Tools for Improving Effectiveness of Corporate Retreats

At Montara Farm, we have been working with corporate teams for almost 20 years.  Our purpose is to take the concept of the Corporate Retreat and enhance what otherwise would have just been a social gathering into a productive opportunity to build teams through bonding and relationship building.  Corporate Retreats that don’t strive to break down barriers and open new windows into progressive, innovative concepts will not move an organization forward.

We have used a number of different instruments and methodologies to facilitate achieving the goals of the corporate organizations we work with.  Three of the most effective are the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument, the ‘I Speak Your Language’ inventory and the DISC.

Two of these instruments , the HBDI and the I Speak, look at how our brains are wired and the implications of what our thinking preferences are.  The DISC is a personality inventory that measures how you deal with your environment and the people you interact with.

The bottom line is to make teams work together better by improving self awareness and improving awareness of others.  Attached is an excerpt from a blog from HBDI that discusses a research project that explored the dynamics and productivity when teams are composed of a heterogeneous or ‘whole brained’ group.

How do you increase the efficiency of a group of people? How do you get more output from your existing human resources?

Those were the questions Charles G. DeRidder and Mark A. Wilcox examined as part of a six-year research study they conducted with the USDA Forest Service.

The premise of their study was that a diversity of thinking would help teams reach new performance benchmarks. Using the Whole Brain® Model as the foundation for their work, along with thinking style data from Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument® (HBDI®) assessments, they documented significant improvements in efficiency and effectiveness when teams were designed to include a balance of thinking preferences.

Among their findings and lessons learned:

  • Teams that are balanced in terms of thinking preferences are more effective; they consider more options and make better decisions.
  • Whole Brained teams were 66% more efficient than homogenous teams.
  • 70% or more of the teams were “successful” when Whole Brained vs. 30% or less when not.
  • Size matters: 7 members is the ideal team size.

As DeRidder and Wilcox observed, if you want to break through to the next level of production and increase team productivity/efficiency, “The answer is clear: Organize mentally balanced teams that match the task.”