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November 17th, 2012  |  Filed under News

Burning Man’s 2012 Staff Retreat

Burning Man Founders give their report-out at the annual Staff Retreat.

Last week, 60 Burning Man staffers got together for our annual Staff Retreat, an intensive 4-day offsite gathering wherein we examine the state of Burning Man (the event itself, our organization, and the worldwide growth of our culture). We examine where we stand, where we want to be, and how to get there.

This has been an annual tradition since 1999, when the meeting consisted of a small handful of folks. And while it has taken different shapes and forms over the years, this time is used to look at the challenges we’re facing, the successes we’ve achieved, and the goals we want to shoot for. We also bring in experts to help us develop the skills we need to succeed as an organization. And let me tell you, the work is practically non-stop. The group hardly ‘retreats’ from Burning Man; in reality we collectively dive even deeper into the work we do and the roles we play.

Walking through Burning Man’s history of staff trainings since 2001.

This year there were extensive discussions around growth … what challenges come along with the growth of both the Burning Man community and the Burning Man organization, and how can we manage them? What kind of pressures are the various Burning Man departments facing as a result of this growth? How can we work better collectively to address them? What leadership skills can we bring to the table to ensure that we deal with them effectively?

The group engaged in activities to help us deliver quality feedback to our co-workers, skill-building sessions to help us make better decisions, and opportunities to evaluate how we’re measuring up against our 5-year goals (and 3-year goals, and 1-year goals). We read feedback emails from participants about this year’s event in Black Rock City and discussed strategies for making improvements.

Megan reading through the Participant Feedback binder.

These discussions are always rewarding, but the best work is arguably done in the evening hours after long, full days of work sessions.  That’s when we’re able to connect with our fellow staffers, learn more about each other and what makes us tick, and build the bonds that allow us to work so well together … the connections which make us as much a family as we are a business.

Of course, being the Burners that we are, the evenings were peppered with impromptu bonfires, musical performances, storytelling sessions, irreverent card games, crafting, Tarot-reading, hikes, hot-tubbing, poker lessons, and just taking some precious time to enjoy each other’s company.

The “Stick Man” bonfire.

As intensive as each day was, the passion, dedication and brilliance that each attendee brings to the conversation is truly inspiring, and bodes well for Burning Man’s future. 2012 has been a challenging year to say the least, but the quality thinking shown at this retreat proved that we’ll be able to handle anything the future throws at us.

September 9th, 2011  |  Filed under News

Give Us Your Feedback

The Burning Man Suggestion Box?

IMPORTANT: PLEASE USE THE EMAIL below FOR YOUR FEEDBACK. NOT JUST the comments to the blog.

How was your experience? Let us know.

Each year after the event, Burning Man staff reflect on what we’ve accomplished and what we plan to do in the future — changes, improvements, what was right, wrong, etc. We want to include your feedback in our planning process. Due to the fact we typically get a strong response to this request for feedback, it is not practical to reply directly to everyone. Depending on the nature of the feedback, some participants may receive a direct response. If many feedback emails touch upon similar issues, then we will draft a general response that will be sent on the Jackrabbit Speaks and posted in the Q&A AfterBurn Report in early 2012. We DO promise that your email will be read. We want to hear from new and old Burners alike. Starting with the good before the bad is helpful. ;-) If you’d like to contribute, send your constructive comments to xxxxx by October 19th. [UPDATE: Feedback loop is now closed for 2011.]

Furthermore, Burning Man staff members are interested in meeting with participants and hearing their thoughts in person during their increasing number of trips to meet with Regional groups year round. We will gladly work with any Regional groups to set up gatherings with participants when Board or Senior Staff members travel. If you would like to find out more about the Regional Network and a group in your area please visit http://regionals.burningman.com.

Thanks for taking the time to contribute your thoughts. We promise we’ll read what you have to say. Looking forward to 2012!