Businesses everywhere have used the offsite meeting as a way to get their whole team together for a time of concentrated planning and vision building. But like most meetings, the offsite has suffered from the perception that it can be a waste of time.
What’s more, employees have meeting fatigue in most organizations. People spend more time in meetings than ever, with research showing that executives spend nearly 23 hours a week in meetings compared to less than 10 hours per week in the 1960s.
In this type of meeting-heavy environment, how do you get your people excited for what amounts to an ultra-meeting? The secret to success for an offsite is simple.
All you need to do is invert the expectations that an offsite has to be a multi-day meeting that’s conducted somewhere other than your normal office. For the best offsite meeting, keep it to one day and do it onsite.
Here are the steps you need to follow to make offsite gatherings a success.
Set the Stage
From the beginning, your offsite meeting needs to have a clear purpose. Offsite meeting come down to one thing, and that is an opportunity to drive team engagement.
You don’t need to leave your office for this meeting. In fact, traveling to another location can be a contributing factor in making your meeting less productive. Simply change a few decorations, choose a different room, and plan for ways to make changes from a normal day to break the routine.
During the planning stage, it’s also important to think structurally about the offsite and various team members’ roles. Critically, the CEO or leader needs to delegate leadership to someone else, so they can act as a participant and not a referee.
This form of delegation can also develop more employee leaders within an advisory firm.
For the nuts and bolts of organizing an offsite, follow this five-step approach:
- Choose a day, ideally mid-week, that works for everyone. At the beginning of the work week your team is too focused on deliverables, and by Friday most people are ready to leave the office.
- Set the offsite mid-quarter so it’s far from the stress of quarter-end and quarter-beginning.
- Don’t overplan. Two offsite meetings a year should be enough for most organizations.
- Include everyone, from a new intern to the President. An offsite needs to be a safe place for open communication and idea sharing, but that only happens when everyone feels included.
- Finally, structure your offsite like a four-act play.
By having a well-organized plan can be the difference between an offsite that energizes your team or an offsite that ends up as a productivity wasting event.
Ensure a productivity-enhancing offsite by following a four-act play structure.