A lot of time, resources, and strategic thinking goes into a successful offsite. Even a meeting with a well-thought agenda, and a strong leader and teammates can spiral downward if logistics are not right. NorthPoint Executive Suites lets you do what you do best — lead and strengthen your team– by taking care of the logistics and providing a productive environment for you.
Each day about 11 million meetings are held in the U.S. Some meetings are the only way to keep track of other’s work, some lead to revolutionary ideas and decisions, some prevent major catastrophes but many do not reap major rewards; surveyed employees estimate that one-third of the time spent in meetings is wasted time. Not every meeting is groundbreaking or equally productive for every participant, but one meeting per year should be – the offsite meeting. Here are five important components for planning and facilitating a successful offsite meeting.
Be sure to find a date that everyone on your team can attend and be mindful of important deadlines. As much as possible, ask that all attendees unplug from all other work while at the meeting and avoid work emails and phone calls.
Pick a place that is accessible for everyone and has a professional and welcoming feel. Be flexible with seating arrangements and aim for a set up that encourages interaction. Make sure food and drink is accessible. NorthPoint Executive Suites offers a complimentary beverage service, WiFi, and resources to keep the progress and ideas flowing and tracked with resources like whiteboards, projectors, copy and fax machines, and Apple TVs.
Have a structured agenda in advance. To make the meeting about team building and engagement, include teammates in the agenda-making process. Consider giving people different roles throughout the day (alternating note-takers, session leads, etc.).
In the office, a leader may find themselves sometimes rushing to the data and results. The offsite meeting is the time for member on the team to interact and engage with every other teammate at a personal level. If each person has a part in setting the goals, they will be more invested in and have a better understanding of the goals leading to more success. Make a more personal atmosphere by encouraging more casual attire, socialization, and some ice-breaker activities.
However don’t focus too much on individual strengths and weaknesses; it’s a common move to include personality tests in offsite meetings but these do little build a collective vision for the team or bring about a change for the year ahead.
As important as it is to stick with the agenda and objectives, some tangents and breakaway ideas should not be ignored. Equally important, if the team gets stuck on one subject during the discussion, it probably needs some attention and fleshing out. Keep to the agenda and ensure you meet objectives without losing these rich moments by maintaining a parking lot. Break-out meetings can occur on parking lot subjects on another day.
If done correctly, the offsite meeting offers a chance to engage, strategize, identify gaps and innovate as a team each year. But if a leader misses the mark, it’s a waste of everyone’s time and resources, and can create negativity and cost leader’s credibility. Here are the top considerations for planning your offsite meeting.