Making Sure Your Off-Site is Not Off-Target

In my work with clients, helping them improve the performance of their organization, I often come across the desire for the leadership to hold an off-site meeting. With the workforce becoming more virtual and flexible working arrangements, face to face interactions are declining. The importance of gathering groups to meet and get to know each other is now more important than ever. Many organizations spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to send their people to an exotic places to spend time together. When they are there they will participate in team building activities, hear presentations from company leadership and often get insights from outside experts. The challenge is that despite the huge investment to hold the off-site, there is very little investment in the design to ensure that the off-site is truly impactful.

Traditional Model for Off-Site Design

Most leaders when they develop an off-site start with a keynote speaker or two and identify some fun activities that the participants can engage in. They then select some internal presentations to discuss strategy, products, company news etc. and finally they put that together into a very linear design. Each of these aspects are developed separately and then crammed into the schedule for each day. People might have fun, but it is not a model for truly impacting the performance of the organization.

Outcome Focused Design

The most impactful starting point when designing an off-site is to consider what are you trying to accomplish, and for those outcomes to be focused on what happens when your people get back to work. These outcomes should be holistic in nature and should at least cover:

• Cultural behaviors and norms

• Connectivity and understanding

• New skills • Learnings about the business or industry

• Projects that will be implemented after the off-site

Once you have these outcomes you can consider how you want to implement each of the outcomes and therefore be able to design an impactful off-site.

Effective Model for Off-Site Design

This is the Off Site Development Process that we use at Innovative Thought and whether it is for 6 people, or for more than 100, we have found the process to create an impactful experience for the participants.