Why your team building retreats are usually a waste of time

In the last five days, I have received several requests for proposals for team building facilitation at the management team retreat. Some have been

In the last five days, I have received several requests for proposals for team building facilitation at the management team retreat. Some have been requesting for motivational talks.

Around this time of the year, many leaders are planning for off-site strategic retreats and team building events.

When I receive some requests for proposals, I respond to the sender asking for two clarifications:

  1. Why do you need team building and motivational talk?
  2. What would you say is your #1 strategic challenge today?

Most procurement officers who send the requests for quotations often don’t answer the questions in which case, I don’t respond to their requests. Those who do, respond thus, respectively:

“Most staff lack a sense of urgency.

The staff are not motivated. They come to work looking so tired.

The executive team is divided. You call for a meeting people delay by over 20 minutes. Others enter the meeting room well past 30 – 40 minutes.

Staff complain of too much work. They say they are underpaid.”

The common response to question two:

“High operating costs, amid stagnating business. People are not concerned about revenue growth.”

The answers to the questions clearly show that the problem is not staff demotivation or lack of teamwork.

The company lacks clear focus that is well communicated to staff. A team building retreat cannot fix this problem. Rather a strategy reflection session would do.

What a strategy performance reflection session does:

Phase 1: before the retreat

Summit Consulting Ltd, will administer a survey to ALL staff for which the strategic performance reflection assignment is to be done to assess staff awareness of the strategic plan, focus or priority areas and their role in the journey. To see a sample survey we require all staff to complete, click here >>

After signing a non-disclosure agreement, we obtain data about you for analysis to understand your business fundamentals – revenue diversification, top products by contribution, profit margin, sales volume and supply efficiencies. We analyze your channel capabilities and revenue per customer. We look also at your current strategy achievements against the balanced scorecard indicators. Most of the time, we find the balanced scorecard implementation was done wrongly and we try to create clear performance indicators per balanced scorecard FLIC – financial focus, learning and growth, internal business focus and customer or stakeholder focus – for a comprehensive current strategy performance assessment. This helps us gain context.

We then examine your organisation’s current structure, and how it is aligned to implement the strategy. This gives us a clear reflection of the staff capabilities to drive growth in the priority areas and what needs to be done.

Also Read: The habits of star performers

We then review the MD’s memos and minutes at the EXCO meetings to examine what the top leaders spend most of their time. We then make a comprehensive report; which informs our strategic retreat presentation.

Phase 2: Strategic performance reflection retreat

At Summit Consulting Ltd we know that you cannot transform a company with a one to five-day staff retreat. Such effort wastes time and money. Transformation requires consistent effort done daily which becomes a habbit of excellence.

We make a presentation of our diagnostic findings to the team to bring them to reality of the blind spots their management and reporting systems may not show due to some biases that exists in management. The fact is however great a doctor may be, they cannot treat themselves.

However, brilliant a leadership team may be, it is difficult to identify appropriate strategic interventions to grow the business.

The outcomes of the strategic performance reflection process inform making choices about new focus areas for growth and identifying the capabilities that must be built to achieve the growth.

The process of selection is informed by facts. This is one of the funniest moments in the room. All the staff – leaders and their managers, ask questions. Disagree. Reiterate. Brainstorm. Make presentations. Support their arguments with passionate appeals to get their points across. As a strategic facilitator, I get satisfaction – seeing top leaders working closely with their middle managers to reach a consensus on the next growth agenda is the best.

That is what staff motivation is all about. That is what teamwork is all about. Giving a platform for the top and middle managers and selected strategy champions to be on the strategy table to reflect on performance and using those facts agree on the new imperatives for growth.

Why waste money?

Don’t waste your money in ‘motivational talks’ and ‘team building’ activities which should be events for end of year party NOT strategic retreats!

Trying to ‘build a teams of staff who don’t know what to do is trying to get confused people work together. The chances of making them work closely on wrong things is to high and that could increase your operational inefficiencies and cost to income ratio growth which makes you worsen faster.

It is like paying more money to demotivated employee. You will get a demotivated employee being paid highly.

So, planning a strategic retreat?

Don’t waste your money. Visit mustaphabm3.sg-host.com and invite Mustapha B Mugisa, Mr Strategy. He will change the way you think about business interventions for the better.

For a change, invite Mustapha as your strategy partner and you will be transformed. You need an expert who understands the industry you operate it. Knows technology. Has interacted with many global leaders facing similar challenges like yours.

If you are looking for an organic strategy and NOT a research paper, Mustapha is your guy. Stop making abstract SWOT, PESTLED etc analysis that have no relevance to your business and using Mustapha’s #Winning The Game 4-Steps Planning Model” and transform your business and thinking too.


Copyright 2019 Mustapha B Mugisa. All rights reserved.


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