Tuesday, October 19, 2010

2010 CRFPO Retreat

The Columbia River Fisheries Program Office recently completed an off-site, two-day retreat. The retreat focus was on breaking down team barriers and improving our inter-office communication and collaboration. We also thought about climate change and identified office activities and projects to help address that huge problem looming in front of us. A number of great ideas and solutions were generated. But the retreat was much more than that.

On the morning of second day it became clear to me. I knew the office environment was pretty darn good already, heck I’ve been in the office now approaching 20 years, but I recognized that the office was evolving into something approaching phenomenal. What was phenomenal was seeing staff mix together into groups they do not regularly work with and coming up with creative ideas and solutions to problems. What was phenomenal was seeing and hearing from staff who do not normally speak up and at times speaking quite eloquently. What was phenomenal was hearing ideas and solutions from younger staff. I already knew that these folks were smart, but I also recognized that they will carry on our natural resource mission much further than what I thought was possible.

We still have a lot of work to do to implement our creative ideas from the retreat, but overall I would say it was quite successful. A number of factors led to that success, those being the off-site location, the neutral/professional skilled facilitation, the openness of staff, the openness of the Project Leadership, and the preparation and on-site organization led by our administrative staff. Thank you.

Submitted by Doug Olson

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