We recognise the continuous and deep connection to Country, of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first peoples of this nation. In this way we respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of this land, sea, the waters and sky. We pay tribute to the Elders past and present as we also respect the collective ancestry that has brought us all here today.
Author: Kirsty Martin
We held our second annual Retreat at the beautiful Lake Crackenback Resort and Spa just a short drive from Canberra. The team has grown substantially since our first Retreat, and with COVID-19 disruptions keeping us somewhat distanced over the last year it was amazing to properly get the whole team together for two whole days to focus on our business.
Some of the team came down early to test out some of the (many) activities. We then formally kicked the retreat off with a Welcome BBQ to give us all a chance to catch-up over dinner and drinks, to enjoy some stories around the fire pit, and to enjoy the beautiful view.
We also surprised the team with matching Sententia beanies (just in time – it got chilly once the sun went down!) and voted for our top 3 ideas for “The Pitch” (more on that later).
Monday morning was all about setting the scene. We went over our vision and objectives for the Retreat and reminded ourselves of our ‘rumbling’ techniques to have open, honest, and vulnerable conversations. We took time to focus on ‘rumbling’ to reiterate the intention of the retreat – it wasn’t just to give the team visibility over our strategic planning – but to truly co-design a strategy with input from the whole team. For this, we needed to all be ready to rumble!
Next, we discussed our balanced scorecard and our primary output from the Retreat – our 2022-23 business plan. To develop the business plan, we would hold a separate session for each quadrant of our balanced scorecard (clients, finance, people, internal business), and co-design goals and measures for each using human centred design thinking techniques. We kicked this off on Monday afternoon focusing on clients and finance.
After some frisbee golf to wind down from a big day of strategic planning, we enjoyed a spectacular dinner at Cuisine Restaurant and Bar. As with everything at Lake Crackenback, it was enjoyed with a view! We also use this part of our Retreat to participate in a Sententia tradition that welcomes the new members of team. It was a lovely chance to get to know each other better – who knew how much you could find out about each other just by asking ‘who was your primary school best friend – and what are they up to now?’
On Tuesday morning we explored the people and internal business perspectives for our strategic plan – again using human centred design techniques to co-design our goals and measures.
By lunchtime we had what we needed to draft our business plan and could move on to something a bit different for the afternoon.
The Pitch is another Sententia tradition that we started at our first annual retreat. It’s an opportunity for our staff to create a legacy – something they can proudly point to as an initiative that they drove for the business.
All staff were invited to anonymously submit ideas for improving the way we do things prior to the retreat. On Sunday at the Welcome BBQ, the whole team voted for their top three ideas that they wanted to hear more about. On Tuesday afternoon the top three ‘Pitchers’ had their chance to present more detail on their idea. We took advantage of the beautiful surrounds and weather and moved outside to Pitch in the fresh air. After each 5-minute pitch, the team could ask questions and further discuss the idea.
The implementation of last year’s Pitches have made a real and tangible difference to our business and we are excited to see where this year’s Pitches lead us. All three were supported by the team and so over the next year we will be looking to implement “Sen-stainability”, “So you think you are a tough guy? – Resilience Training” and “Sententia Show and Tell”.
Ask Me Anything
To wrap up our final day we held an ‘Ask Me Anything’ session with the leadership team. After two days of defining our vision and planning our strategy for 2022-23 it was a good time to check in to address any lingering questions or things we had always been curious about but hadn’t had the opportunity to ask. We had an open and honest conversation – and it was a two-way street. It gave the broader team deeper insight into what drives decision making and the priorities of the business and helped the leadership team to better understand what is important to our staff. We now all know what keeps the leadership team up at night – and why.
It was a fun, insightful, and highly productive few days that has set us up for success for the next 18 months. We can’t wait to get to work bringing the strategy to life and see what we’ve achieved by next year’s Retreat!