One hot afternoon in late August, an unlikely group of people converged on a row of houseboats anchored along a Lake Powell beach. They had travelled from places like Utah, or Michigan, or Japan, and they wore swimsuits, or slacks and collared shirts, or Wrangler jeans with boots. Some of them knew each other—at least well enough to wish they had a better memory for names— but many who participate in Redmond’s Lake Powell Leadership Retreats arrive knowing only a few people.
“We can see the anxiety in every group when they arrive,” said Jason Nielsen, who helps organize Redmond’s Lake Powell Leadership Retreats. “It’s a unique experience, arriving at a new place with fifty new faces, but by the end of every trip, people who were strangers just a few days before are laughing and joking together. It’s part of what makes the experience so worthwhile.”
The format of Redmond’s Lake Powell trips is pretty straightforward. The company anchors five houseboats along a beach, and invites Redmond associates and partners, along with their spouses, to stay on the boats for four days at a time. Each trip features opportunities to experience Lake Powell’s landscape in unique ways—participants spend their days water skiing, swimming, hiking, fishing, touring the lake, or simply relaxing in the sun.
With so many unique experiences available, participants are often surprised to discover that the most memorable part of the trip are the group discussions. Every day, participants gather to discuss videos designed to expand their perspective and think about their roles in new ways.
“I was pretty nervous about the discussions,” said one guest whose wife works at Redmond’s Heber office. “I assumed I would be bored, but I was surprised at how much I looked forward to each discussion.”
“There was no pressure to speak up,” said a Redmond partner from the Midwest. “There was no right or wrong answer, no right way to think, no agenda being pushed on the group. Just new ideas that gave me something to think about.”
This year, Redmond hosted six leadership retreats on the lake— two in the spring, and four in early autumn. The trips represent a sizable investment, but it’s an investment that pays good dividends for the company, its associates, and Redmond’s customers.
“It can be easy to miss the point and view our Lake Powell trips as an unnecessary expense,” said Redmond CEO Rhett Roberts. “A lot of companies wouldn’t do them. But from our perspective, it’s an investment in people, in relationships, and in helping each of us become more of who we already are. That kind of growth helps us as individuals, it strengthens our families, and it strengthens our business. We haven’t found a better environment for this kind of learning.”