I recently organized a retreat for my clients in Andros, Greece. Like any important project, it required a lot of planning that I clearly could not pull off on my own. I needed a team. As I often advise my clients about the importance of teams, setting up my own team was a good reminder of what really matters.
The experience included coaching discussions, a chance to rejuvenate, taking stock of personal achievements, and working on my clients’ leadership styles in an idyllic location. The photos speak for themselves.
This program was designed for leaders. The topics included peak performance tools such as goal setting, imagery, belief, persistence, fear, and the importance of heroes in our lives. It also presented the SCARF model for better collaboration and influencing others.
Before planning this event, I put my marketing hat on. I conducted market research by asking five clients what the retreat should include. Their brief was short:
1.A variety of participants from different fields, and ideally different nationalities.
2. No “death by PowerPoint” – let’s discuss issues.
3. No one participant should dominate the discussion.
4. Plenty of networking in the evenings.
Armed with this brief, I created a team consisting of staff members, my partner, a co-facilitator, and suppliers. To this we added a lot of planning. Based on their feedback, participants enjoyed a wonderful retreat. So far so good, but what about the team aspect?
First, based on the nature of the event, and as it took place in another country, most of the team members were new.
I had a backup plan should any risks arise and affect the outcome, such as Covid-related cancellations, ferry delays to the island, rain, substandard suppliers, and cultural misunderstandings.
Although the event was a success, I cannot take credit for this. The team members, a spirit of teamwork, and important guiding principles about teams were all responsible for the retreat’s success.
Having the right team enabled me to avoid my usual micromanagement habits, it facilitated last-minute ideas as team members were aware of the brief, and more importantly they embraced a famous coach’s model of team dynamics.
The coach in question is Bill Campbell whose story is portrayed in the book Trillion Dollar Coach. Campbell was a football coach turned tech sales guy. He held several executive roles at Apple, Google, and Intuit.
Campbell, as it turns out, subsequently coached Steve Jobs and Tim Cook of Apple, Eric Schmidt of Google, Melissa Meyer of Yahoo!, and many other Silicon Valley notables.
Although Campbell coached executives in the 80s and 90s, his methods of engaging teams are considered innovative today.
According to Campbell:
Winning depends on having the best team and the best teams include more women! A 2010 study confirms this when they examined collective intelligence in teams: why are some teams “smarter” than the sum of their individual IQs?
- In the most effective teams, everyone contributes rather than one or two people dominating discussions.
- People on those teams are better at reading emotional states.
- The teams have more women, partly because women tend to be better at reading emotional states than men.
This was my modus operandi for the retreat, and it worked like a charm.
One of Campbell’s guiding principles is that the “team is paramount.” What he looked for and expected in people was a “team first attitude.” This has now become the next arrow in my quiver to help my clients understand the importance of the team effect.
Campbell continued by saying that “teams are not successful unless every member is loyal and will, when necessary, subjugate their personal agenda to that of the team.”
Now my retreat may seem like a small event compared to the projects you lead, yet if you peel back the ingredients of any project, the fundamentals of teams are the same. Using Campbell’s guiding principles, ultimately you can achieve a successful outcome as opposed to ongoing rancor, dysfunction, or chaos.
The next time you decide to lead a project and require a team, try incorporating Bill Campbell’s guiding principles to reap the benefits of a successful endeavor.
Now to finish in an appropriate manner and in line with what I always recommend to my clients, it is paramount to praise and recognize your team members. Here is my dream team in no particular order, but of equal importance:
Philip and Rena, our hosts from Perrakis hotel: https://hotelperrakis.com/ . Perrakis hotel also had tireless and dedicated staff including Filippos Kafes, the creative Chef, Dimitris the punctual Maitre D’ and the caring Polixeni.
Elide Frangi, our beautiful Yogi as well as her husband Marco, for their wonderful guidance and hospitality.
Ariana Masselou, from One Foot Forward Travel: firstname.lastname@example.org made sure all activities were executed on time and travel was flawless. Also important was Caroline Cunliffe, our Mindfulness teacher.
Kim Budolph, my esteemed colleague, co-facilitator and entertainer extraordinaire! www.budolph.eu
Exceptional journey transfers and Dimitris Matzoros of Major tours Andros who made sure we got from point A to point B safely and thank you to all Andriots who made this trip a wonderful place to be.
Lastly, Eddie Tone my digital wizard, Oana Dospina my trusted assistant and of course, Maria Andrei my partner, who first suggested the idea of a retreat and handled all logistics, to the most minute of details, and then some.
 Schmidt, E., Rosenberg, J., & Eagle, A. (2019). Trillian Dollar Coach: The Leadership Handbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell. London: John Murray. I strongly recommend the book. Schmidt and Rosenberg also wrote How Google Works.
 Ibid., p.110
 Ibid., p.110.