Health Care Practice Strategies – Summer 2013 - Reflect and Renew with a Productive Retreat

Far from being just a “touchy feely” event, a staff retreat can be a critically important time in the life of your practice. Consider these essential elements for a productive retreat:

SET THE STAGE. Avoid a retreat in your office, which can feel like just another staff meeting. Better: a casual lunch at someone’s home, or even a half-day (or longer) session at a local conference center, historic property or hotel. For example, you could close the office at 2 p.m., head offsite and work until 8 p.m. — providing dinner and paying for the extra hours.

SET THE TONE. Define your expectations (active participation in team-building exercises, involvement in discussions, etc.) and encourage participants to challenge and question the ideas presented.

ITEMIZE. Develop a clear agenda, assigning set times to agenda items. However, build in some flexibility to explore ideas that arise or address issues that come to light during your discussions.

ASSIGN. To get buy-in from all participants, assign some pre-retreat homework. Select some staffers to evaluate a problem area or new opportunity. Have others prepare retreat materials or lead a session for at least one agenda item.

BRING IN YOUR ADVISORS. Consider inviting key advisors to the retreat — your attorney, CPA, banker, insurance agent, retirement plan administrator, etc. Or, schedule a separate time with these outside advisors to gather ideas for improving your practice.

Don’t let the momentum of a productive retreat die. Summarize your discussions, review your decisions and assign responsibility for follow-up and implementation. Finally, reinforce the idea that focusing on quality and efficiency in your practice is not a once-a-year special event. It’s everyone’s job, every day.

Health Care Practice Strategies – Summer 2013 Issue 

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