The typical off-site meeting is chock-full of PowerPoint presentations, flip charts and team-building exercises. But back at work months later, what actually changes?
Lead an off-site event that leaves people energized and focused:
- Know what victory looks like. When Timberland Co. needed to revamp and add new products, its leaders held an off-site to jump-start things. They invited designers, engineers and marketers to spend one week hashing it out, a process that normally takes years. Result: They met their goals. Says VP Doug Clark, “Having that concrete goal allowed us to walk the line between exploring creative flights of fancy and remaining results-driven.”
- Make sure team-building exercises solve a real problem. During Ford’s off-site, Carolyn Lantz, executive director of brand imaging, gave executives $50 each and put them on a bus to Old Navy. “I told them, ‘You have 20 minutes to find and purchase an outfit that you have to wear tomorrow. You are busy people looking for great design at a great price. Those are Ford’s customers.’” The exercise made a point: Ford’s products need to be well designed, but democratically priced.
—Adapted from “Can This Off-Site Be Saved?” Cheryl Dahle, Fast Company, www.fastcompany.com.