Insight on Business

June 2012

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INSIGHT ON TEAM BUILDING By Nikki Kal l io The retreat within Companies contemplate spirituality in corporate outings Y Flip charts and Post-its are boring. You're looking for a more meaningful experience. Are there alternatives? Sure. Some area organizations have ou're planning to take your team on a corporate retreat. Paintball doesn't appeal to you. Rope courses aren't your thing. turned to local spiritual retreat centers and other kinds of experiences like meditation classes to help their team make individual connections and to recharge from a hectic daily pace. Perfect, right? Depends. While companies affiliated with religious organizations will have no problem setting up outings at spiritual retreat centers, secular businesses must approach the idea more carefully. Some area leaders have simply struck out on their own and brought back to their workplaces the ideas and mindset that a spiritual retreat can provide. "I think when people learn new things together, it creates very strong bonds," says Dan Neufelder, CEO and president of Affinity Health System. "I've been to retreats before where we've had people climb over 14-foot walls. I've been at the retreat where you fall backwards and have people catch you and all that kind of stuff, and I've never felt that the kind of bonds that are built are as strong as when you're learning about something new, or maybe learning more about yourself and others. affiliated health system – holds annual retreats at Monte Alverno in Affinity – which is a Catholic- " 24 | INSIGHT • June 2012 Appleton for various departments in its organization. Neufelder and his leadership team completed their third annual retreat in April. This year's topic explored the leadership style of St. Clare of Assisi; last year's topic covered the idea of "humility, how to stay grounded and authentic, Neufelder says. "For me, it's a chance for people to really reflect," Neufelder says. "We " which was about completely impossible. But sometimes that can be the make people turn in their cell phones and pagers. We put them at the front desk. We assure people that if the hospital's burning down, they'll know about it, but we try to get people to turn off for a day. Some retreat centers offer weekend- long silent retreats, which in today's constantly connected world can seem It's hard to get people to do that. " very thing people need. Bill Raaths, chairman of the board at Great Northern Corporation in Appleton, has been attending silent retreats at Jesuit Retreat Center in Oshkosh on his own for about 16 years. The weekend usually starts on Thursday night and runs through Sunday morning. "When I first talk to people about it, they say, 'A silent retreat? How can you possibly not talk for two and a half days?'" says Raaths. "But that really is an important part of it. You don't feel the need to make small talk or get into general conversations. You leave that behind and immerse yourself in other thoughts and other readings. As far as I'm concerned, that's a very essential part, the silence component." www. insightonbusiness.com

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