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Here are things that all seem good in planning meetings that make your company look cheap, not smart, and very uncool: Entertainment is great, but make it relevant to the younger people.Too many corporate retreats offer entertainment right out of the CEO's IPod playlist.The best retreats I've ever attended started with a senior executive, speaking without notes, saying that he'd made some real mistakes, and is here to learn how to be a better leader, along with everyone else in the company. The true meaning of education is kindling a fire, not layering more information on what people already know.Take a look at the 7 things we wish we could tell the boss. If so, spending some with him or her prior to the event will go a long way to making your retreat, and your company, more vibrant. Real education is a journey in which people test and possibly discard, old assumptions.Learning principles are far more valuable than learning tactics or tips. Use the retreat to develop and defeat your perfect competitor. If run well, people will leave the activity with a sense of the competitive landscape and an idea of how to do better in serving the customer. If people leave your retreat with a renewed sense of what the company stands for, you will have done more good than by showing people the details of the latest financial strategy.Here's a single idea that will make your next retreat one people talk about for years (in a positive sense). The best retreats I've ever attended had a values discovery session, followed by a "develop and defeat your perfect competitor" segment. Avoid the desire to tell people about new HR policies.

Scott's comfortable life mooching off his friends and roommate is thrown into chaos when American ninja delivery girl Ramona V.

Unless your company values stale entertainment and cheapness, then please take these suggestions to heart. If they're not, the downer mood is more contagious than the flu.

Take some time to do some career planning yourself.

It is not a list of 20 bullets on a Power Point slide.

With this definition of education in mind, have part of the retreat focus on learning some cutting edge ideas.

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