Staff Retreats: Team Building Event Or Hidden Perils!?

Come sail away…

Having just returned from corporate retreat, I found myself reflecting on both the upsides and the downsides of these events.

Of course, none of you readers want to hear about the good stuff, the team building and brand building.

No, you want to hear about the DANGERS!

The greatest risk of course, is what I call Going Over The Line.

We all know what I’m talking about. There’s a fine line between unwinding, and cutting loose; between bonding with your co-workers and being so hungover in tomorrow morning’s meetings that you can’t function.

One of my biggest customers has an annual prize trip for their top performers to a white sand vacation destination. Over lunch once one of their senior managers confessed that she hated going to these things, because, at least for her, she didn’t really get to take time off work.

Every single year, like clockwork, there would be a cadre of young hotshots in their early 20s for whom this prize trip was their first time away from home.

Or at least, they’d act that way.

That meant that the senior managers like her would inevitably have to manage them, up to and including paying for bailing them out of the local jail, paying for the damages to the hotel, and shipping them back to their parents on the first flight out of the country.

That doesn’t leave you a whole lot of time to kick back and relax.

Not that Going Over The Line is limited exclusively to the young.

It was before my time, but by the time I was a manager at a company I used to work for the events of a previous year’s Managers’ Conference were legendary.

Apparently the hijinks were like something out of a 1980s National Lampoon movie, up to and including the clichéd golf-cart-driven-into-the-swimming-pool.

As far as I know, twenty years on that company is still not welcome back at Disney World.

Consequently, when I was there, the annual Managers’ Conference was a studied exercise in No Fun Allowed.

The modus operandi was to park us somewhere in the middle of nowhere, typical at a boring hotel conference center that was at least a hundred dollar cab ride from any nightlife.

We did however get a lot of work done at those morning meetings.

This year the only peril I faced were bears on the Fairmont golf course in Whistler BC. Pic taken with my phone, from a great distance