(Re)building relationships & trust, with stories.

I just came back from a three-day strategic retreat in Quebec. And I have to say that I was reluctant to make the trip from Vancouver Island. It just seemed like an unnecessarily big investment of time and resources, after over two years of the "convenience" of online meetings. I was wrong, big time. Not only were the meetings significantly more productive than any we'd held online. But I also discovered unexpected new opportunities, relationships and expertise that will help me both personally and professionally. Plus, I had fun - something that's been missing from online meetings.

The secret, of course, was that we had time and space together to share stories. We travelled together, went on a field trip to plant trees, dined together, went for walks and swims, and lounged around an evening fire together. For almost half of us, it was our first chance to meet our colleagues face-to-face. For others, it was the first time they'd seen each other in person in three years. Though we'd continued to meet quarterly to deal with ongoing business, we hadn't been able to spend time building relationships and trust – two critical components of any successful team.

To do that, we spontaneously shared three kinds of stories.