Taking your team on a hero’s journey: A strategic planning experience

hero's journey as a strategic planning exercise

“You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”

The Hero’s Journey is one that, if you happen to be a fan of literature, will recognize time and time again, particularly within stories of a mythical nature. It also makes for a beautiful framework to tackle the sometimes seemingly dry process of strategic planning with your team.

About the Hero’s Journey

In its basic form, The Hero’s Journey follows the archetype called The Hero on his journey to achieve great deeds (see: The Heroes Journey Explained).

The journey is divided into three parts:

  1. Departure: A hero is introduced there is a call to adventure, feelings of insecurity/obligation/fear of the unknown may be acknowledged, the hero receives some form of guidance and then decides to embark on an adventure.
  2. Initiation: Encounters with failure, success, new skills and companions who face challenges together, eventually succeeding.
  3. Return: The hero begins the journey home, is tested once more along the way and eventually returns with the ‘elixir’ of what will help to improve the world they left behind.

As a Strategic Planning Exercise

This Fall, our own team took inspiration from “The Hobbit” and embarked on our own “Heroes’ Journey”.

This is best done outdoors in nature, but, if you are unable to gather in person at this time, it could also be done virtually!

The Departure – Begin by inviting your team members, as individuals to engage their imaginations and identify their inner hero by considering the following questions:
  • Who is your inner hero – what are they engaged with that they are most excited about? what support do they need going forward?
  • What is awakening within your hero and calling them forward to step into our shared ‘heroes’ journey’?
  • What might they bring with them, to delight and support their traveling companions?
The Initiation – After sharing with the whole team, split into sub groups and send each on their own heroes’ journey to:
  • Identify how the obstacles in nature can relate to the challenges you may be facing in business
  • Determine tools, gifts and inner super-powers which each individual’s inner hero might have that could help move the collective journey forward
  • Identify what it is that your business is seeking to achieve in the future, and what might be a worthwhile investment to make those things happen
Returning home with the Elixir – Come together to formulate a plan to move forward into the future based on your learnings:

After a set amount of time, have the sub-groups return to a collective location to share what was learned, identifying common themes among the subgroups.

Were there similar challenges identified? Are you able to break down the different gifts each individual brings to the table and how they might be able to contribute to a particular aspect of those challenges? How did the forward vision differ between each group?

Opportunities for leaders at the Edge

Like the concept you see here? We’ve got a deeper version of it prepared as a multi-day, safely distanced experiential retreat for you and your team. Download our corporate retreat planning booklet below to learn more about how we can help you move mountains.


Looking for a new set of tools to add to your toolbox as a leader? Check out Evolve: The Art of Transformational Leadership & Facilitation, our brand new retreat program geared toward leaders, educators & facilitators of all modalities.

Are you looking to plan the ultimate corporate retreat?

Our comprehensive guide walks you through everything from picking the perfect location, planning activities and team games, creating meaningful agendas, and more. With years of experience in hosting executive retreats, delivering team-building and strategic planning retreats – we know what it takes to make your corporate retreat one that will be remembered for years to come. 

A copy of our Corporate Retreat Planning Guide is on its way to your inbox. 

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