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
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.
The real benefit of this approach is that all the activities will be linked and will work together to get the outcomes and drive the change of behavior that will have a business impact. There is investment upfront in this approach but when you consider the costs of the off-site as a whole it is an investment that will get a big payback.