How a Facilitated Brainstorming Retreat unfolded in a unique outcome

It is a real joy to be enthusiastically creative when games, teamwork activities, human interaction and nature are involved. “Creativity takes courage” said Henri Matisse.

Cyprus-Germany Business Association, under the auspices of Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KEVE), asked me to facilitate a Brainstorming Retreat. The purpose was to further define, refine and formulate the strategic objectives of the Association, its role and policy, the ensuing areas of activities and its resulting activities.

This is the first time a bilateral Business Association under the auspices of C.C.C.I. (KEVE) has organized a brainstorming activity to clarify its strategic direction.

In order for me to get the group together, maintain participants’ connection and reach the goals, I needed an activity room, a casual atmosphere, a remote location and a structured set of activities and games.

Cyprus-Germany Business Association (CGBA) chose Ayii Anargyri Natural Healing SPA Resort in Miliou village. It was an unprecedented event at the SPA Resort. The owners and their team led by Roxana Theocharous were kind enough to accommodate my request for specific details.

Therefore, on the 20th of October, we headed to Miliou for the two-day Facilitated Brainstorming Retreat of CGBA: “Defining the role and future activities of our Association”.

My objective was to bond the team present with me in the activity room for two days, in order for everyone to be actively engaged and thus, effectively align the Association’s Vision, Mission and Values with its strategy.

Richard Branson said: “Two heads are definitely better than one and by brainstorming as a team and sourcing ideas from each other, you have a better chance of coming up with a strategy that will allow your business to overcome a setback or challenge.”

Eight Board Members from Cyprus-Germany Business Association participated in the Brainstorming Retreat: Stefan Nolte (CGBA President and Managing Director of Shanda Consult), Captain Eberhard Koch (CGBA Vice-President and Chairman, CEO & Partner of OL Shipping Group), Jochen Niemann (General Manager of Londa Hotel), Beate Christeleit (Owner of TLM-LAB), Melany Nicolaou (Senior Corporate Administrator of Shanda Consult), Ivanka Pittelkau (Managing Partner of Nauticus Trading), Marios Loucaides (Managing Partner of Rödl & Partner Cyprus) and Michael Pnevmaticos (Marketing & Corporate Sales Director of Sixt Cyprus). C.C.C.I. (KEVE) was represented by Alexandros Ioannides.

I set up multiple interaction tools to foster teamwork and creative ideas between the Association Members. We worked hard and laughed, we shared stories, thoughts, experiences and history related to the Association and both countries, Cyprus and Germany.  Thinking groups were formed and at the end of the Brainstorming Retreat, Cyprus-Germany Business Association had successfully defined its Vision, Mission, Values, Behaviours, Strategic Objectives, Goals, Areas of Activities and its own Slogan!

That was a unique outcome within a short time.

The new Vision of the Association is: “To safeguard and enhance the image of Cyprus and Germany, create meaningful cooperation, become influential in politics of public interest which we represent and provide professional and educational support to our members and the public”.

Its new Mission is defined as follows: “We want to create awareness of the Association while bringing people together, adding value to our members and enhancing business relationships”.

The Association also identified its five core Values: “Commitment, Respect, Trust, Transparency and Creativity”.

The CGBA Strategic Objectives for the next two years are the following:

  1. Promote Cyprus and Germany and increase awareness for both countries and their values;
  2. Improve cooperation and commitment between members;
  3. Thrive for the success of the Association and its members by sharing best practices;
  4. Foster relationships through interactive communication and dialogue.

The Association also created its own Slogan: “Steam ahead, make new ideas happen!”

“Defining the role and future activities of our Association” was a great success and all its goals were reached.

An incredible amount of knowledge was shared and every person who was present in the activity room learnt something about others, life, business and themselves.

We constantly strive to create a sense of belonging in our teams, across every Organization. When I look back at last week, I am happy I got to know the participants’ inspirational accomplishments, each one of them in their area of expertise. I was proud of their creativity, responsibility and commitment to their Association. Their sense of belonging was impressive and they all participated in the Retreat to support each other and the Association.

When there is will power, every unsettled situation can be changed. With dedication, we can draw a roadmap and become motivated, empowered by the support of others around us.

Everyone felt much stronger and committed because the strategic direction was the product of working together. All participants took time out of their weekend, family and friends, in order to meet in a beautiful remote location, with very limited Internet connection, so that progress can be made.

During these two days, we experienced the value of cooperation, discipline, commitment and time. But most importantly we learnt than nothing is impossible! When there is a will to find clarity and the right framework for it is available, people can achieve every goal they have in mind.

Henry Ford said: “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success”.
I lived one of the most memorable teamwork experiences last week. When the purpose is clear and commitment to the team is strong, people can go a long way to get together. When they are inspired and motivated to reach their goals, they will stay together and will share their thoughts, their mutual respect and their trust. This is how success can be reached.
You can do very little on your own. When you seek cooperation with people around you, you can go together a long way.

And keep this in mind: “If you don’t know exactly where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?” - Steve Maraboli.

Muriel Matta

Do you want to know how we did it?
Do you wish to achieve the same results?  
Get in touch with me!

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Muriel Matta (BSc, MSc, MPhil, Cert CTT Practitioner) is the Founder of Maravilhosa.
She is a multilingual Human Resources Management expert, with extensive cross-cultural experience, spanning 26 years in MENA, Europe and CIS.
Through her work with Organizations and Individuals, she helps solve the  toughest HR challenges by customizing unique training and coaching solutions to inspire change, positive thinking and transformation.
Muriel can be contacted via email: Muriel@maravilhosa.net



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