Posts Tagged ‘management retreat’

My Last Week’s Epic Off-Site Facilitation

November 8th, 2010

Last week was a landmark in my journey as a facilitator and coach. It was a landmark for 2 reasons. One because the off-site facilitation ran from 9 till 12 (midnight, that is!). Two, which is more important, it was of epic magnitude for the client whose management team witnessed a transformation that is going to – if pursued – mark them for life.

The morning session was a struggle. It was a wrestle between exercises pushing participants to open up and them resisting by all means. The process was stiff, draining and tough. The end was a good level of openness and unusual sharing of personal concerns, experiences and weaknesses and established an acceptable level of “vulnerability-based trust.” Inspired by Patrick Lencioni’s The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, the off-site still had to achieve an overcoming of 4 more dysfunctions (in addition to the covered absence of trust) which are fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results.

The trip was one of metamorphosis that is now up to the team to take to reality, pursue and reap the benefits of. It ran slower than planned (obviously) and it was the eagerness of the team to do what it takes and not to let go of any conversation before it achieves its full purpose that made it as long and as fruitful at the same time.

It included commitments to change individual behaviors that hinder the performance of the team, a public lateral 180 degrees feedback session where every participant shared his view of a strength and a development area of another, and among the most rewarding, 6 participants (3 x 2) leveling with each other and working out resolutions for relationships that had been broken for a long time.

Those who came in skeptical left with trust, those who came in scattered left aligned and those who came in with broken relationships left conversing.

Leveling with others and having real, unmasked conversations, as Suzan Scott calls them in Fierce Conversations, has an inherent power of achievement that remains unknown to those who never have them.

It is witnessing such transformations that first drove me into this career and that today fuel my motivation to go on. What’s left is up to the team to pursue, keep alive, adopt as a way of doing things, and drive to results and returns. I wish them the best of luck in their journey that has just begun.

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