Facilitation of awaydays, corporate retreats and strategy meetings

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Richard Winfield facilitates awaydays, corporate retreats and strategy meetings. He works internationally with directors, boards and senior management.

Richard WinfieldHow often does your company, your top team, get away from the office for an away day or corporate retreat? A different environment, with no interruptions. And when you do, do you bring in a skilled facilitator?

I do hope so; it is one of my favourite activities. As I say, “I’m the guy to call when you want to bring structure and clarity to your thinking. I can help you identify core issues and make the complex simple, holding the space for you to create your own solutions.”

You can download a detailed CV for Richard Winfield here.

Corporate retreats help solidify a management team or board of directors and enhance its effectiveness by giving members time to get to know each other and to do long range or strategic planning for the organisation.

A regular dedicated time spent at a corporate retreat off-site and away from distractions chould be considered essential.

Using a facilitator

Using a facilitator enables everyone to participate fully and provides a safe environment in which to confront sensitive issues.

I remember a corporate retreat in Ghana. I had been commissioned by the director of one of the subsidiaries. During the two days I became increasingly concerned that the founder of the company, who had a reputation as a dynamic entrepreneur, did not seem to be participating. At the end of the event, when I was collecting the many flip charts that we had created, he came up to me and commented, “It was a big risk for me to hand over to an outsider, but I wanted all the team to be able to participate fully. I was concerned that if I was in charge, I would tend to dominate the discussions. I have been delighted at the way you have facilitated a successful event with me taking a back seat.”

On another occasion, a managing director told me that his team was full of strong personalities and that they had run rings around previous facilitators, “But with your light touch and sense of humour, you have kept us focused so that we have achieved our outcome.”

I have a passion for business and love to meet and learn about new businesses. My skill is in asking good questions. When facilitating I create and hold the structure, but you do all the work!

Facilitation takes me to some exciting places; events are definitely more successful if they are off site in a different environment and, preferably, involving a residential element. The more exciting, the better; though I prefer to keep executives away from the temptations of golf! There are many excellent country house hotels and conference centres in the UK and I have also run events in the Rocky Mountains, on a cattle ranch in Texas and in a South African safari park. A change of environment gets the creative juices flowing.

Although I design every event specifically to match the needs of my client, I have a portfolio of exercises that I have collected and developed during my career, as well as some thought provoking video clips from blockbuster films.

I believe strongly that every organisation should run at least one strategy event every year. My portfolio includes a powerful vision, mission and values generation model and a unique scenario planning model based on one developed in South Africa.

I ran a very interesting scenario planning workshop for a think tank associated with the US Department for Defense just after the second invasion of Iraq. It was fascinating to hear feedback from those who had been involved in strategy. And I had not previously appreciated that I was an expert on ‘the application of nanotechnology in the field of battle’, which was our subject ;-)

Why use an independent facilitator?

The presence of an independent facilitator, briefed by the team leader, ensures that time is well spent and all individuals are able to participate fully. This is also an opportunity to bring in external expertise or to introduce scenarios arising from technological, political or environmental issues, for example.

Facilitated corporate retreats pay dividends

In many organisations having annual corporate retreats is routine, for progress reviews, strategy and budget preparation, or for ‘blue sky’ thinking. For teams whose members are based at different sites, the residential element is an important feature.

Professionally run, a facilitated corporate retreat pays dividends. The best investment for top teams.

I also coach directors and boards and teach coaching.
You can read about it here: Coaching and Coach Training

You can contact me direct. Use our contact form to describe your need, or call me on: +44 (0) 121 288 3417.

PS: If you would like to receive a weekly personal article from me about coaching and its applications, then please register for CorporateCoach.

Find out how to choose a facilitator for away days and corporate retreats in this FREE GUIDE

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Google+ By Richard Winfield, Founder of the Brefi Group