10 Steps to an Offsite that isn’t Pathetic
The worst 5 words you hear at work, “We’re having an offsite meeting.”
Only about 10% of executives consider offsites valuable.*
10 steps to an offsite that isn’t pathetic:
#1. Get ratios right.
What is the ratio between whole group time, small group time, free time, and personal reflection time?
Feedback I hear:
- I would enjoy more 1:1 time.
- I would enjoy more small group time.
- I would enjoy more time to reflect.
#2. Reject the same-old-same-old.
What can you do that you don’t do in regular meetings?
How about eliminating reports or updates? If you’re going to give updates and reports that you normally give, don’t go.
#3. Maximize location.
What’s something you can do that’s unexpected? What’s something that can be done because of your location?
#4. Engage the entire team.
Leaders work way too hard planning offsites because they exclude the team.
How can every participant play a role in preparing and leading some part of your meeting? If the group is large, how can small groups prepare and lead?
Engage people before your event if you want engagement during your event.
Disengaged teams judge you by the quality of their experience.
People tend to criticize what you plan and enjoy what they plan.
#5. Break silos.
What can you do to strengthen relationships?
Casual conversations are crucial.
#6. Include feelings.
How will people feel better about themselves and each other as a result of this event?
#7. Eliminate electronics.
#8. Think about laughter.
Who on your team laughs the most? Get input from them. (essential)
#9. Set one clear goal.
What do you want people talking about on their way home?
#10. Model the way.
Suppose you want people to have fun? What will you do to have fun?
What happened at the best offsite you ever attended?
What happened at the worst offsite you ever attended?
16 Simple Ways You Can Lead Engaging Meetings
Two Secrets to Engagement You Can Employ Today
*Why we all hate offsites – (cnn.com)
Important factors to take into consideration! We need different ways to bring people together.
The best series of offsites I ever attended were held annually 1995 – 2005 at a rustic private hunting lodge in the foothills of the Great Smokey Mountains. It was mainly an opportunity for the command staff team to train together and get to know one another better. While each was officially only a one-day session with Saturday attendance required, the lodge was ours from Friday noon to Sunday noon. I won’t bore you with details, but the Saturday meetings were focused on leadership training and the weekend provided a lot of free time and opportunities for self-directed outdoor activities. Attendees were our agency command staff team of eight plus spouses and usually a few guests like our district attorney, judges and officials from other counties. Most folks came on Friday afternoon and left Sunday mid-morning. I never knew of anyone who didn’t enjoy themselves.
The worst offsite I ever attended was held midweek in a hotel banquet room across town, with about fifty management / supervisory attendees, a too-full agenda of management “housekeeping” items and policy changes to cover, and too few opportunities for meaningful discussion. The room was meat-locker cold in the morning and the cold could only be tempered by turning the AC completely off. By mid-day it was getting hot, so the AC was turned back on at lunch. Lunch was our only opportunity for informal interaction, and the hotel restaurant food was disappointing. After lunch, the room was back to its chilled condition and when the AC was turned off again the room steadily reverted to uncomfortable warmth by late afternoon. The boss stopped the session numerous times throughout the day while he took phone calls. At the close of the day, most everybody concluded that we would have been better off to have held the event in our own training facility. Even thinking about this fiasco is a mood-killer!
Great tips and advice as always, Dan!
We only do off-sites a few times a year, and only because we don’t have a space on site big enough for everyone. We manage to do every one of your don’t do things, every single time.