A pharmaceutical company was bringing together their newly
formed 18-person sales team for a five day retreat to develop
trust, build rapport and strategize for the coming year. The
sales manager wanted a retreat in an exclusive lodge where they
wouldn't be disturbed by other guests. To start the retreat,
he wanted to have an outdoor adventure that would completely
wow them. We chose a remote mountain lodge in the Canadian Rockies
and took them on a spectacular heli-hiking adventure.
After greeting them at the airport, we drove them to Mt.
Engadine Lodge near the continental divide of the Canadian
Rockies. We had booked the lodge exclusively for our guests
so they would have privacy and minimal disturbance. The drive
there goes through spectacular scenery, ever deeper into the
the evening, our professional mountain guides arrived and oriented
the participants on what to expect the next day on our outdoor
adventure. Since we were planning to walk on a glacier, the
guides brought along the necessary equipment. Crampons to walk
on the ice, harnesses and ropes for safety and appropriate boots
for the terrain. The anticipation was mounting.
The next morning we got an early start and made our way to
the heli-pad. The helicopter settled in beside the waiting group,
blasting them with a downdraft of crisp mountain air. The
view from the helicopter is spectacular. A couple of heli-shuttles
later and everyone was at our gathering point in the high alpine
of the continental divide.
After a short orientation, we began our walk across limestone
tablelands and past picturesque waterfalls
towards the "Wizard's Hat" in the distance where one
of the guides was waiting with our lunch.
After lunch, we started the main challenge of the day, hiking
up the glacier behind our lunch spot. We started by hiking
across the glacial rubble at the toe of the glacier. When we
reached the glacier, the guides roped everyone together with
their harnesses and attached the crampons to everyone's boots.
Once on the glacier, it
suddenly hit everyone how tiny they were in this vast landscape.
The glacial landscape and the obstacles
it contained provided a lot of metaphors for the new territory
the company was exploring in its business.
At the end of an exhilarating and challenging day, the whole
crew made it back down in time to get on the helicopter for
the shuttle back to the lodge.
In the evening we debriefed the day and distilled the learning
in a "Capture The Learning" session.
Then the true work of the retreat was about to begin. The
group spent the next 3 days in closed-door meetings in their
exclusive mountain paradise. Sessions on the veranda in the
mountain sun, discussions over gourmet meals and relaxation
in the hot tub under the stars all contributed to the success
of the retreat. The local wildlife even participated when a
moose and her calf decided
to show up.
The last night included one of our special "Mountain
Quest Interactive Dinners" that we planned with the chef.
The group dons chef's hats and aprons and helps
the chef in creating a delicious appetizer while learning
new cooking techniques and recipes. Our hallmark is the use
of authentic local produce and cuisine. Air dried buffalo, Alberta
corn, locally grown herbs and vegetables in season and Alberta
beef all contributed to the authenticity of the meal.
At the end of their retreat they were energized, happy, motivated
and ready to work together as a cohesive team.