Frigid (dangerous) temperatures forced a client’s executive team retreat indoors for fitness. That’s when their Seven Fs creativity came alive.

Overnight, the Minnesota temperature dropped to a windchill of 21 below zero Fahrenheit. So we had to change our plans. What surprised me most is half of the hospital executive team, who was attending the annual leadership alignment retreat, still wanted to walk a mile around the resort’s lake – in the frigid cold. That’s the magnetic power of including a break for “fitness” into leadership team retreats.

Disappointed, but not disheartened

“I was seriously bummed when I realized it was too cold to walk around the lake,” the Chief Quality Officer exclaimed. “That’s one of my favorite parts of your retreats, even in Minnesota winter.” She threatened to do the walk herself, but her colleagues pulled her back into sanity.

So, the creativity kicked in, and the group decided to create their own aerobics class in the resort’s gymnasium. Because, as she just said, the tradition of taking a “Fitness Break” as part of their off-site retreat has transformational value.

The Seven Fs and Good Leadership

An impromptu aerobics class broke out like a flash mob on the resort’s gymnasium floor.

Over the past 9 years, clients have told us the most valuable service we provide is facilitated Leadership Alignment retreats. We design these retreats around this philosophy: the highest performing teams develop a genuine care and concern for each other – both personally and professionally. To help make that connection, we organize the retreat to include activities related to our proprietary tool: The Seven Fs Wheel. The Seven Fs are: faith, family, finances, fitness, friends, fun, & future. 

“Fitness Breaks” accomplish so many objectives at once:

  • Movement is good for fitness, in the same way sitting is bad for fitness.
  • Exercise makes us happy, and drives away the feeling that we are “stuck in a retreat.”
  • And endorphins from fitness open our mind and spirit to rigorous debate – in the same ways caffeine makes embracing tension difficult.

To no one’s surprise, the afternoon exercise lifted spirits and created great energy for returning to our leadership alignment work.

Blending for life

Behind the Fitness Break is our philosophy about blending together as many of The Seven Fs as possible into any one activity. In watching their impromptu routine, it was obvious they were blending fitness with satisfying work on friends, fun, & future. And did I say it also makes them happy? That’s important for leadership and for a good life.

Good leaders understand that it’s easier to radiate goodness, when their lives are in a good place. And they embrace “Fitness Breaks” as a standard operating procedure to keep their mind and spirit open for good leadership.

Please share with me: How do you stay energized for good leadership?