Running a Successful Offsite
We had our first off-site for Aide de MD in Huskisson on the South Coast of New South Wales over 3 days. It was a remarkable success and created more clarity and teamwork than I had imagined.
I was profoundly intent about structuring it to ensure we were effective, and invested heavily in the agenda, content and purpose. Our team is small and significant as we work closely within a highly confidential, trusted environment to support and guide our clients. Our whole business is based on reputation and trust which is how I like it. However, it does increase pressure.
I have now run more than a hundred off-sites for clients including full conferences to half day mediation within challenging teams.
The following points are critical for a successful off-site.
- Set the scene: explain what is expected, why you’re doing it and who is involved
- Provide an agenda: it helps you to organise thoughts and expectations
- Ensure the agenda runs from arrival to departure. Ours was over 3 days. The following is a snapshot:
- Wednesday: Arrive 2pm, settle in, work from 3pm – 5pm to introduce the session and talk through priorities and outcomes. Relax and casual takeaway.
- Thursday: Own breakfast/walk/free time in the morning. Work from 9- 5 with breaks/swim and pub lunch. Free time from 5pm and then dinner at a fabulous restaurant
- Friday: Own breakfast/walk/free time in the morning. Wrap up and actions from 8 – 10. Depart.
- Conditions: All meals and accommodation provided, payment agreed in advance, casual attire, own rooms.
The value of the agenda helps everyone to prepare and show up ready to engage in a free environment. The benefit to me was a team who were keen to relax, get to know each other better and produce amazingly clever ideas which we are already implementing.
What doesn’t work
- Confusion on payment, clothing, accommodation, and expectations
- Lack of accountability for facilitation and leadership
- A missing “purpose”
- Confused agenda
- No free/down time
- No recording of actions/follow up
The value of a good off-site will have long term impacts on your business. I’m delighted to say that I’m already seeing them for Aide de MD. We are looking forward to the next one which we have scheduled for May 2023 with 3 quarterly reviews in-between to ensure continuity and strategic alignment.