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In this episode, Steli and Hiten discuss the importance of company retreats. A retreat is a valuable part of a company and should be planned and executed well—start to finish. Listen as Steli and Hiten share their own company retreat experiences.  They reveal what worked, what didn’t, and provide pointed suggestions on how to get the most value out of the company retreat experience.  


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:10 – Steli introducing company retreats and its value

00:44 – Steli just returned from their team retreat

02:19 – Most of the companies that are doing retreats nowadays are remote companies

02:30 – Retreats are valuable to the team because employees get an opportunity to have those personal interactions

03:20 – Retreats that are similar to vacations don’t really work out well and are not too productive in regards to team building

03:47 – A retreat is also a cultural experience

04:24 – Make sure that retreats are culturally aligned with the company

05:05 – A “good retreat is how a company started”

05:30 – Steli shares how a retreat helped him and his co-founders

07:20 – How a retreat changed the purpose of Steli’s new startup

08:00 – Steli describes the spectrum of retreats—from working all day long to it being a vacation

08:58 – “What are we trying to accomplish in this entire retreat?” Assess and plan each day intentionally

09:16 – “There are small things that have a really big impact”—separating where people sleep and work

09:57 – Steli shares why he chooses a coworking space for the team

10:41 – Have a theme for the retreat

11:10 – “We’ve gotten really good at prioritizing”—you can only accomplish so much so having a theme keeps your work goals focused

12:35 – During mealtimes, Steli’s employees would be assigned to different team members to share a meal together

12:50 – Steli provides three questions that they can ask each other over lunch

13:40 – Make sure the members are getting the value of the experience

14:14 – A retreat is not just about going out to some other location

15:59 – Evaluate the impact of the retreat and make a more challenging one for the next time

16:45 – Hiten shares an experience of a retreat where they brought a customer on stage to share their difficult experiences with the product

17:16 – Hiten’s company worked immediately to address those difficulties and fix what the customer wanted as quickly as they could

17:47 – Organize customer visits to get that direct feedback, even within a retreat

18:40 – Reach out to Steli and Hiten and share your company team tips and experiences


3 Key Points:


Be intentional with the planning of a retreat—from where people sleep to the coffee on tap next door.

Evaluate your retreat and whether you hit your goals when it’s over and make a more challenging one next time.

Create a balance between work goals and personal interaction and fun to make it a valuable experience.


Steli Efti: Everyone, this is Steli Efti.


Hiten Shah: And, this is Hiten Shah.


Steli Efti: And, in today's episode of The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about how to do team retreats, company retreats and how to do the well – why you should even consider doing them, how companies do them – how to do wrong, how to do the well. What is the practical value of them? I just want to explore the city with you – one of the reasons why I want to talk about this with you Hiten today is that I just returned from our last team retreat of the year. We were – we just spent a week in Santa Barbara.


It was beautiful – beautiful weather and we spent a week there with 20 people. This team and our team has grown quite significantly from eight people in January to 20 people. It’s still a tiny team but it's going quite a lot for us and this just ...

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