Beyond the Ballroom

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Beyond the Ballroom

Colorado is a magnificent destination to drive business outcomes.


By Dean Savoca, M.Ed., BCC, CSP, Savoca Performance Group


With the world open again, businesses are flocking to Colorado with their teams to take advantage of our stunning vistas, our incredible weather, and our world class hospitality. And for good reason. There’s no place like Colorado to clear the mind, sharpen the senses, and set lofty goals for the future.


Meeting planners are tasked with creating memorable experiences while delivering on business outcomes. Taking a team into nature for an outdoor or team-building activity—a frequent request from clients—sharpens problem-solving and trust-building skills that participants will continue to use when they get back into the office. We are terrific at this in Colorado.


But we have so much more to offer. I would challenge us to think bigger and broader. Let’s consider how we can tie the significance of our destinations and venues to our clients’ business objectives, rather than using them just as meeting breaks or excursions.


I started my career with Maritz and later was with a Colorado-based destination management company, where I focused on selling the destination and logistics. When I transitioned into content development—namely leadership development and team alignment—I put the two together, strategically incorporating locations and destinations that embody the principles I want to drive home.

U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center, courtesy Visit Colorado Springs

For example, if I’m doing a leadership development program in Colorado Springs, I’ll highlight the significance of The Broadmoor, talk about leadership tenets on-site at the United States Air Force Academy or the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center, or conduct a debrief at the top of Pikes Peak. In this case, these venues are not used for excursions or meetings breaks but as integral elements that help drive home leadership principles.


The beautiful thing is that we have so many options. I’ve just mentioned a few, but I know your wheels are already turning. Think about your destination or venue and how can it be integrated in a holistic way. Not just to create a memorable experience, but to support your group’s or client’s business objectives. And don’t overlook one obvious venue in this context: nature itself.

Going from a conference room to the outdoors creates new dynamics and thinking, Mt. Crested Butte photo by Sandra Mabry

Being outdoors just has a natural way of boosting those aha moments. In my team alignment events, I use nature purposefully to clear heads, promote creativity, and unify teams. During a typical full-day session, I intentionally plan time outdoors, say, for a group hike. It’s jarring to go from a conference room into nature, and the result is predictable and magical at the same time. On the hike, the team continues to talk about what they’ve been stuck on in the conference room. But people’s tone changes. The talk is still business, but it’s punctuated with silence (or breathing) or comments about what they’re seeing or hearing.


The physical dynamics change, too. People might pair up differently to chat or they may walk alone, reflecting. They realize there’s more out there, and minds relax a bit. And inevitably, the knot begins to unravel; space is made for clear thought and creativity; and a solution, or a part of one, starts to take form. When I facilitate the debrief, I find that their minds are much clearer and answers seem to crystalize.


Groups that haven’t been together for a while are heading to Colorado. They’re seeking an oasis that is our backyard and an environment that can help drive home their business outcomes. Let’s invite them over for an adventure and watch them return home with great memories and results.


Dean Savoca is a leadership development partner nationwide for leaders who want their teams to be focused, aligned and inspired, and Colorado is his favorite venue. He also guides intentional living retreats where overachievers can learn to do less …better. Dean is the 2022 recipient of the Meetings Industry Council (MIC) of Colorado Leadership Award and a current board member of Destination Colorado.