July 14

4 reasons why busy leaders invest two days in a CEO retreat

In June 2023, my Rivendell group of world-class CEOs and entrepreneurs reconvened in beautiful Chantilly, just north of Paris, for a CEO retreat that mixes deep personal/leadership development and strategic/exponential thinking.

It's a big investment for these leaders. I mean: two full days out of their business... just to swan around a luxury hotel and its environs?!

Why do they keep coming back for more? Is it just for the beautiful surroundings, the peaceful morning run, the delightful company, the delicious food and wine?

Chateau Castle

Hell no! Here are four specific benefits that these top CEOs identified, in our debrief session after the CEO retreat, as key reasons why it’s so important from them to invest time in this way.

1. Innovative business ideas – from unexpected areas

There were energetic discussions around the synergies, overlaps and parallels with each other's businesses. On several occasions joint-venture ideas were bubbling up, and the excitement was palpable. Indeed, every year in Rivendell we see business collaborations and partnerships emerge.

Over to you: How can you get yourself into a room of senior leaders from very different sectors and geographies, so create fresh ideas?

2. Deep, trusted relationships – surprisingly quickly

I work hard at making sure the group goes way deeper than surface "how to", transactional tips. During the course of each retreat I love seeing how these often-isolated top leaders connect with each other at a deep level, far more than they thought they'd be able to. The result? A supportive network where you can be as big and as messy as you like.

Over to you: Who can you speak to on a deep, vulnerable level - who truly "gets" you and your world?

3. Practical leadership strategies – for pressing issues

We started the retreat with laser-focused collaboration to solve each other's pressing leadership challenges, and we ended the retreat by looking again at the most tangled, complex leadership issues each leader would face as they re-entered their business. Result: a lot of confidence, clarity, and concrete actions on topics that would make a big difference, fast.

Over to you: How much space are you creating in your life for focused thinking on your most pressing, strategic issues?

4. An expanded sense of the possible – without the frustration

As John Maxwell puts it, "the leader is the lid" on the organisation. If you don't have a huge vision for yourself and for your business, who else will?

Very often, successful leaders actually limit their own ambition because of the sense of frustration they feel about unfulfilled goals, or the risk of failing to achieve such lofty ambitions. But in the retreat our CEO learned to think bigger than ever before - and to avoid the negative emotions that typically come with thinking so expansively. 

Over to you: What impossible goal would you secretly love to pursue, but feel is completely unrealistic?

How will you find your breakthrough?

All four of these areas – fresh innovation, deep relationships, sharpened leadership strategies, and commitment to a greater personal vision – are examples of high ROI investments that lead to breakthrough results. Which is why the world’s top CEOs make time to get out of operations, rise above the weeds, and open themselves up to serendipity, strategy, creativity and connection in this way.

If you’re curious about whether our Rivendell CEO community might be a good fit for you, please find out more and perhaps schedule a preliminary chat.


PLUS, whenever you're ready, why not hit the accelerator on your journey of exponential impact by working with us, or by picking up a copy of Making TIME For Strategy?

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