Leading leaders to lead

An officer team can make or break the success a chapter finds within its POA and the National Chapter Award.

Through my nine years advising FFA chapters, my best teams were not necessarily the smartest or most talented students…but the ones that worked best together and had a MOTIVATION to impact their chapter!

And this motivation and ability to jive stems directly from your ability to train them at your officer retreat.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I find value in a two or three day officer retreat. My students just didn’t have that availability during the summer. With sports, vacations, work, fair, I rarely could get my 11 person officer team together for two to three days in a row.

So we had our officer retreat at the school. By making it one day, I really prioritized what I put onto the agenda, as I didn’t have time to waste with my team.

I organized the agenda into three parts: 

(1) Leadership Training - students needed to truly know their teammates and how their teammates’ skills and weaknesses as a leader could positively or negatively impact the team. Through icebreakers, team building exercises and personality tests (Enneagram is my favorite!), students got to know their place within the team.

(2) Goals and Expectations - the team would compile 10 goals they had for the chapter, as well as personal FFA goals. We would also discuss expectations for the team, expectations for other officers and expectations for me as the advisor...I think this is key so students can express what they need from you to be successful!

(3) POA Development and Organization - arguably the most important aspect of the officer retreat is determining the activities included in the Program of Activities. I always had students look BIG PICTURE when determining the activities to include in the POA. What are the problems you see in our community or school? What can be fixed? How can we design an activity to support this need in our community or school? These activities were then delegated to a pair of officers who felt drawn to the passion project and they were the committee chairs for the year. Officers would then use Asana, a work management platform (read the blog post HERE) to break down the activity, set completion dates and assign tasks to other officers, members or the advisor. 

By hyper-focusing on the most important aspects of running the officer team and chapter, students were able to stay on track for the 6.5 hour officer retreat to successfully guide the chapter to the national top 10 stage three times and the top chapter in Ohio three times.

Grab a copy of the Officer Retreat Agenda I used last summer HERE and stay tuned for future blog posts and resources available in our online store on retreats and officer management tools!