With a focus on the South Georgia State College’s (SGSC) new strategic plan, Moving Forward, faculty and staff gathered for the 12th annual leadership retreat at Okefenokee State Park in Waycross, on May 22, 2019. Wendi Jenkins and Chuck Powell from the University System of Georgia’s Leadership and Institutional Development office facilitated the retreat and worked with participants during the day on communication, leadership and recognizing individual strengths using the Emergenetics assessment tool.
Two weeks prior to the retreat, all 29 participants from the SGSC Administrative Council were asked to complete a questionnaire for their Emergenetics Profile. According to Emergenetics, “….this communication tool advances team efficiency and effectiveness. It is a combination of characteristics that emerge from life experiences, plus the genetics with which individuals were born and is a valid, proven way to understand one’s unique thinking and behavioral traits.” The Emergenetics tool was selected for the retreat because it is grounded in scientific research, designed to improve communication and teamwork and focused on improving workplace performance.
Institutional and individual Emergenetics profiles were shared at the retreat which highlighted recognizable preferences in the ways people think and behave. Facilitator Jenkins shared a quote from Emergentics International, LLC, “You are like a diamond with many facets of which make up who you are”. Each participant was encouraged to use this information to enhance their communication and team management skills.
After lunch, the SGSC leadership team participated in a team building exercise using an escape room activity followed by a review of SGSC’s mission, vision and values. This will allow the leadership team to remain focused over the next three months on moving the strategic plan forward.
Escape rooms have been found to be effective team-building exercises because of its immersive, role-playing tasks. Participants are “locked” inside a room and must solve the mystery inside within a set amount of time in order to be “set free”. The groups experienced their adventure at Escape Quest in Waycross. Some were challenged by Area 51 and others by the The Workshop of Leonardo da Vinci, but all escaped successfully!
The retreat ended with a commitment from each participant to reflect on their next steps in using their new knowledge and training to enhance their leadership and work at SGSC. SGSC President Ingrid Thompson-Sellers concluded the retreat by saying, “I thank all participants for taking part in today’s retreat. I enjoyed getting to know more about each individual’s preferences, so we can work more effectively to move SGSC forward.”