A 30 Minute Leadership Retreat

Photo taken today: I had just finished the first draft of this
Gold Letter when we were invited to our first beach fireside of the year.

It’s a midsummer camping trip. The sun has set, the kids are tucked away after a big day at the beach and you and your good friends slowly return to the fire for some adult conversation. The target isn’t to change the world or unearth deep rooted problems for open conversation, rather it is a chance to sit back, watch the flames, poke the fire and enjoy each other’s company.

The conversation seems to organically flow from one person to the next. A couple of keys for a great fireside evening is a combination of humour and self reflection. Without the humour our brains will start telling us this is pain and not pleasure. Without self reflection the conversation will lean towards talking about others … which unfortunately leads to gossip… also a fireside mood killer.

As a consulting company we have been wondering if “fireside” conversations have a place in the workplace, particularly with leaders. Our observation is that most leaders have trained themselves, for pragmatic reasons, to focus on the meeting objectives, the team dynamics and the clock on the wall. I have not seen a fireside scheduled in any agenda over the years until last week.

Last week, with one of our favourite leadership clients, I suggested building a 30 minute “fireside” into the end of our After Action Review and Training. With the physical barriers of a virtual setting and no actual fire I was very interested to gain their feedback.

The early indicators are enthusiastically two thumbs up. Reflecting and enjoying each other’s company after a big week of meetings seemed to strike a chord.

In many ways the fireside experience is like a mini leadership retreat. A perfect combination of wholesome humour and self reflection.

Steven Falk

P.S. Don’t forget, People Can Change and The Power of Success is in TEAM

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