Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Leadership Retreats: Are they worth it?

A few weeks ago, the eight members of the Southcare Leadership Team spent a few days away on a leadership retreat. The retreat was co-designed and facilitated by Anne Courtney and Tony Clitheroe. The purpose of the retreat was to:

• Connect with a potential vision for the future of Southcare;
• Commit to leading for the whole organisation rather than specific programs; 
• Understand each team member’s personal strengths and learning edges;
• Appreciate our authentic leadership offer and contribution to the future of Southcare; 
• Understand the team’s strengths and gaps; 
• Contribute to maximising team diversity for the purpose of fulfilling Southcare’s mission;
• Understand what is meant by strategic thinking; 
• Have clarity about what is involved at a personal and team level in practicing strategic thinking, creativity and innovation;
• Have an experience of using inquiry and advocacy to have conversations for possibility and opportunity;
• Commit to specific actions to enhance the strategic leadership of Southcare. 

Prior to the retreat we read a number of articles on how to think strategically, the difference between strategic thinking and strategic planning and how strategic thinking can be captured into five discrete but inter-related elements; systems perspective, intent focused, intelligent opportunism, thinking in-time and hypothesis driven.  Tony skillfully introduced us to a number of strategic planning frameworks; the one that really resonated was McKinsey's Capacity Framework. We have since reviewed our strategic plan to ensure we have the 10 essential elements as the key components of our plans.

Annie cleverly used a video of Dr Fiona Woods to help us to explore questions about leadership and gain clarity on what are the attributes that make up good leadership.  

Tony facilitated interactive activities using the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and team member’s profiles to appreciate the diversity within the team, maximising team strengths, team gaps and how to fill the gaps. What fun we had in seeing the rich diversity and similarities in the team, oh how we can now understand each other that bit more!

Annie invited us to identify what we each bring to the leadership table and we spent time creating and then articulating to each other our ‘Leadership Offer’ in relation to our: 
• Passion
• Personal gifts/strengths 
• Contribution to Southcare
• Learning edge

We also had time some exploring the teams concerns, capacity and willingness to engage in constructive/conflict conversations. 

So where are we as a leadership team? Feedback from the team is really positive, we have a clearer aspiration for Southcare. We are a 'performing team' who will work together to continue to implement a range of strategies to provide service excellence to our internal and external community. Yes leadership retreat are worth it!

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