includes the three-phrase process outlined above. Here are some examples:

BIOSCIENCE:

Recruiting & Planning for Startup
  • Assisted and supported this fast-growing bioscience R&D firm to identify and outline solutions to emerging issues. Provided training in effective recruiting and retention strategies since a rapid build-up in staff was anticipated. Worked with corporate executives to present and discuss the firm’s vision and the rapidly changing dynamics of the firm’s competitive market, then led interactive workgroups to plan for coming changes.

BUSINESS STRATEGY:

Needs Assessment
  • Conducted a 2-day retreat for the 25-person practice group of an international business consulting firm. Guided the group to analyze and develop a matrix of training needs and areas of expertise for each member. Assisted the group to develop a newcomer’s orientation and training plan, brainstormed ideas to increase needed administrative support and outlined roles and responsibilities for key members so they could self-manage.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT:

Project Planning
  • Facilitated a training and planning conference for 210 minority veteran affairs coordinators from across the country. Over a 2-day period, guided a series of small group work sessions in which cross-functional teams outlined plans for local health and benefit fairs for veterans. Also facilitated extensive inter-group discussion about ways to get local organizations and individuals to volunteer and support their efforts.

HEALTHCARE:

Management Coaching & IT System Preparation
  • Administered a comprehensive organizational development survey for the 30-person business operations division of a national medical center. Next, conducted individual coaching sessions with each member of the staff and management team. Then facilitated a ½-day on-site retreat for the whole department to brainstorm and prioritize a to-do list in preparation for the introduction of a new, enterprise-wide IT system.

LAW:

Cross-Practice Business Development
  • The firm’s goal was to move away from operating in practice “silos” to a more cross-practice mindset that would result in cross-promotion and business development among divisions. We met individually with representatives of each practice division to draft a ½-page summary of their division’s practice, typical assignments, and key words or phrases that clients might use to indicate a need for that division’s services. At the firm’s annual off-site meeting we moderated individual division presentations and whole group Q&A and discussion among the 50 partners and attorneys. The firm subsequently reported significant increase in cross-practice business development.

MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY:

Team Building and Strategic Plan Creation
  • Organized a highly interactive retreat for the five senior directors of a dynamically growing medical technology organization. Facilitated the group’s goals of learning more about each other and working more effectively as a team. Also created a comprehensive, 15-page report which summarized the resulting ideas and strategies, focusing on revising the firm’s 5-year strategic planning document. The group said the report was “so good, we’re sending it to our Board of Directors – as is – to be the subject for discussion at their upcoming meeting.”

TELECOMMUNICATIONS:

Team Building, Trust, Communication, Cooperation
  • Developed and coordinated a 1-day retreat for nine senior executives from a national telecommunications association. Addressed the issues of inter-office trust, communication and cooperation. Facilitated group discussions and brainstormed short- and long-term action steps aimed at improving communications and cooperation. Also highlighted key action steps the group agreed to implement immediately. Subsequently, we were asked to develop and facilitate an off-site retreat for all legal department staff.

TRANSPORTATION:

Building and Managing Corporate Culture
  • Worked with management of a large air transportation organization to create a new approach to communicating and making operational the organization’s Mission, Vision and Values statements. We developed and facilitated an initial 3-day off-site for newly hired managers and supervisors. Working together, we developed and presented this operational concept of corporate culture:
Corporate Culture Triangle
  • We then brainstormed and listed specific ways management could incorporate the Mission, Vision and Values into plans, job descriptions, training and development so that employee performance translated these theories into reality. This first off-site was so effective that the organization expanded it to a series enthusiastically attended by all the organization’s managers and supervisors.

To learn more about MORRIS ASSOCIATES INC. retreat facilitation services, please contact us.