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Retreat to push forward: Our Team Retreat 2022
Agency Management Backstage 10 March 2023

Retreat to push forward: Our Team Retreat 2022

Happy Mashies smiling on a group picture at the Team Retreat 2022When you hear the word retreat, it’s easy to think of palm trees swaying in the wind, sand under your feet, a coconut in your hand. In short: a vacation feeling. Probably influenced by the numerous yoga retreats that entice you with mental and spiritual time out under the sun of faraway countries.

Literally, retreat means “to withdraw”. As we all know, that can be more than useful in a stressful working day. Especially our agency as a whole, our roles in the team structure, but also the togetherness sometimes come up short in the daily business with remote work and co. So it was time to pack our bags and (almost) all get together for an intensive exchange aka team retreat. Without laptops, without calls, just us.


„a period of group withdrawal for prayer, meditation, study, or instruction under a director“

And instead of getting on a plane for that, unnecessarily increasing our carbon footprint and then longing for the beach all the time, we followed Rainald Grebe’s words: „There are countries where something is happening…and there is Brandenburg“. Let’s go to the fantastic “Speckgürtel” of Berlin! A small outline of what we have worked together here in the idyll of the beautiful Landhaus Wolfsruh follows here.

Pride without prejudice: Self-reflection and roles

The team retreat started with a lot of praise – for ourselves! Miriam solemnly presented our top 3-5 successes of 2022, which we had previously formulated at home. Of course, not without complementing the self-determined pride-bringers with praise from the round. With flushed cheeks, a cuddly feeling in our stomachs and the remnants of a tear or two in our eyes, the retrospective was followed by a look ahead. Or inward?

Three Mashies smile at a workshop at the team retreatUnder the theme “Roles”, everyone was allowed to reflect on their own strengths and abilities. What am I particularly good at? Where do I still want to grow and in which roles would I perhaps like to be perceived more? In this way, we not only learned who makes particularly good salads, but also discovered a great deal of unused potential, interests and, of course, commonalities.

Back in Berlin, we founded various working groups based on these assessments and used the wishes for further training planning.

Looking back is where things happen: Retrospective communication at the Team Retreat

After an invigorating lunch and a bit of fresh winter air, not only the ring, but also the head was open for discussion. For me, this was a particularly exciting part of the team retreat, as I had chosen precisely this format as the training goal for the year: Our first retrospective. The area of communication (processes) was chosen in advance as the main topic. We had collected the stumbling blocks on an anonymous whiteboard. And whoever is now thinking: “Well, you do communication full-time, it can’t be that bad!”, has probably never worked in a team.

A look into the seminar room at the team retreatBecause, as is so often the case, this topic is not about the ability to communicate well at all. Rather, it’s about meeting all needs in the process. Working with so many different types of people, we naturally also had a lot of requirements and wishes, some of which were contradictory. So it’s perfect that the retrospective isn’t just a lot of talk, but always has the goal of working out solutions directly in the group and getting down to business.

This way we not only developed a few new general rules for internal communication together, but also clearly defined which content should take place on which channels. We also improved our meeting culture on the fly. Go Mashies!

Times change, so does Mashup: Corporate DNA under the microscope

In order to function well as a team, you need two things in addition to good characters and processes: a vision, i.e. a common goal that everyone is working towards, and of course strong, irrevocable values that define the basis for working together and unite everyone. Since our last big strategy meeting 2017 in Porto was a few years ago, the mission and goals were starting to get a bit blurry for new employees.

Warm fireplace as a symbol for a corporate campfireSo it was high time to take another look at ourselves as an agency during the team retreat! Did we achieve the goals we set back then? What do we want to hold on to? Where have we perhaps already instinctively made a U-turn and where are we looking in the future?

At the same time, we also put our corporate values to the test again. Miriam, Nora and I had been working on these basic pillars, the heart of the organization so to speak, for quite some time in advance. After all, times change, team constellations change, and Mashup itself, now almost 14 years old, naturally has a different identity than it did five or ten years ago. Values that defined us in the past may no longer be at our core today. So it’s time for an update! Together with the Mashies, we put our values facelift to the test and filled the new attributes with life. Do the changed terms match our agency and our brand? Does everyone feel represented by them and what do the individual areas mean to everyone personally? How and where are they lived? Spoiler Alert: Fortunately, we seem to know the team well, so after the team retreat, we’ll start the next mashup chapter with fresh values.

Images of collaboration

Calm in the Storm: Strengthening Resilience at the Team Retreat

On the last day of our little time-out, we got reinforcement from outside: the wonderful coaches Sonja and Heike from Coaching Laden visited us in the countryside. Together we worked on resilience, that is, our psychological resistance.

Circle of chairs before a workshopBecause no matter how sustainable our HR policy, how fair our capacity planning, and how flexible and needs-oriented our work design, there will always be periods of stress in an agency. Our brave consultants are regularly faced with a metaphorical storm of tasks. In addition, there are external influences, such as wars, pandemics or human catastrophes, which burden our minds and, of course, also have an impact on our work.

Thanks to the productive workshop, we now not only each know our personal energy givers and eaters and which of them are within our control. We have also directly decided on changes in the team with which we can promote the motivators and reduce the nasty stresses.

The sun sets, the team spirit lives high!

Of course, in addition to input, vision and working groups, bonding should not be neglected. For this, however, we did not choose any classic or even clichéd trust or team-building tasks. We strengthened togetherness in our very own way.

Look into the kitchen, Mashies chatting and laughing at the team retreatWhile we treated ourselves to a delicious local caterer for breakfast and lunch, for example, we deliberately decided to cook the dinners together. This is not only fun, but also a wonderful and informal group activity. Only the estimation of the required quantities needed, we should perhaps practice again. In any case, no one remained hungry.

A team member fills a plate at the shared dinner tableIn the best storytelling manner, we also put our survival skills to the test à la „7 versus Wild“ in the great program item “Team Fun with Nora” and let the eerily beautiful wasteland of Brandenburg come alive in fictional true crime and sci-fi cases. Mulled wine, games and many evening conversations made the togetherness complete.

Wanna join the next team retreat? Check out our career page!

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