Last month, we started 2018 with a residential Partner Retreat. We (and our guests) liked it so much that we’re already planning the next one for May.
We know that some of our clients, colleagues and readers organise their own team retreats regularly, so we thought we’d share with you which ingredients helped us most to make it such a rewarding and inspiring experience.
1. A Beautiful Place
We know that space matters. We know it well enough to have a designated role that takes care of it. And yet, we were once again surprised to see how very much it matters.
Eibenhof, which hosted us for the five days of the Partner Retreat, was absolutely lovely. A cozy house on a family estate right by the lake, with our own fire place, a spacious country kitchen, various naptime spots and lovely walking routes right outside the door.
The Team at Structure & Process works from multiple locations. And while our online infrastructure (based on Slack and Trello) is great, from time to time we need to get together to figure things out in person, have some fun, and work on current projects in just one place. We call these gatherings Partner Meetings.
What are the defining characteristics of our Partner Meetings?
We have an AgileAgenda: Everyone can add items at any time, and we decide together in which order the items are processed.
The meeting has a facilitator. They are elected in the beginning and help the team to navigate through all agenda items.
There are scheduled unscheduled times during partner meetings: These allow space for personal exchange and fun together.
We work a lot. In those 2-4 days everybody focuses on Structure & Process work intensely, we dive into passionate collaboration.
During the meeting there is good food. Whether it is self-made or our favourite Asian food (when we meet in Düsseldorf), it is always delicious. We take ample time for lunch and other breaks.
Guests are invited. Besides the Team of Structure & Process, we usually have at least one guest at Partner Meetings: these can be external collaboration partners or candidates who are in the process of deciding whether to join us.
The Pile of Success collects all our processed agenda cards – a tangible symbol of our accomplishments in the meeting. We burn the pile ritually to celebrate our successful meeting at the end.
Here are some impressions of our last Partner Meeting in Düsseldorf in September.