Making corporate retreats coherent

For senior executives, the team that comes before you is a robust and an experienced group of corporate performers. In their midst quite easily, you will have managers and directors who will hold at least 2 degrees and may even be experts in their respective field. Given such a composition, one key mistake organizations make is choosing team building activities centred on the activity sake per say as oppose to the facilitator who will be guiding the discussions centred on their learning experience. There is a need to strike a balance and HRD Managers need to ensure that the facilitator they engage holds sound qualifications and have the experience of having worked in the corporate sector in a managerial capacity and carries the educational gravitas that is as good or equal to their senior managers.

Most team building activities are experiential in nature. It takes you out of the classroom, and into an environment that will require participants to be physically and cognitive engaged in undertaking tasks that have been designed by the Team building provider. From the classic outdoor activities that involves the low elements, high elements, you now have the cooking challenges as a theme, drumming events, and even an amazing race in the streets. They are all laced with hidden and potential hazards that can easily injure the participants. Here is one instance a self organized team building session went awry with devastating consequences, the incident that took place with the Singapore Air Force.

Some HRD Managers may not usually risk assess the activities that are organized, as well as we do. Insurance aside, the last thing you would like to have is a senior manager or any participant injuring themselves in a corporate retreat. For an example, I have seen the trust fall activity once being conducted for senior managers and that is a potentially dangerous task that can easily injure the neck. It was conducted by improvising the platform needed by using chairs on tables, notching up the risks even higher. Were the risk assessed? It was left to the training provider in this instance and his approach was one that was not risk averse and leave it to chance.


There are instances when the corporate business goals becomes fuzzy as the activity takes centre stage. Failing to address business issues as an agenda item in the corporate retreat. With an experienced curriculum developer it is possible to make the learning experiences fun, safe and weave the business needs into the team building activities. Team building activities are an opportune platform to address the business goals and we have achieved that with the Team building programs that we have organized. From production issues, departmental KPIs and brainstorming to find solutions are opportunities for Team building activities to drive organizational goals. Here are 5 approaches that you can take in designing a program that will engage senior executives.

  • Design the curriculum with a clear purpose and tangible learning outcomes
  • Ensure the activities are designed with metaphors to align the activity centric tasks with the work they do at the work place
  • Build skill sets such as empathy, communication, leadership skills, problem solving skills and intra/interdepartmental synergy
  • Use of behavioral profiling tools such as Belbin Team roles, DISC, MBTI or leadership traits
  • If you can include financial data such as business results and key performance index, that will go a long way

We have worked with management teams from Singapore Power, Telechoice, British Petroleum, ARA asset management, Telechoice, and Axis Bank to name a few. Our programs helped in ensuring the corporate retreats were fruitful and addressed the business needs of the organization. We can do the same for you too, just drop us an email on this link 🙂