Retreat of One: Is it Time?

Jun 16, 2015

Two of my favorite school leaders wrote me earlier this year about feeling completely overwhelmed toward the end of the school year.

On the one hand, they face the immediacy of state and district testing, hiring new staff, report cards, parent conferences, student field trips, dance performances, and staff evaluations. And at the same time they also have to start planning for next year: making decisions, ordering supplies, determining policies, and planning summer training. Add in a few unplanned meetings and a case of the sniffles, and things go south fast. #beenthere

Corey C., a school leader at a 6th – 12th grade school in Houston, describes why she needed a Retreat of One:

I’m Together enough to know that I needed to get it Together for the rest of this semester and to plan for the summer. So, I have actually planned a Corey-only retreat to refresh my systems, recommit to Weekly Round-Ups and my Flexy, and do some long-term strategic planning for my leadership team and campus.

I know Corey well, and her daily systems are incredibly strong, but she was on to something about the long-term. The best leaders I see take time to both pause to plan AND make a plan to unbury when the going gets rough. So, what did she do?

A few weeks prior, I blocked off a Friday to be off-campus, carefully planned an agenda for myself with the help of my manager, and headed to a coffee shop.

Corey’s plans included:

  • Updating her Priority Plan for the remainder of the year
  • Scrubbing her Outlook calendar for the next three months to ensure all standing items were still relevant
  • Planning her leadership team meeting scope and sequence for the next semester
  • Planning her administrative team retreat

What I love about Corey’s Retreat of One is that it is proactive and well planned. She could feel herself getting buried and came up with a way and the time to get ahead again. Corey advises you to do the same:

I needed something to kick-start a recommitment to balance, my Priority Plan, and my sanity! When systems are unhealthy, take a day that is NOT a weekend… and get it Together!


It made me think I need a Retreat of One soon. Anyone else?