Debra Howard Consulting- Burlington, VT Area

Retreat Design and Facilitation

Go Big or Go Home

There are two types of retreats: breezy ones that try to make everyone feel good, and substantive ones that get something done, while still having a little fun. If you want one of the lightweight ones, where people meet in small groups to talk about why lions, or eagles, are their personal animal mascots, please don’t call us. If you’re bringing people together to work on something significant, and you have clear goals for what you want to accomplish, we’re interested.

Custom retreat design takes painstaking planning. When your senior leaders stop everything for a day-long retreat, you don’t want waste their (quite expensive) time. Designing an agenda with activities that keep people interested and focused on the retreat’s goals, while enabling them to get to know each other better and build trust together, takes skill and creativity.

We've been facilitating meetings for groups of all kinds and sizes for more than 20 years, and know when to push a group forward and press on the accelerator, and when to step back and slow down. We also excel at calling people’s attention to what’s happening in the moment, and helping participants become more aware of—and able to work with—the interpersonal, group, and power dynamics in the room.

Retreats we’ve designed and facilitated:

  • Company-wide "all-staff" retreats
  • Leadership team retreats using decision charting to clarify decision making and accountability
  • Executive team retreats where participants brainstorm and prioritize the most important competencies for effective teamwork, and then conduct on-the-spot evaluations of themselves and each of their colleagues against those competencies
  • Partner meetings to help business partners work through issues and improve how they’re managing their firms
  • Team retreats to deepen trust and improve collaboration using numerous techniques, such as “feed-forward” exercises
  • Annual goal-setting retreats using Stephen Covey’s Wildly Important Goals (WIGs) framework
  • After-action reviews of significant events
  • Team retreats using the Myers-Briggs and/or FIRO-B instruments to introduce a new team member to an established group