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An Off-Site That Motivates Employees to Inspire

By: Lisa Patrick


I wake up in the morning rested, alert, happy and excited to start my day. If I didn’t, I know exactly what I wouldn’t do: attend a typical off-site retreat jam packed with unproductive discussions not aligned with my objectives and goals.

What a huge collective waste of everyone’s time and money. Avoid this backlash, maximize every aspect of your off-site planning so that you can capitalize on your time together and leave energized, inspired, and tasked with actions that will bring your teams to the next level.
“People who are involved in planning off-sites aim too low,” says branding expert Brenda Williams in a recent Fast Company story. Williams says off site meeting planners should aim for much more than helping your managers get to know each other or better align themselves with the company’s goals. “What problem will this event solve? What decision will it help people make? What new ideas will it produce? You have to anchor an off-site with goals that actually mean something to the business.”
  1. Plan ahead. At the early stages of planning your agenda discussion topics for your off-site, your meetings are high-level candid discussions that allow you to get a different perspective on your business’ trajectory. Then narrow down your discussions to a specific and defined purpose.
  2. Ask yourself: What do I seek to accomplish? Are you alerting people to a change in management or a shift in strategy? Are you seeking input from others on a problem facing the company? Are your company’s core values in question? Meetings with vague purposes, such as “status updates,” are rarely a good use of time and have no return on investment.
  3. Embrace Technology. Divert your attendee’s attention from emailing, surfing the web, or just playing around with their technology. Utilizing state of the art interactive communication platforms, like the Convention Business Travel platform engages participants and keeps them focused and their eyes on you and the topics on hand.
  4. End on Time. It’s not hell in paradise. Don’t spend 15 hours a day locked in a room without windows at your off-site. Have some fun. Stick to your agenda timeline.
  5. Follow Up. Document the responsibilities given, tasks delegated, and any assigned deadlines. That way, everyone will be on the same page. Even the best off-sites with the most powerful ideas can be lost if not documented with accountable actions to follow.
It’s work, but no more constantly running in emergency mode with a stomach in knots, and pretty anxiety-ridden because you’ll never go back to a typically planned offsite retreat.
This article was originally published by Convention Business Travel
Published: April 15, 2015

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Lisa Patrick

Lisa Patrick is the Chairman and CEO of Convention Business Travel. She is a savvy, innovative, business-focused executive with a strong network and proven track record with corporate and strategy. Lisa started her career in law enforcement and is now the founder of several successful startups. Lisa prides herself on building relationships first and conducting business next. Today, she successfully balances business, marriage and motherhood.

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