Planning your corporate retreat means you’re getting your colleagues geared up for a few days of team building and strategic planning. Keep the plans for communication active and engaging by incorporating a theme into the structure of your sessions. If executed consistently, themes help to drive specific points home and excite team members to focus on your overall plans.
Use popular television shows like "The Apprentice," "Survivor," and "The Biggest Loser" as a theme to mimic. Shows such as these most closely resemble teams working together to accomplish goals and also make excellent themes for your retreat. In the Survivor theme, use the concept of voting members off in an entertaining way. Get bandanas imprinted with your company logo and allow the team members to dress casually in t-shirts and shorts to the workshops. As the Biggest Loser, give teammates interactive relay race objectives where they work together in team building activities. As you design your retreat around the Apprentice, break teams up where separate departments are now working together to accomplish tasks such as brainstorming new projects, working on advertising campaigns and considering new products to introduce for the next quarter.
Base your theme on the location of your retreat. If you have flown everyone out to a ski resort, golf property or sports office complex, use the location to set the tone for your meetings. Use play on words in your invitation and welcome packets. Ski themes are optimal choices for winter retreats and you can issue each team member a scarf attached to the retreat invitation. “Tee off with us for new ideas…” is a way to introduce your golf themed adventures. “We’re batting 1000 at XYZ Company” is another play on example to excite employees. Purchase theme matching papers and pens from specialty companies like Idea Art an online stationery store that carries a variety of theme papers to use for multiple events in your retreat.
If your group will not have a huge fanfare and festive destination to look forward to, build an entertaining mock business in whatever facility you end up. A fashion boutique or news station make businesses easily constructed to allow teams who are focused more on bonding and brainstorming. Pull teams together to plan a fashion show or assign them each tasks to produce a television news or features show. Assign members of the teams the task of building the mock set, organizing the programming and producing the events. Break teams into two large groups to compete against each other for the best production.
Crystal Green is a marketing and event management consultant specializing in non-profit organizations and small businesses. Green spent the last seven years working for a statewide education association directing their trade publications, writing articles for programs' training teams and other event-related freelance projects. Green hold a Bachelor's degree in Journalism, and is currently working on advanced degrees.