One of the joys and privileges for me at Trove, Inc. is to lead company and organizational off-sites. They vary from corporate, non-profit and small business retreats. Many have themes and vary in content. When they are planned correctly and intentionally designed to accomplish group interaction and some face-to-face openness, great benefits can arise. Fun and fellowship are always by-products (sometimes the only product) of a good off-site. However, fun cannot help totally with company communication issues, behavioral diversities, structure weaknesses and clarity of purpose. When an off-site is carefully planned to include:
2. interactive activities that teach (around real issues)
3. open group facilitation (using challenges as starting points to gaining clarity & solutions)
4. workgroup “round table” discussions
…then successful take-aways will organically occur.
Getting away from the company site is helpful, of course, to change the scenery, but more importantly is the planning of all of these aspects. Like going to a great theme park, the participants should seamlessly go through various (well-planned) experiences to accomplish things that it would take months to achieve (if even then…) within typical meetings. If you have thought about organizing a great off-site but keep putting it off, maybe now is the time. When done right, they are the biggest bang you’ll get for your buck regarding employee breakthroughs and building synergy.