Over the years, we have facilitated many off sites. From visioning to strategic decision making to targeted ones. Many things go into making an offsite successful.
Here are a few of the do’s and don’ts. If you are a person involved in planning a strategic offsite, they go through these with fine tooth comb. Many things can go wrong at the offsite Getting it right requires you to work with many people from different streams.
1. Choose an appropriate location:
This is an important factor. The very idea of an offsite gives a out a message of fun and frolic that would go with it. You must play to the expectation of the team. Creating an off-work environment that titillates the creative side of people is important. From an India perspective, Goa and Kerala in India and Srilanka (Bentota and outskirts of Colombo) provide all that you need to make the Strategic offsite successful.
Srilanka has several beach resorts with large banquet halls and good locations for outbound team activities as well. It’s important that you identify one or two service providers who will take care of all the paraphernalia – local transfers, accommodation, hotel set up, entertainment and culture shows. By tying up with local service provides, Strengthscape works with many corporates in arranging their off sites.
2. Build consensus on the agenda:
It’s important that you clearly define the outcomes. Work like a sculptor. Start by assimilating the views of the key stakeholders in your organization. Off sites carry a risk of being hijacked by those who have a different context of the outcomes of the workshop. It’s important that you identify the stakeholders and their wish list comprehensively before crafting a firm agenda.
Agenda for strategic meetings are often very broad Big picture thinking borders towards ambiguity. It’s important to spend time in not just assimilating the wish list but also systematically prioritizing strategic issue over operational issues. Sometimes, making a choice is difficult. In our experience, several off sites are still born. Too much is stuffed into the agenda for or 2-3 day offsite.
Remember, that conversations usually take 20% more time than envisaged. Plan for some free time in your agenda.
3. Hire a facilitator & Prepare:
Stakeholders have great expectations from the Strategic Offsite. It’s important to manage these expectations to start with. Define your best and minimum threshold outcome. What must be achieved and what must be discussed. Because Strategic off sites involve people at the leadership level, they are often expensive – not just in terms of travel and facilitation but also in terms of people’s time.
Planning to ensure that meaningful and constructive conversations happen. It requires a structured method to create powerful and meaningful conversation. By engage a professional facilitator, you could make your Strategic offsite meaningful. Professional Strategy Facilitators such as Akash Chander from Strengthscape would engage with the stakeholders to create a structure and method.
Next step is preparation. You may not want to waste time sharing data and information at a Strategic offsite. Poorly planned Strategy Offsite end up just sharing information. You would want to share the relevant data beforehand.
Offsite are meaningful when they involved exchange perspective, challenging each other and building consensus on sensitive issues.