LEAP Retreat a Real Treat
More than 8,000 products, garden tools to guacamole, beverages to baby powder,
toilet paper to tuna fish, carpet cleaner to quinoa are found in the retail outlets of the Colruyt Group. The process to get these products from the supplier to the store shelves involves a myriad of people and is managed by Product Group Managers. In this family owned company that employs 26,000 people, there are 10 PGMs. Marcia and I had the pleasure over the past two weeks of first interviewing all ten (and 15 of the colleagues they work most closely with) and then facilitating a 21/2 day Team Building and Team Planning Retreat It was held in Wisteria, a wonderful bed and breakfast in Herne, a village about 20 minutes by train from Brussels.
We all worked hard and with enthusiasm. Following the steps of the LEAP planning process, we identified personal and team achievements, assessed first the individual and the team’s current situation and the desired future condition they would like to realize. We identified problems and issues that have to be addressed to move from the present to the future and set individual and team objectives. LEAP is based on participation in discussions and visualization of ideas and we had a wealth of both. In depth plenary conversations about the importance of sharing and trust and respect, about each person’s and the team’s purpose, and about enhancing awareness of the team’s contribution to Colruyt. First, individual handbooks and then large charts were festooned with five colors of sticky notes. Ideas were presented, challenged, modified, agreed and posted.
Some stunning performers graced the stage of the Colruyt Little Theater, where among other things there was as humorous attempt to organize a SWOT analysis of two- versus three-ply toilet tissue. On the first afternoon, a solemn, ceremonial ritual requiring team coordination and communication and involving the risky aerial transportation of a vessel containing the main Colruyt values was successfully completed. On the second afternoon, the team members each contributed seven Colruyt retail products to the construction of a freestanding, functional structure using all 77 items and involving the entire team.
In the end, we had completed a comprehensive objective tree, a project planning matrix with eight main objectives, and launched a stakeholder analysis process. The team agreed on immediate steps to take when they returned to Halle. We closed with sincere appreciation and a Wisteria farewell aperitif.
Difficult to imagine that it could have been much better.