Retreat to Advance
Contributed by Mike Novakoski, President & CEO
A retreat is an event that allows us to step away from what we are used to doing so we can reset, evaluate and reinvigorate our current position. In business, we are firm believers in shaking up the status quo. We have seen great benefit in bringing people together for an unexpected day of fun and fellowship. I liken these events to the field trips I used to take in grade school. We would “retreat” from our normal classroom activities to a new educational opportunity somewhere remote. These were by far the most memorable and favored days I had in school. As adults, I believe retreats are critical events we need in order to grow in our personal and professional lives.
Every three years, EV Construction asks about half of our company (75+) to participate in a three day, strategic planning retreat. In early October, we met off campus to dream together about what our company will look like three years from now (January 1st, 2026). The product of this effort will be our Painted Picture for 2026 (PP2026). All of the work does not happen over the three day period however; it actually begins weeks in advance. In mid-September, we provided each retreat participant with a comprehensive “Reflection Booklet” for them to work on to gather all of their thoughts, perspectives and visions for our future. The booklet, is nearly 30 well-thought-out pages of questions to ponder, leaving no stone unturned. The amount of energy that can be generated when small groups of people come prepared to share their part of a collective dream is incredible. Team members who “weigh-in” are members who “buy-in”! Our final PP2026 will be a graphical depiction of a strategic plan where all members will see their impact. It’s our road map to success.
We’ve had tremendous success using this format for the past 12 years and expect the Painted Picture for 2026 will be no different. The PP2026 retreat is also a time we intentionally use to develop deeper relationships. During the after office hour evenings, our Leadership Council will have fireside chats, pose personal questions and share as a group, allowing us to learn more about each other under a vail of vulnerability. We do build plentiful memories together, but even more so, we deepen trust in each other.
The C-suite used to do all of the company’s strategic planning in isolation, behind closed doors. Upon completion, we would step out of the room and bestow upon the company the great wisdom of a few individuals. Ha! We were kidding ourselves if we ever thought it was an effective process.
What we learned was our need for true collaboration from a great number of people. Placing the challenge of determining where the company was heading at the feet of the team members made all the difference. Our team members have always shared ideas fresher, more exciting and even more aggressive than our leadership might have considered. The sense of pride and ownership has never been better.
Each retreat we host is uniquely developed to drive connection and build meaningful relationships so that together we can do amazing things, like be actively engaged in executing the plans necessary to make our future dreams a reality! Why don’t you give it a shot? Retreat to advance!