How to Plan a Great Company Offsite

I facilitate a lot of planning retreats.  Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when you take your team away for a day or two:

Do:

  • Understand what you want to achieve for the business in your offsite. Things like better team dynamics or solving a particular thorny problem or  being clear on goals for the year.  Not just show and tell.
  • Focus everything you do on those goals. Solving problems together is a great way to build team.
  • Choose an inspiring/suitable setting. Boring hotel conference rooms can produce boring, predictable ideas.

Don’t:

  • Do ‘team-building’ retreats. I’ve been on ropes courses and so on, and people’s eyes invariably roll wondering why they can’t be at home with their families instead of rapelling with their boss all weekend.
  • Have negative leaders. Leaders should be prepared and cranked for the event and eager to come out with positive solutions to tough problems.
  • Let alcohol get out of hand. These are events that can soil people’s reputations for years to come.  Even though people laugh afterwards, they know it’s not actually funny.

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