Welcome to Digital Homesteading.
This collection of resources from 9 Clouds helps you build your business and community.
At the end of October, our entire team loaded into cars for two days in Omaha. We ate great food, visited our spirit animals at the zoo and put our heads together to discuss company goals and direction. This is the second year we’ve done a team retreat and as CEO, I find it’s a vital part of our business. Here’s why you should schedule a company retreat.
Although we already have a very collaborative and open work environment at 9 Clouds, the retreat is a time for us to get to know each other outside of work. We each have roles at the company and often work with the same team members on a day-to-day basis. The retreat provides an opportunity for us to spend time together and get to know things that may not come out on a day-to-day basis, like how (Sarah) Schock (we have three Sara/hs at 9 Clouds so we go by our last names) doesn’t like green things but does eat asparagus; a bold exception to her “no green things” rule :).
Another great outcome of the retreat relates to the fact that honestly, we don’t always like each other every minute of every day. I know…shocking! We are passionate people who are passionate about doing good work we’re proud of, and sometimes that means we butt heads in the office. Having fun and socializing at the retreat gave us an opportunity to connect as people and remove the stress of day-to-day work, and to continue to develop our relationships and remind ourselves why we like to come to work with this awesome team every day.
When people ask me what I like most about my job, I often say, “The people I get to work with every day.” I’m not just saying that. I really enjoy spending my work days with our team and I want them to know that.
We couldn’t do what we do without everyone on the team and we need to make sure everyone knows that and feels appreciated. The retreat is a great way to express that appreciation. No one bought food or paid any entry fees while we were in Omaha. It was all on 9 Clouds. It’s the least we can do to show the team we care and appreciate that they choose to give us their creative juices and professional time on a daily basis.
If you want the Scrooge McDuck reason you should show appreciation to your employees, retention is critical. It not only makes the business run more smoothly but there is a lot of data out there about how much employee turnover really costs.
Even though I appreciate my team every hour of every day, I am not always good about expressing that appreciation. Our retreat was a way for me to make sure my team knows they matter.
We are selective about who is on the bus at 9 Clouds and we try to hire people who are smarter than us. With that in mind, we used Friday morning of our retreat to get feedback and opinions on the current state and future of 9 Clouds. We had a fantastic moderator, Scott Anderson, who came in and made everyone feel comfortable during our discussion.
As a leader, you need to be ready for the good, the bad and the ugly. If you truly want your company to grow with the people in the room, they need to feel invested in the future. One of our team members said after the retreat that it was “great to feel a part of the company, not just a tool.” We gave the team members the unconditional freedom to share their views on the business during our roundtable discussion.
Coming out of the discussion, we had five main initiatives to focus on through the end of this year and in 2016. We all agreed on them, expressed our opinions on them and came to consensus. We’re all moving in the same direction and understand the path we’re all on. We were able to achieve this in just a little over two hours during our retreat.
Do Better Work for Your Customers
Last but certainly not least, coming out of the retreat, we are doing better work for our customers. Our passion for inbound digital marketing was stoked. Getting away from our work for a little while helped us develop great ideas for how we can make our work the best it can be. Several of our recent conversations have been more focused on strategy and we are all excited about the work we’re doing on a daily basis because of our retreat.
This post provided reasons why you should schedule a company retreat. There is one reason you should not schedule a company retreat, and that is if you are not going to follow-through. We had a ton of great initiatives that were important to the team and our company coming out of the retreat and we all have action items to make sure they get accomplished. As the leader of your business, if you are not willing to bring the initiatives to fruition, do not have a company retreat.
A company retreat that is all talk and no action will only hurt morale and your business. Make the ideas that are discussed and agreed upon come to life or don’t ask for them at all.
Obviously a retreat allows us to have some fun. But it is also critical to our business. We’re all on the same team and moving toward the same target; a target that we expressed our opinions about and agreed upon. I was so proud of the team coming out of our retreat and am so excited for 2016 at 9 Clouds. You can be excited for 2016 too if you get your company retreat on the calendar. You won’t be sorry.
Interested in additional tips on how to make your business the best it can be? Download our guide on business productivity.