Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

Effective Retreats – Don’t Leave Without A Wrap-Up Session

“If you don’t know where you are going, you are certain to end up somewhere else.” – Yogi Berra

You have spent the last day and one-half with your fellow partners focusing on the future of the firm. Before the group departs, be sure to do some wrap-up steps.

Decisions were made, action items were assigned. Be sure to go over these points during the retreat┬árecap so that everyone is on the same page and clear about the expectations. Everyone leaves the retreat with an understanding of the action steps and is clear about who “owns” each step.

As often occurs with partner retreats, when partners return to the office, managers and staff members ask what happened at the retreat. Everyone wants to know what decisions were made. To effectively handle the onslaught of questions, be sure everyone leaves the meeting with “talking points.” List the key points on a flip-chart. Some items are confidential and should not be shared but most items are not. Once everyone is in agreement, appoint a person to capture the points digitally and send them to the attendees. Once back at the office (immediately) the MP should send out an email including the key points so that everyone gets the message at the same time, in the same manner.

I always urge partners to have a “state of the firm” meeting as soon as possible after the retreat so that the key points and any new strategic direction for the firm can be shared with all.

Finally, ask the attendees what they liked about the meeting and what they did not like. Do this, on-site, while things are fresh in their minds. What bugged you? What did you really like? What could we do better next time? Use the KSS method – For our retreat, what should we Keep doing, what should we Stop doing and what should we Start doing?

Retreats are like other routine office happenings (such as performance evaluations). If you don’t refresh them and do things differently, everyone soon gets bored with the entire experience.


  • "The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks."
  • Mark Zukerberg

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