April 13, 2021

149: Planning a (Virtual) Team Retreat with Seth Linden

With the end of COVID coming into sight, now is an ideal time to plan for a team retreat that can help people reconnect after a long year of physical distancing or isolation. Whether you’re able to gather in person or limited to a virtual retreat due to COVID or geography, taking time to focus on relationships and team purpose can inspire and refuel us in powerful ways.

In this episode I speak with Seth Linden. Seth is the founder and principal of Gather Consulting, where he advises philanthropists, foundations and nonprofits at the intersections of education, leadership, and community. He has a teaching credential and bartending credential – both of which come in handy while building community.

Seth and I talk about how to design and lead an effective and engaging team gathering or retreat whether in person or virtually.

The full episode guide includes key areas to consider when planning an in-person or virtual retreat, along with ideas for activities to build relationships and how to make the retreat extra special. Get it when you join the Modern Manager community or purchase the full guide at www.themodernmanager.com/shop.

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Read the related blog article: How to Design a Retreat Your Team Will Love


Key Takeaways:

  • Be really clear about what the purpose of the retreat is so that you can align the agenda with it.
  • Co-create the agenda; ask your team what they want to get out of the retreat and design the agenda together.
  • Set the tone and intentions of a safe space by having the leader be honest and open from the beginning.
  • Set equity of voice as a value from the beginning to encourage louder voices to make room, quieter people to speak up, and to recognize publically the importance of including historically marginalized voices.
  • To help people feel more comfortable opening up, set a casual dress code, use outdoor settings to lighten the mood, and offer “walking workshops”.
  • Choose team-building activities like karaoke and ropes courses if it aligns with your purpose and is something the participants are comfortable with.
  • Consider mailing or providing ‘goodie bags’ that contain little gifts that make the event feel special.
  • Set up accountability partners after the retreat to help people carry their learnings forward.

Additional Resources:


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