We recently held our annual strategy week on the edge of the beautiful Lake Wanaka, which was followed by our company-wide conference. The time away to plan ahead and come together really enforced how important these off-site weeks are for a number of reasons.
First of all, it was good to get the Senior Leadership Team off-site talking about the strategic objectives of the business and working through the various elements that make it up. I often feel that we can get bogged down in day-to-day operations to the point we can find it difficult to reflect and work on the strategic, and even tactical, elements of a business. Something as simple as being away from the office and in a completely different surrounding can have a big impact: the creative juices can flow and the hard questions and discussions can occur.
Secondly, providing a platform for everyone to get together across the country has been fantastic. Old relationships are rekindled, and new ones start to emerge. This allows for working relationships to continue to be developed, also allowing new ones to form. What comes from this is a spark to kick off more communication between individuals that all feed into creating a positive and collaborating work environment.
Thirdly, it gave us an opportunity to celebrate successes and the personal and professional development occurring within the organisation.
Whether you are running a small business unit, large team, or a company of your own, ensure that you make time to get off-site and away from the office. It could be as simple as an off-site whiteboard session or an afternoon of activities. Most importantly, it is about breaking the routine and stepping back from day-to-day operations.
You cannot think about things in new ways when you’re in the day-to-day craziness of a startup. You need to plan to get everyone away from the distractions of the work environment, and into a place where they can focus on the task at hand. Don’t try to do this over lunch or dinner at a nearby restaurant. Plan a one or two-day retreat completely away from the work environment . New surroundings spark new thinking. We headed out to the woods – a place that offered conference facilities and campfires all in one.