3 Reasons Your Team Needs The Leadership Lodge

Do you want your team to become inspired in 2017 – a group who thinks outside the box, trusts each other and aspires to do more than the bare minimum?

The Leadership Lodge at Sugar Lake Lodge is a great place to start.

IDI Programs at The Leadership LodgeThere is no better time to step back and reevaluate your goals than with the start of a new year. Resolutions bring about the ability to get on track and stretch your creativity, reach for newer (bigger) goals and accomplish things you’ve been meaning to since, well, forever. Sometimes you need a little push outside of the proverbial comfort zone and into an inspiring space with thought-provoking challenges and goal-setting practices.

Here are THREE reasons your team needs The Leadership Lodge this year:


Strategic Planning Starts Here 

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – you must get away to get it right. Our program providers start every strategic planning process with a blank sheet of paper to design an approach to best serve your needs. Along the way, we use an engagement philosophy to ensure people at all levels of the organization feel ownership over the final plan. The outcomes are ten-fold: a unified vision; a one-page strategic plan to implement and share company-wide; and most importantly, improved teamwork and communication.

It’s Time to Invest in your Team

As your organization and business evolves, it’s critical to develop leaders into a team that maximizes talent and develops as a group that shares unity of purpose. The Leadership Lodge is an ideal destination to help your team come together outside of their normal working environment and focus in on how to work with more focus and more productively.  We partner with several expert programs including the Prouty Project, Meaningful Connections and ACTIV8, so no matter what goals your team would like to accomplish, they can take on a fun and adventurous program that enhances performance and drives success.

Lead Your Leaders to Being Better…Leaders

From personal branding to LinkedIn to Insights Discovery – an array of workshops to choose from are sure to enhance your offsite retreat. We connect you with an expert resource that specializes in personal or group leadership development. Our providers run deep and include the Prouty Project, Meaningful Connections, ACTIV8 and a group of talented and engaging trainers/facilitators.

Do we have your attention? Contact us to plan your leadership retreat or visit our website for more information. Let’s make 2017 the year to Convene, Challenge, and Change together.

Posted in Leadership & Learning, Leadership Lodge, Learning Environment, Offsite Retreats & Meetings, Strategic Planning, Team Building, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Comments Off on 3 Reasons Your Team Needs The Leadership Lodge

Elevate Your Leaders With L3

Invest in Your Best

Elevate Your Leaders With L3 – A Cohort-Based Leadership Development Program

L3 Program at The Leadership Lodge

Are you doing all you can to invest in the future leaders of your company?
Enhance your leaders’ capabilities by enrolling them in the L3 Cohort Program that offers an intensive, collaborative and experiential environment for leaders in your organization. They will gain in-depth self awareness, increased social awareness and the strategic tools needed to drive better results in both business and life.

To think out of the box, you need to get out of the box.
Join the next L3 at The Leadership Lodge on beautiful Sugar Lake in Grand Rapids, MN, for a three-part development journey designed to inspire, energize and equip your emerging leaders to make an even greater impact on your business. The Leadership Lodge is a learning environment second to none- featuring state-of-the-art meeting facilities, Northwoods resort lodging, chef-created meals, recreational activities and much more.

If you’re ready to elevate your leaders – act now! Spots are filling up fast for the next L3 program beginning on August 8th, 2016. The registration deadline in July 29th; please contact Chad Simons at [email protected] or call 612-400-8005 to register your employees today or ask about our future L3 programs. Click HERE to read more on our website!

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Experience a Great Team Building Program in the Great Outdoors

Who says that complicated business challenges are best solved while seated at a conference table or in a board room?

“Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.”
– Journal of Henry David Thoreau; August 19, 1851

“Henry David Thoreau liked to get his feet muddy,” writes historian Helen Bowdoin. “Nearly every day, year round, he was out walking – exploring every nook and cranny in Walden Woods.” Thoreau was a man of deep thoughts, and some of his most profound observations were recorded in his Walden journals. His writings reinforce the idea that many of us get our best ideas while spending time on our feet, out in nature.

In a follow up to our post about The Smart Chair, similar strides toward business success can be made by striding – or walking – through the woods surrounding The Leadership Lodge.

Team building starts outside of the boardroom.

Build your team to thrive together.

Environmental psychologists at the University of Michigan “found that a 50-minute walk … improved executive attention skills such as short-term memory.” Similar benefits can be derived from spending time in nature, getting some fresh air, and thinking on the move with a unique team building program available at The Leadership Lodge and facilitated by The Prouty Project.

The Complexity Challenge program takes your team outside for a journey through 130 acres around Sugar Lake Lodge. They must work together to effectively prioritize and meet the demands of the challenge within a deadline, while maintaining an awareness of their surroundings to stay on course. Communication and collaboration are key to success, and team members will come to understand the power they bring to bear as a group, rather than individuals.

Each team is equipped with the necessary tools to both navigate the woods and accomplish their business goals. Team members will literally be thinking on their feet as they search for clues, devise their strategy, and envision their end goal.

As with all team building sessions, the Complexity Challenge is customized to help you meet your specific goals and objectives. The Challenge can be undertaken any time of the year, and is suitable for team members of all physical abilities.

Learn more about this unique, exciting, and truly enjoyable team building program by calling 800-450-4555. Let us help you develop a custom Complexity Challenge that will help your team “go confidently in the direction of your dreams,” – thinking with more clarity and moving with more purpose, in the great outdoors.

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Offsite Training Should Fire Up the Mind, Not Put It to Sleep

The Leadership Lodge on Sugar Lake recently sponsored a research study done by a market research company Diedrich RPM, to unearth what the latest top trends are in training and development locations for businesses.

In our last blog, “The Smart Chair: A Lesson in Creative Thinking,” we shared how beneficial it would be to get yourself and your work group up to Sugar Lake to experience “The Smart Chair” to free your mind and to get all of your creative synapses firing.

We’re pleased to let you know that the research backs this up.

Most Important Elements of an off-site training destinationIn fact, when measuring overall satisfaction in off-site training, the learning environment has the most impact of any other variable. Companies that are still using stodgy hotel and office conference rooms are completely missing out. Who among us hasn’t been involved in an off-site training seminar that was held in a hotel conference room? Only the most dedicated of you aren’t thinking, “When can I get out of here?” just a couple of hours into day in a conference room.

Too many companies are still conducting off-site training in hotel conference rooms that aren’t necessarily equipped for experiential learning.

It simply doesn’t have to be that way.

In fact, if you want to make a lasting impression on your team, whether it’s training in leadership development, strategic planning or team building, the most important factors are the learning environment, having top-notch meeting technology and food. The Leadership Lodge on Sugar Lake prides itself in all three areas.

Our environment, as we said in The Smart Chair blog, has to be seen to be believed. Our technology includes anything you might need and our food, partnership with the Chef Marshall O’Brien Group, is second to none.

You don’t want your group falling asleep in another conference room. We welcome you to wake up their minds at the Leadership Lodge on Sugar Lake.

Posted in Corporate Retreats, Leadership & Learning, Leadership Lodge, Learning Environment, Offsite Retreats & Meetings, Strategic Planning | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Offsite Training Should Fire Up the Mind, Not Put It to Sleep

The Smart Chair

The Smart Chair: A Lesson in Creative Thinking

Written by Fred Bobich, Owner, The Leadership Lodge

I recently met a prominent doctor who works for Medtronic and he shared a story about how sitting alone in an Adirondack chair overlooking the lake is where he finds the best inspiration and creativity. It never really dawned on me, but those chairs have become iconic for various reasons and they are often associated with relaxation and rejuvenation. After discussing the benefits of clearing the mind with this doctor, we deemed it “The Smart Chair.”

Time in the smart chair is time well spent.

Do you need time in The Smart Chair?

As it turns out, we often promote “recharging your batteries” Up North with images of our tranquil Adirondack chairs because they have continued to embody what the resort holds dearest – serenity. Every corporate group that has come through The Leadership Lodge continues to credit their outside-of-the-box thinking to this fresh, inspiring location. We’re not ones to brag but we are pretty positive that our surroundings are hard to beat. Oh who are we kidding…we love to brag about our soothing, Mediterranean-esque, spring-fed, luscious tree-lined Sugar Lake. It simply cannot be put into words, you must experience it for yourself.

So what can you expect from a session in The Smart Chair? It goes a little something like this:

One starts by claiming valuable Smart Chair real estate on the shores of Sugar Lake, whether on the grass or the beach or a personal dock, offering up one-of-a-kind Northern Minnesota sunset views.

A slight breeze rustling through the surrounding pines, the whirr of a sailboat passing before a strategic tack and a muffled distant murmur of a loon song come together to create a mesmerizing mind-clearing soundtrack. The natural surroundings give your brain a chance to stretch its legs and, with that clutter left far behind, the ability to finally think clearly. Before you know it, an hour has passed and you’ve solved a problem that has been standstill for weeks.

We’re not experts in meditation but we like to think our surroundings can offer an unprecedented jump-start for your team’s creativity. If you’re looking for a place to push that creative thinking into overdrive, I can personally point you in the direction of over 40 lakefront chairs beckoning to be put to good use.

I challenge your group to experience this kind of “outdoor thinking” in a typical boardroom. Who knows where your next big idea will come from? Maybe it’s time for a session in The Smart Chair?

If you’re ready to achieve your next “Aha!” moment, contact us and let’s get you in The Smart Chair, stat.

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The Art of Living in Brand

The Art of Living in Brand

By Kathleen Crandall, Personal Brand Strategist, Meaningful Connections

Living in BrandI’ve spent most of my 30-year career managing and building brands. I’ve had the honor of working with some of the most recognized and respected corporate, service and product brands on the market. In all of my experience working with brands, I was, and continue to be, most intrigued by people and the fact that they, too, have a brand.

Every person walking this planet has a brand whether they are aware of it or not. And that brand has a voice. Our brand voice is communicating an expectation of what it might be like to know us or work with us. Our brand communicates, “Trust me” or “I am reliable” or “I am accomplished and professional and will take great care of your child / project / team.”

Our brand comes to life in every way we show up from what we wear (our brand image), what we communicate verbally and non-verbally (our brand voice), and in the experience of knowing us or working with us (the brand experience).

Most people aren’t aware that they have a brand let alone what it is. The prevalence of social media makes every person a global brand. What you post and how often says volumes about you and goes far beyond your small group of online “friends.” Every tweet and every Facebook or LinkedIn post is an opportunity to reinforce your brand or cause confusion. Every time you send an email (and how you sign that email), gives you a chance to build your brand. The way you treat a waiter or whether you deliver your work on time is your brand coming to life in an experience.

The most simple way to understand your brand is to ask yourself, “What am I known for?” and, more importantly, “What happens because of me and my impact on people?”

My brand is best captured in a quote by Alexandra Stoddard and I have this built into my email signature. “Slow down, calm down, don’t worry, don’t hurry. Trust the process.” Every time I send or respond to an email, my brand is building. My “style” is calm and reassuring. I deliver on my promise to “bring personal brands to life,” with a thoughtful process that gently guides people through phases of discovery and articulation of their brand for job search, to raise their visibility in their business and to help them get what they desire. I am reassuring as I inspire and motivate people to do their work. I help people bring their personal brand- to life authentically and consistently and with confidence.

In my role as a personal brand expert, I am known for helping people understand their impact on people and to bring it to life consistently through their image, their brand voice and the experience of knowing them or working with them.

So, what happens because of you?

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Develop your team’s intercultural competence at The Leadership Lodge

Today’s leaders must learn to navigate and bridge cultural differences in the workplace to attract top talent and compete in the ever-changing world economy. Gain the skills you’ll need to solve cultural-related business challenges, and to assess the intercultural competence of individuals and teams within your organization.

IDI Programs at The Leadership Lodge resulting in Intercultural CompetencyCultural differences in the workplace can cause unnecessary friction on teams, undermine creativity, and hamper communication between groups and individuals.

Not all cultural differences are associated with ethnicity. For example, a younger worker may have a very different problem-solving style than a more seasoned employee. Varied educational and economic backgrounds often reveal cultural differences at work. Opposing political viewpoints can contribute to heated conversations around a conference table, especially during high-profile campaigns. And employees who were born, or have lived outside the U.S. may have a very different worldview than someone who has lived in the same community their entire life.

If your organization is struggling to understand and address cultural differences of any kind, the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) exercise available through The Leadership Lodge, would be a valuable addition to an offsite or team building event.

The Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) assesses each person’s ability to shift perspectives and adapt behavior to cultural differences, a skill referred to as “intercultural competence.”

The exercise provides insights on how individuals and groups make sense of, and respond to, cultural differences in the workplace, at home, and in the community – by measuring one’s mindset and skill set. The 50-item questionnaire can be completed in 15 to 20 minutes – typically in a group setting – and is followed by a workshop-style session on understanding and applying the Inventory results.

If your organization wants to learn to navigate and bridge cultural differences, gain new tools for solving business problems, and understand the intercultural competence levels of both individuals and teams in the workplace, you’ll want to learn more about this valuable tool.

Call 800.450.4555 for more detailed information about the IDI and how your team can develop intercultural competence with this timely, forward-thinking session in conjunction with a meeting or offsite event at the Leadership Lodge.

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Out With the Old, In With the Leadership Lodge

To Convene, Challenge, and Change Individuals and Organizations

You have grown to know us as The Collaborative Leadership Center and while we understand that change is hard, we are excited to move ahead in our leadership vision with an fresh and forward-moving outlook.

Introducing The Leadership Lodge on Sugar Lake.


We still actively collaborate with the same great leadership program providers to Convene, Challenge and Change Individuals and Organizations – only now, we take pride in being THE go-to retreat center for all things leadership.

The Leadership Lodge on Sugar Lake

The Leadership Lodge on Sugar Lake is a destination for exceptional and memorable group/personal development, corporate and organization retreats/meetings, experiential learning, and thought leadership events. We are committed to providing the best destination development programs in collaboration with partners like The Prouty Project and Meaningful Connections.

We believe that in order to achieve the best results in your group, you need the right facility. Corporate board rooms just don’t do the trick anymore – companies are in need of a place to get their group members to think “outside the office walls” and realize their potential. The Leadership Lodge on Sugar Lake boasts first-rate accommodations, state-of-the-art audio/visual, customizable itineraries and activities, high-speed internet throughout the property  and the ability to make the entire resort exclusively yours. Did we mention we’re located on one of the most beautiful lakes in Minnesota? You betcha.

So, what can you expect from The Leadership Lodge on Sugar Lake?

  • Benefits: The Leadership Lodge leverages a unique location, the clarity of Sugar Lake, and the amenities and services provided by Sugar Lake Lodge with proven program providers in the areas of experiential learning, leadership and personal development, as well as corporate/organizational retreats. Read our quarterly newsletter for some first-hand testimonials.
  • Why It Will Work For You: It’s a simple equation, really.

Location + Facilities & Amenities + Service + Best-in-the-Business Program Providers = POSITIVE CHANGE IN ORGANIZATIONS

  • Proven Business Model: The Leadership Lodge on Sugar Lake utilizes a resort built for high-end retreats and relationships built with leadership-focused program partners. It is a destination for corporate clients seeking memorable retreats, meetings and events. The Leadership Lodge is proud to host “open to the public” events and activities in collaboration with program providers. The best of the best all in one place.

We’re still the same positive-outcome focused retreat center we’ve always been, but now we’re even more streamlined and ready to take on 2016 with a new, fancy name (and logo, of course).

Ready to see what The Leadership Lodge on Sugar Lake is all about? Contact us, Link with us, give us a call (800.450.4555) or come see us! We can’t wait to show you what we can do to help your organization.

Posted in Collaborative Partners, Corporate Retreats, Experiential Learning, Leadership & Learning, Leadership Lodge, Offsite Retreats & Meetings, Online Branding, Open Events, Ropes Course, Strategic Planning, Team Building | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Out With the Old, In With the Leadership Lodge

Ready to Rock Your World?

Register now for the Rock Your World Retreat - spots are filling up fast!

Register now for the Rock Your World Retreat – spots are filling up fast!

The busyness of everyday life makes it hard to focus on what you want and where you’re going. So we’re heading to the lake to dive in to your bright future!

At the Rock Your World Retreat, you’ll get time and guidance for clarifying what you really want, tools to access rockstar support from the universe, and your own personal plan for taking inspired action.

This fantastic event is being hosted by LifeShine® owner Michelle Stimpson, and Intuitive Advisor Liv Lane. With these two inspiring women at the helm, the Rock Your World Retreat is sure to recharge your spirit and set you on a path to intentionally create the life you want.

Read more about the event, the schedule, and the hosts HERE.

Want more information about this event or other upcoming events at Sugar Lake Lodge? Contact us!

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5 Reasons To Host Your Next Corporate Retreat at Sugar Lake Lodge

SFM Company Retreat at Sugar Lake Lodge

SFM Company Retreat at Sugar Lake Lodge

The Great Company Meeting Conundrum: to hold an off-site retreat or host an in-house annual meeting. It’s a tale as old as time, really, and the decision often comes with staggeringly different results. You’re already aware of the benefits of holding a meeting in your office (budget friendly, familiar coffee maker, preferred corner at the board room table) but have you considered the outstanding benefits of taking your team to a fresh, new location for a few days of nothing but focus? Let us enlighten you how companies have, year after year, switched on a proverbial “light bulb” during a corporate retreat at Sugar Lake Lodge.

1. It’s not your typical meeting. There’s no right of wrong way to conduct a meeting or retreat because each company is unique in their own way (cue “you be you!” motivational speech). The goal should be, however, to change things up in order to avoid lackluster participation due to an uninspiring setting. Imagine taking your group up North, just far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the city, to a pristine Northwoods-y setting where your team’s only focus is the task at hand. Recently, SFM – The Work Comp Experts sent 18 high-performing employees to a retreat at The Leaderhsip Lodge on Sugar Lake to develop a leadership development program with the main goal of cultivating leaders within the company. The group worked with Peter Bailey, President of The Prouty Project, to customize a program and experience that worked specifically for them. The group took part in a series of group challenges that incorporated creative thinking and strategic planning, and ultimately saw results before they were even back in the office. Read more about their experience here.

2. Spark creative thinking. Something special happens when you step out of the office and into scenic, calming territory. The New York Times recently published an article citing the positive benefits on the brain when outside in nature – which, just as we suspected, are virtually endless. Up here, your mind is free to think outside of the office walls and, essentially, turn off from the day-to-day distractions that hold us back from really going the extra mile. To supplement our surplus of brain-enhancing surroundings, we are proud to call ourselves one of the first Northern Minnesota resorts to boast 100 Mbps fibre internet. This means you will never be without access to high-speed web browsing or the ability to seamlessly stream videos throughout the property.

3. Complete customization (without the hassle). Work meetings at Sugar Lake Lodge are anything but “work.” We cater specifically to your group – big or small – whilst handling all logistics like transportation to and from the resort, all meals, breakout session set-up, lodging, activity planning and much more. We understand that there is no cookie-cutter meeting outline and that each company has different needs. We connect you with The Prouty Project or Meaningful Connections to plan and design a program suited for your company. Planning your meeting
is more than developing an agenda –
it’s a collaboration to learn about your company, team, and business challenges and designing a retreat based on your desired outcomes. Our specialty areas include:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Organizational Development
  • Board and Team Development
  • Leveraging LinkedIn
  • Personal Branding
  • Navigating the New World of Work
  • Lifting Up Leadership

4. The perfect place to work hard and play hard. The key to a successful meeting is balance, and we are all about balancing your hard work with some much-needed down time. In the summertime, we proudly offer our 18-hole Championship Golf Course, Sugarbrooke, as way for your team to detach and connect with a little friendly office-wide rivalry. We are situated on the banks of Sugar Lake, a spring-fed, crystal clear lake perfect for sailing, fishing, or simply lounging on one of the several personal docks. We offer morning yoga and pilates classes catered to all levels, and we are amidst several miles of trails perfect for running, hiking, and biking. The winter isn’t so bad either (we’re Minnesotans so we’re tough, right?) and we make available everything from snowshoeing, snowmobile tours, and ice fishing to broom ball tournaments and roaring outdoor campfires.

5. Place really matters. Every year, The Prouty Project challenges themselves to develop an internal strategic planning retreat to improve team performance. How does one of the top business consulting groups conduct their own strategic planning session? “We believe strongly in the power of place, space and pace to unleash creativity, drive change and achieve outcomes,” said Sam Smith, vice president and senior consultant. “We use the same model for our team that we use with clients and every January our nine employees get away for three days.” To read the more about Prouty’s belief in the right place for strategic meetings, read more in our quarterly newsletter!

Interested in a corporate retreat at Sugar Lake Lodge? Contact us or visit our website for more information!

Experience The Leadership Lodge on Sugar Lake

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