Many companies choose to step away from everyday office life for an offsite meeting. Some do it for the purpose of strategy, some for team building, some for problem-solving, and others for all of the above reasons. Offsite meetings can be an ideal way to energize a team, plan ahead and lay the groundwork for success. But many of them unfortunately end up a waste of time and money with no real outcomes. How do you prevent this from happening to your next offsite meeting? Here’s some advice to assure you have killer offsites in the future.
1. Plan your meeting with an end goal in mind
While it might seem like scheduling a strategy-building meeting offsite and inviting the right people are all you need for a strategic success, but this is the opposite of true. Ask yourself, what are your specific goals for the meeting? What discussions and activities will make sure your teams accomplish those goals? Start out with your desired outcomes and plan the offsite meeting with them in the forefront of your mind. A little bit of planning can go a long way.
2. Limit the PowerPoints
Since you’re leaving the office behind, why not try to leave the two-hour PowerPoint presentations behind, as well? While perhaps they won’t read through a novel’s worth of information, your employees should be encouraged to review crucial meeting-related materials before the offsite takes place. You’ll keep their attention better and be able to focus on real discussion, strategy, and problem-solving during the offsite itself.
3. Quantify opinions and clarify the big picture
You can discuss everyone’s projects anytime at work, so use the offsite to delve into topics that usually don’t make the cut. Use specific activities to clarify employees’ priorities and points of divergence to spur discussion and find unique solutions. It’s important during the offsite meeting to be conscious that executives don’t monopolize the discussion or discourage other opinions, inadvertently or not. Offsite meetings are a perfect opportunity to give everyone a chance to have a voice.
4. Remember to have fun
Team building is an important part of any offsite meeting and should involve an element of fun. Try activities that show employees’ different strengths and problem-solving techniques. Nothing brings people together quite like working out a difficult problem as a team; however, try to avoid involving the type of competition that could foster hostility between individuals or teams.
5. Follow up after the meeting for lasting impact
No matter how much is seemingly accomplished during the offsite, if there is no follow up, you won’t see an impact. The goals you set during the offsite matter, so schedule meetings one month, three months, six months, and/or even a year down the line to celebrate, review, and revise your strategy.
Done correctly, an offsite is a great opportunity to move your team forward and have a big effect. For more ways to maximize your impact at work, check out this free whitepaper or contact us to see how we can help your company develop even more.
Source: Harvard Business Review
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