1. an act of moving back or withdrawing.
  2. to go to a quiet safe place in order to avoid a difficult situation.

These days so many different kinds of retreats are being offered, from greater wellness of body and mind to religious retreats and business retreats. It is interesting to speculate whether they’re simply a way of avoiding difficult situations; but our experience of running retreats they should be much more about a move in a positive direction, inspiration and renewal not avoidance.

They offer a time to step back, to think, plan and to refocus away from all the pressures of everyday life. When we first started running them, we wondered if the opportunity of space and time would simply lead to participants going back to their emails. But quite the opposite.

It helped that we were in beautiful countryside with opportunities to walk, run, cycle or take advantage of the spa and swimming facilities, even in the dead of winter…all to aid reflection about themselves, their businesses and their leadership.

It may also have concentrated the mind that the following day they were due to present their plan and priorities for the next year so there was certainly some expectation. We wondered if there would be a chorus of ‘You mean you’ve dragged us away from our business for this? Complete waste of time!’ but not a bit of it. That time and space was so valued that in subsequent retreats, CEOs who have got used to that space protest loudly if that open time is structured.

In our experience what makes for a good retreat is:

  • A framework that rests on a calm, reflective safe space
  • Activities and input to stimulate thinking both at a business and personal level
  • Participants committed to using it well
  • Honesty about what is really going on
  • Making the most of the group of people who are there, who in an environment of confidentiality will offer feedback, support and challenge
  • Useful, actionable results.

What if you had the opportunity for this kind or retreat?


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