How does your organization recharge?

Last week we were very fortunate to be able to bring together our whole staff for a retreat in one of our home cities: Portland, OR.

Almost the whole team.

Before the retreat, we laid out seven goals. They included: Break out of our normal day-to-day work and recharge; challenge ourselves to think in new ways and learn new things; celebrate our successes; reflect on the past four months; look ahead at the next four; go in-depth on topics and projects that have organization-wide significance; be together and have fun!

    A typical day in Portland: our site developers look at a list of upcoming projects in order to prioritize them.


    On the final morning of the retreat, we got out of the office and into the fresh air. (Pictured: Mike, Craig, Josh, Minnie, and Enzo.)

We surveyed the whole staff ahead of time to get input on the agenda and goals. People from every team led sessions on everything from knowledge sharing to agile software development to volunteer recruitment and appreciation.

Amy, facilitator extraordinaire, helped us develop ground rules for the whole retreat; Josh's wiki-like brain was put to the test during a trivia game.

Other highlights included visits from Holly Ross of NTEN and Suzanne Bader of Mosaic Consulting. Thank you both for your time and wisdom – you definitely helped us with the second goal, “challenge ourselves to think in new ways and learn new things”!

During a break, Diana even found time to teach her fellow Community Moderator, Kim, to ride a bike. Talk about being together and having fun:

Go Kim go!

Now that the retreat is over, we have a ton of planning and work to do – and that includes reflection about how to make future in-person gatherings even more effective.

What does your organization do to reconnect? If you organize staff retreats, I’d love to hear…

  • Is the emphasis on big visioning, nitty-gritty work and decisions, or something else?
  • Does your staff facilitate it, or do you rely on others to help lead your reflection and planning?
  • What other things do you take into account?

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Be a "Career Entrepreneur" with help from two Idealist alumni

One of my favorite things about working here is that when our colleagues move on from Idealist, they tend to keep us posted about their big new (ad)ventures.

Case in point: Steve Joiner, co-author of The Idealist Guides to Nonprofit Careers, and Cathy Wasserman, who wrote some of the chapters in those Guides and our popular “Ask Cathy” column. They’ve recently teamed up to offer trainings, webinars, and retreats to help attendees find careers they’ll love.


Cathy Wasserman and Steve Joiner

In a recent blog post over at 21st Century Worklife, Cathy writes:

You don’t have to sell yourself anymore, force yourself to fit into jobs and organizations, or be three different people: you on the job, you at home, and you looking for a job. Imagine all of the time and energy you’ll be freeing up by not doing work and life “costume changes” day after day.

I talked to Steve recently, who added:

When I speak to job seekers, I tell them two important things:

1. One, you’ve got to ‘own’ your career. No one is going to care about it more than you.

2. If you want the ‘silver bullet’ that will land you your dream job, here it is: You need to do some quality reflection to understand your skills and values and then to figure out how you can really make a difference in the world.

We describe this worklife attitude adjustment as Career Entrepreneurism.

Wondering how to do that self-reflection? If you can make it to New York on April 16-17, you can join Cathy and Steve for a retreat called Reclaiming Work: Realizing Your Potential and Finding Peace of Mind. Follow that link to learn more and to get a $100 discount if you register by March 31.

For more on self-assessment, you can also check out What is Your Career Path in the Idealist Career Center.

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