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John Fall 2014

Page history last edited by Aisha 6 years, 2 months ago



Team John was approached by Lotta Angst, Director of Strategic Planning for Ottoman Empire. Ms. Angst was seeking counsel for her and her event coordination team in planning a meeting between her company and Emmerdant Chaise, a furniture company headquartered in France that Ottoman Empire will be acquiring in the next few months.


Our team has been tasked to advise the event coordination team on the design and implementation of an effective meeting plan. The event will take place in late November and our team is advising that Ms. Angst’s team keep the Galena, IL location that was originally proposed.


Representatives from six different functional areas of both companies will attend the event. Some will make the trip to Galena while others will attend virtually.


Per the direction received by Ms. Angst, Team John has designed a three and a half day retreat focused on agenda, technology, and logistics, for employees of Ottoman Empire and Emmerdant Chaise with a triple aim:


1)   Build relationships and shared culture among functional area peers from both firms

2)   Explore ways functional area peers can share knowledge to find synergies and best practices that will make our firm stronger

3)   Find processes and systems that can potentially be consolidated across the two firms


Our goal is that meeting participants will walk away from this retreat feeling as a unified team and with enough quality data to allow the merger process to begin successfully. Below are the links to each one of the days’ agendas. Further down in the document are important notes about the meetings designed and an overview of the day that breaks out the sessions into the tools used to engage team members and induce collaboration.



Meeting Notes:


  • We recommend work team meetings be moderated by professional meeting moderators.

  • The group of meeting facilitators should meet with the organizing committee before the retreat begins to understand the business and the goals of each of our designed sessions.

  • Those joining the work sessions virtually will receive this agenda one week ahead of time and must commit to being available at the appropriate time to participate in the meeting. Facilitator will dial them in.

  • The key members from each work team and company (those that will meet at the end of the day to further refine and the material produced) will be selected prior to the start of the retreat by the organizing committee and informed so appropriately.



Team Breakdown:




Technology Used: 


Below are the technologies that we have used throughout this retreat:


Atlassian Confluence:


  • Skype is a video conferencing tool that we will be using to connect virtual people into our meetings.
  • Link: http://www.skype.com/en/


  • MeetingSphere is a meeting productivity solution that we will be using to collect anonymous information during a meeting.   
  • Link: http://www.meetingsphere.com/


Microsoft Word:



For more details about usage of these tools please see the Meeting agenda.



Retreat Overview: 



DAY 1:


Agenda Overview : 

  • The first part of the day is meant to get everyone acquainted with each other, the agenda, and the tools going to be be used for the following four days.
  • The second part of the day is meant to explore the differences and similarities between the two organizational cultures and also identify the different areas of culture that matter most so that the documentation can serve as a foundation for consolidating culture in the future. 



  • Complete profiles of all attendees 
  • A ranked list of key cultural areas and explanations for high and low ratings 


Thinklet Overview:  

  • LeafHopper is a thinklet used to determine how all the participants in the room feel about the different aspects of culture collecting as many comments as possible and in a short amount of time. Also, this thinklet enables participants to contribute in the areas that feel matter most and thats  another reason why this thinklet was chosen.
  • Fastfocus is a thinklet used to quickly pull a list of key cultural area topics at a useful abstract level from all the divergent topics brought about in the previous meeting.
  • Strawpoll is a thinklet used to identify the key cultural areas, assess the different concepts, and measure consensus within the group so that the areas where consolidation is needed can be evaluated.
  • Crowbar is a thinklet used to uncover the reasons behind the differences in culture and engage discussion between all the participants so that they can talk through the areas that have low consensus.


Lunch and Dinner:

  • The lunch and dinner venues are located within the resort the first day so that people can get used to the resort location, get settled, and not have to worry about commuting anywhere after a very long first day.






Agenda Overview:

  • Explore ways functional area peers can share knowledge to find synergies and best practices that will make our firm stronger
  • In the first morning session each of the six functional teams will we will focus on finding the best practices in both organizations
  • In the second morning session we will sort through the results of our first session and choose the strongest best practices
  • We will have an open lunch in the main ball room of the resort meant for the entire team to continue to get familiar with each other
  • The first afternoon session will focus on finding synergies and opportunities for collaboration within each of the 6 functional areas
  • In the second afternoon session we will sort through the results of the previous session and choose the strongest synergies and opportunities for collaboration



  • Recommendations for processes or systems within functional areas that might be merged into a single international system 


Thinklet Overview:

  • Freebrainstorm is a thinklet used to generate ideas and get feedback on ideas others in your team have generated. It is meant for groups of more than 5 and is designed to produce a lot of ideas enriched by others comment

  • BucketBriefing is a thinklet used when you have a large amount of ideas produced from other sessions that needs to be sorted and organized

  • Could-Be-Should-Be is a thinklet used when you have data generated in previous sessions that needs to be understood better and arranged in a hierarchy


Lunch and Dinner:

  • Lunch will last one hour and it will be a buffet with options that accommodate everyone’s eating habits and preferences. It will be in-house in the resort to maximize working time
  • Dinner will be at Fischer Lane Lounge and will include a bowling tournament. Fischer Lane Lounge is in Dubuque, Iowa. It is a 20-minute drive in chartered buses. The bowling tournament and generous prices are designed to foster cross team building and engagement




Agenda Overview:

  • Discuss the processes and systems that were considered on Day 2, and figure out the high level implementation process, timeline and risks associated with them.
  • Day 3 has been divided into four meetings, three of which are going to be for completing the goal of day 3, and the last meeting is to review and reflect on the results of the previous 3 meetings. This method gives opportunity to each team to work separately and provide individual’s expertise into their knowledge areas to achieve the quality results and best estimate. The last meeting will provide a chance for each team to review other team’s results and way in their concerns, suggestions and provide feedback. This meeting will also provide a high level understanding to everyone including the executive team members.



  • High level implementation process documentation for selected systems and processes

  • Implementation timeline document

  • A document highlighting risk associated with the merge process


Thinklet Overview: 

  • Leafhopper: This thinklet is used to have participants generate a high level process, timeline and risks for the processes and systems that were considered for a merger on day 2. Leafhopper gives opportunity to each participant to work on his or her expert area. This was we insure that higher quality work is being produced in short period of time.
  • ReviewReflect: This thinklet is used when all group have worked on their department individually and then communicate their results to the rest of the team as well as management team. This will in the end give a revised document that more closely meets to the day goal.


Lunch and Dinner:

  • Lunch for this day will be a special treat to a famous Galena's european restaurant. This will also be a great team building exercise since people who traveled here from Europe will have things to talk about “American-European food”.
  • At the end of the day people will have a chance to go to Galena's one of the best local brewing companies. Since Galena Brewing Company is located in downtown Galena, people will have a chance to visit the Galena city and go to different stores and bars after dinner. This will give Europeans to see nightlife in a small American town. It will be a great cultural experience for the people who are visiting the States for the first time.






Agenda Overview:

  • The  fourth day focuses on hosting a fun activity where employees from both companies can get to know each other and form relationships in a social environment. In this activity, employees will form two mixed groups and answer fun trivia questions to win gold medals and a shared team trophy while wearing funny t-shirts.  
  • Employee's will have time to discuss the events of the previous four days and also submit surveys that provide management with feedback. Surveys are a significant tool to gain insight into whether your employees are familiar with the company strategy and ready to execute it or not. They will also help the company look into employee engagement of the meetings and get ideas on how to improve the upcoming merger implementation process. (Anon.2009)



  • Consolidated employee feedback regarding the events of the retreat 



Meeting Agenda:










Team John has designed a three and a half day retreat in Galena, Illinois for some of the key members of six functional areas of merging companies Ottoman Empire and Emmerdant Chaise. The sessions designed are intended to cover culture, synergies, best practices, and processes and systems eligible for consolidation.


Team John is certain that the agenda, technologies, and logistics we are recommending to that Ms. Lotta Angst and her event coordination team will make their event a success.






Team Members:


  • Jorge Aguilar
  • Aisha Ahmed
  • Abdulrahman Alahmad
  • Parth Soni









  • Briggs, R., & De Vreede, G. (2001). ThinkLets: Building Blocks for Concerted Collaboration. 






Comments (1)

Danny Mittleman said

at 2:47 pm on Dec 6, 2014

only issue I see is that you are planning to use a lot of different technologies, all of which have to be both learned and managed.

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