If you have a little wiggle room in your budget, it can be tempting to use that cash to schedule a little retreat for you and other leaders of your association. And why not? There are a lot of benefits to having team building for your association leaders, but there are a few points of caution as well. Let’s see what we have as far as pros and cons and helpful tips.
Pro: Bonding with association leaders!
You all work hard. Many of your leaders are volunteers who live busy lives in addition to handling association business, and your staffers are probably just as busy, if not more so. A retreat or team building activity could go a long way in unifying and solidifying the leaders of your association, and could even smooth over some conflicts or misunderstandings.
Con: Others may feel left out
I’m sure you wish you could bring everyone, but you can’t. There could be some hurt feelings about not being invited to participate.
Pro: A nice working break from the board room
The day-to-day can get tedious, and sometimes result in brain fatigue, over-thinking, distraction, and other things that can be counter-productive. A retreat or team building exercise is a great way to energize and invigorate your team.
Con: Limit on the number of action items that can actually be done without members approval or knowledge
Associations are a group effort, and although a solid leadership needs to be in place to make decisions, a lot of big things should be run by the membership. Your average active member who is not on the leadership team may feel cut out of decisions that are made by just the leadership team alone. Not everything requires a vote, but be sure that some things don’t require some general discussion.
Tip: Make sure general association needs are met before planning an expensive retreat.
Nothing is worse than seeing executives leave on an expensive retreat or team building exercise when you, as a member, feel that money should have been spent elsewhere. Before you plan something that could be a major line item in a budget, consider what the popular opinion might be. If your budget is sound and your members needs are being met and your calendar is full of fun events that are budgeted for, then go ahead!
Tip: Try to accommodate as many attendees as possible with their preferences
This is a tough one, because you’ll never please everyone all the time. Consider, though, if you have one board member who is prone to sea sickness, a fishing trip probably isn’t a great idea.
Tip: Ask members ahead of time what should be discussed so they can feel like part of the process.
If you have a retreat or team building exercise planned in the future, be transparent about it! Ask your members what they think the leaders should be talking about. Then talk about those topics!
There are tons of benefits to a retreat or team building exercise for leadership, or even your whole association, if you can afford it. Just make sure the planning is in place, and you have a thorough agenda and away you go!