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{Excerpt} People look forward to retreats (or workshops) with excitement or dread. At best, it is a time for renewal, team building, and focusing work. At worst, it is a dull two days of lectures or extended meetings. A good retreat works in three dimensions—the practical, the ideal, and the political—ignore anyone and you are headed for trouble.

There are as many reasons for conducting a retreat as there are issues and challenges facing an organization. Among the most common uses of retreats are

• Helping set or change strategic direction.

• Fostering a collective vision.

• Creating a common framework and point of reference.

• Developing annual goals, objectives, and budgets.

• Discussing specific issues or challenges facing the organization.

• Dealing with sources of conflict and confusion.

• Generating creative solutions for entrenched problems.

• Improving working relationships and increasing trust.

• Encouraging honest and enlightened conversations.

• Letting people be heard on issues that are important to them.

• Orienting new staff.


Suggested Citation

Malvicini, P and Serrat, O. (2010). Conducting successful retreats. Washington, DC: Asian Development Bank.

Required Publisher's Statement

This article was first published by the Asian Development Bank (