FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Below, you will find a collection of frequently asked questions that we hope will provide you with some guidance in making your decision to coordinate a retreat with LEAD2GOALS. Please select on any heading below to reveal the questions pertaining to that specific topic. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any additional questions you may have.
There are several different companies who offer these services what makes your different, why should we choose you?
You are right, there are many companies and individuals that can be used as a retreat facilitator. The difference we bring starts with the preparation. We not only work directly with the organizer to find out the deliverables they are expecting, and their perception of their team. We then use a combination of surveys and interview with the participants to customize the retreat experience for that organization. Oftentimes this requires us to prepare the group with pre-retreat assignments. These are thought provoking questions that require deep reflection. This brings the participants into the retreat armed with actionable ideas and concepts. The surveys and interviews also allow us to gain an understanding on the level of respect and trust the group has already given to each other. This information will dictate where we begin. Without a deep trust we cannot get nearly as far, and no matter what the deliverables we will begin here if needed (and often it is).
Why an offsite retreat? Can’t we just block out a day and get the work we need to do done here in our conference room?
The ability to get away from the office, the phones, the interruptions and the commotion of the office allows for a deeper connection among the group and enhances their ability to form the bonds that become a team. We have facilitated meetings both in our clients offices and off site, and the results and outcomes always are better in the offsite retreat. There is a feeling of being able to immerse deeper in the discussion when the team is outside the constraints of the office.
Why do you recommend breaking up the days into 4 hour blocks, we typically spend 8 hours (or more) on the job, can’t we make the sessions longer and get it done faster?
The retreat process and activities are fun and stimulating to be sure, but they are also intense and often emotionally intense experiences. By the end of four hours, the team is still hungry for content, and when we break for lunch they recognize just how exhausted they really are. A lot goes into the work that is being done, and having time to decompress is important. That decompression can involve action or relaxation but either way it is necessary to avoid burnout.
Is the retreat customizable: what material is covered? Length of time on team building as well as workshop?
Absolutely, while there is a format we start with, each group goes through a pre-retreat process in order to customize the sessions to obtain the desired outcomes. No two groups/teams are alike and we build the content based on your stated deliverables, as well as our analysis of the pre-retreat surveys and interviews.
I know several of our people are going to resist this process, how do you work with these people to insure the retreat goes well?
No doubt, many people will resist a retreat just as they resist any change. Our process engages the individuals prior to the retreat, with surveys and interviews. We then typically assign pre-retreat work, this work requires reflection and deep thought, our experience shows us that when people go through this reflective process they are drawn in and look forward to sharing their thoughts. Of course, we spend time with the trust building exercises at the beginning of every retreat and sometime the beginning of every session, with the goal of insuring a safe environment for everybody to share.
Do you guarantee the outcomes? To take this time and expense, we need it to be productive, what is your guarantee?
We guarantee the experience, what this means is that we will work towards the goal of the stated outcomes, and it is not always possible to deliver those, but what will be delivered by the end of the sessions is a process in order to get to where you need to be. Your team will have the tools, and we believe the mindset to get where you need to go. This process does not end when the retreat ends, the exercises we work through will get your group to become a team, which is a group with a shared vision and tools to obtain that vision.
How do you turn a group into a team?
Every team is a group, but not every group is a team. Our process which starts with the Circle of Trust allows for group members to become a team through the use of empathy, humility and vulnerability. By the end of the retreat these people will have a greater level of respect and trust with and for each other, with that, creating a shared vision is easy and natural.
How many people do you recommend attending the retreat?
That depends on the organization and what they are looking to achieve. As many as are needed is the real answer. However, group communication studies suggest the ideal small group size is 5-7 people. Our facilitation experience shows that 6-9 people can create great synergy. We do host large groups as well, but they will be broken down into groups of 8-9 to do the individual work before coming back together in the large group.
What all is involved is setting up a retreat, how much work is it?
There are retreats that you just show up and have a good time, so not much work is required for that at all. However, we don’t put on those types of retreats. Our process does require some one on one time with the retreat organizer, we need to understand their motivation, what outcomes they are expecting as well as get a feeling form him/her on the team they are bringing. From there, we go out and interview every person who will be attending. Armed with this information we request another meeting with the organizer to go over the plans and agenda. Once we agree we are on the same page, often times we will provide pre-retreat homework for all participants.
Of course the logistics are a major factor as well, if you have your own event planner who wants to handle the logistics, food beverage, activities, we will work with them to insure the flow, but we can do that work for the organization as well, especially if you are planning on using our retreat center in Big Bear.
How much will it cost?
This depends on quite a few factors. The major cost center around four areas, transportation, housing and meals, the facilitator and staff as well as offsite activities. Where you go, and when you go play an important role as well. For instance, a mid-week retreat in our Big Bear location can run as low as $6,300 during the fall and spring. This would account for 3 nights’ accommodations for up to 9 people, two days of facilitation. That does not include food/beverage or activities. Summer is slightly higher adding another $300, and winter rates would add another $600 to that total. Weekends are also a bit higher.
Do you facilitate in locations other than Big Bear? Can we hire you to come somewhere else?
Yes. However, the differences are that we cannot assist you with any of the logistical issues. Scheduling becomes an issue as well as travel costs, but we have facilitate retreats in Cancun and Los Cabos Mexico, Palm Springs, CA and have retreats planned in Panama and Aruba this year.
I am an event planner and will be in charge of setting up the logistics for this retreat, what will I need to have available for you to do your work?
It is important to be able to have a suitable space. In our retreat center this includes comfortable chairs unencumbered by any barriers (conference table or other furniture). This is not always possible, and we can be flexible. We have facilitated retreats in conference rooms, in outdoor areas and living room areas as well. What we require is a private space, sitting around the pool at a Marriott simply would not work. Outdoor spaces are great like the one we have in Big Bear, but they do require comfort and privacy.
Our group consists of both men and women; do you have separate accommodations for both genders?
Absolutely, our retreat center in Big Bear is perfect for a co-ed experience. There are three bedrooms that offer shared accommodations with two queen sized beds in each, there are two rooms that each have their own queen sized bed and one room with a King sized bed. Each bedroom has its own private on-suite bathroom.
Are food and beverages included in the cost? If not, is that something I need to plan for my group or can you do it?
There are fixed rates for the retreat center itself which is lodging, meeting space and common areas. There is a fixed rate for the facilitator. We can provide for the food and beverage as well as the activities to be bundled into one cost center, but as you can imagine these prices will range based on the needs/wants of the group. We welcome the opportunity to work with your people to develop the plan, or we can simply provide your people with the local options and leave it up to you.
We are out of state, what airport is the most convenient to fly into?
The closest commercial airport is Ontario International, which is approximately an hour away from Big Bear. LAX is a little over two hours away, as is John Wayne/Santa Ana. Big Bear does have a municipal airport but there are no commercial flights.
Do you suggest carpool? How many cars can be parked on the property?
We do. The property is fairly large and can accommodate 4 to 5 vehicles. If necessary we can handle up to 8 vehicles on site.
Explain more about your thoughts on corporate culture, and why it is so important?
You culture defines who you (as an organization) are, what you do, why you do it, and where you are going. To us these questions are central to the business process, and in fact may be more important to sustaining your organization than the products you sell or the pricing for those products.
What is the difference between a Vision and a Mission statement?
Most people confuse these and lump them together, here is some clarification. Your Vision can be defined as a place in the horizon in which you are looking to go, while the Mission of the organization is what you do and why you do it.
Why do you believe that the Vision is more important than the Mission?
We look at Vision as a goal, the place you want to go. The Mission is important, it is in fact how you make money, and may be the reason you exist as an organization, having a clearly defined Vision allows you and your team to know what direction they are going. Yogi Berra said, “If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there?”
Can you explain the difference between Values and Core Values?
Values are defined as things you find important, and things you may even fight for. Core values are deeper than that, they are the beliefs you have that you will fight for no matter what. We define these as the values you will hold, no matter what. These are what I believe and will fight for even if…………
Please explain why you feel the need to have different layers of the organization be part of the corporate culture, shouldn’t our CEO and Board define our culture?
I have been an entrepreneur all my adult life, and with that for years, I would set the culture of the company and only hire (or retain) people who fit into that culture. A few years ago I was challenged by someone much wiser than myself who told me that my people would buy in at a much deeper level if they were the ones who developed the culture. My first reaction was there was no way I would ever allow others to define the culture for my company. This wise older sage then told me, that if what I am saying is true, give these people the opportunity to work on the culture, and I would be surprised at the similarities, and now this would be theirs and there would be a deeper commitment and ownership. It was difficult but I gave it a shot, it frustrated some at first, and they also needed to trust that I was serious, but the outcome was wonderful. My company grew, our culture became stronger and people felt better about their impact.
Please explain your ideas on Respect. I believe respect is earned not given, yet you place it at the top of your circle of trust. How do you expect us to just give each other respect?
The respect we talk about is the respect given to another because of their humanity. These are human beings with all of the strengths and weaknesses that come with being human. Once we get past the place of labeling this person based on their title or place in the organization, and respect them as people we have an opportunity to learn and grow. This process starts with that level of respect, but once we deploy the process, you will soon see that the respect you are able to give, fits your previous standards, that people will earn your respect, and it will continue to grow.
Why do you feel you need to explain to teach professionals something as simple as listening?
We all listen at different levels and for different reasons, most of us “listen to respond”. There are various reasons we do this, to feel like we are “in the know” have something to contribute to the conversation, or just want others to recognize how smart we are. Listening to understand is completely different, and allows one to put yourself in the others shoes (empathy). Not only will you receive more information, this will do something else, it will show the other person that you are interested in them, and their ideas. This is part of the process of gaining respect from them as well. Listening to understand will change the dynamics of any relationship and that is why it is so important to spend the time on in our sessions.
What does share from experience mean, and why is this important?
Sharing from experience is the ability to tell a story about your situation without giving advice. This practice is vital in the Circle of Trust. Sharing from your experience rather than giving advice allows others to feed off your story, gain perspective while maintaining equilibrium (balance of power) within the dyad or group.
Our company has developed silos, the departments don’t interact unless they have to then they are so guarded with their information, it makes it difficult to get any work done, what do you suggest?
This is a common problem among organizations, and is really the reason we as a company exist. The first thing we do is try to understand the motivation for the behaviors that create silos, sometimes they are systemic, but many times the problems arise out of a lack of respect and definitely out of a lack of trust. Our trust development model is designed around the Circle of Trust (hyperlink to this). After gaining an understanding of the issues from all points of view, we work on developing trust before we dive into the operational issues. This process will give the participants a different view of the problem and allow for a holistic approach at problem solving between departments.
Organizations talk about our “team” all the time, and I think that it is usually Bull$h!t. From what I see these “teams” are just groups of people who were thrown together to do a project or get some work done. Can you explain the difference between a team and a group?
The simple answer is that a team is a group of people that have a shared vision. With that shared vision they act and work in a completely different environment. What we have experienced is that most people really don’t like group work, dealing with the social loafers, or dominators just isn’t that much fun. The work gets done, but the experience is just not great. Teammates feel the joy not only of the work product but from the experience in dealing with other like-minded individuals.
I have been on team building retreats before, a few trust falls and rope climbs and sing a song and we are a team, that makes for a fun weekend, but from what I have seen the symbiotic feelings dissipate as soon as we get back to the real world, what makes you think your program is any different?
Our program is about teaching people how to transform a group into a team. This is not a few tricks to allow for a retreat to be fun. Once armed with these tools to create a team, we believe you will be able to use these to turn any group into a team.
Do you ever run across people who wont share their opinions because they hate conflict?
All of the time, and this is a major problem. It really stems from the perception that conflict is a bad thing, something to avoid. What we teach is that conflict is simply a matter of differing opinions, and that those opinions need to be shared so that we can all learn and grow, in fact many times the original ideas are enhanced because of the willingness of those who hate conflict to share their opinion. The problem with conflict is first one of perception, but then one of the way we manage conflict. These are both solvable problems.
We have a boss that is more of a bully than a leader, how do we get him to listen to our ideas if they differ from his?
This is problem organizations face quite often. The boss because the boss for a reason. He/She has been successful in the past and can get to a place where they believe they need to continue doing what they have always done to keep that success going. The boss really does want fresh ideas, they really do want their people to grow, yet by their own actions or reactions they unwittingly discourage people from coming to them with ideas. This problem does get addressed pre-retreat and then during the retreat in unique ways. Oftentimes a long term solution becomes apparent during a retreat, but often it takes ongoing coaching in order to maintain their openness to new ideas. The key is to insure the retreat space is a safe place to explore, and this is exactly why a facilitator can be beneficial.
What is the difference between the Public Speaking workshop and the Giving a presentation workshop?
Good question. They are in fact similar processes, the preparation for both require the same research, and development of concepts, and ideas. They both deal with audience analysis, preparation, practice and techniques to eliminate the nervousness. The difference rests in the delivery, and preparation of that delivery. Understanding the use of audio and visual aids, space considerations and methods of gaining the audiences focus.