I love facilitating retreats. I also enjoy building my own capacity to effectively facilitate retreats. I’m about halfway through reading a comprehensive book on facilitating retreats: Retreats That Work: Everything You Need to Know About Planning and Leading Great Offsites, by Merianne Liteman, Sheila Campbell and Jeff Liteman (yes, it’s possible to write a 500+ page book on retreats!).
This book provides a detailed, step-by-step process for planning effective retreats and shares the various pitfalls that can occur during the process. According to the authors of Retreats that Work, “retreats are investments in an organization’s future. Unlike meetings, which typically focus on current issues and concerns, retreats take a longer view and focus on deeper, longer-term issues…the potential payoff of retreats is considerable.” The book dedicates entire chapters to specific types of retreats, such as strategic planning and team building retreats, sharing helpful tools and exercises a group can undertake to accomplish their goals.
I look forward to incorporating best practices from this book during future retreats I facilitate and expect to count on this book as a helpful resource for my consulting practice. I will also highlight some lessons I learned from reading this book along with my own experiences facilitating retreats over the years at my upcoming workshop at the Center for Nonprofit Management on June 27th, from 9:30am to 12:30pm. For those of you that can’t make it and want a shorter version of the book, check out the 13-page article I co-wrote on the subject and/or the one-pager I put together.