How Team Meetings Are Essential to Your Business
Winston Churchill once said, “The war was not won through the plan, the war was won with the planning.” You and your business reach higher levels and grow faster because you meet and plan with the like-minded people in your organization and connect with them in a way that produces synergistic results.
In short—the sum is greater than its parts.
I’ve discovered one of the fastest and most effective ways to produce that synergy within my team—and that is to conduct regularly scheduled off-site team meetings. We choose a day when a lot of people are off work (typically a bank holiday), and we’ll shut the office down and travel somewhere nearby. I prefer it to be somewhere pleasant, like a country club or plush meeting room. We go and make a day of it with a special lunch and a featured speaker who can infuse the team with fresh insight and inspiration.
Your team sees you all year long—this meeting is about being new and different. If you have kids or remember being one yourself, you’ve probably noticed that children and young adults have a bad habit of ignoring advice from their parents. Then a coach, friend, or teacher will tell them the exact same thing, and they can’t stop talking about how “genius” that person is (as though they are hearing this advice for the first time). It’s human nature’s fault—if we hear advice from the same person over and over again, we tend to tune that person out. That’s why we bring somebody in from the outside who has a new, exciting, unique message that they’ve “never heard before,” and they tend to stand up and take notice.
We brought in an outside speaker to our off-site meeting a few years ago who was an agency principal from another state. He drove in and spent the night at our home the night before so we could talk about what we wanted to accomplish. We created an agenda for the meeting, and we went into the next day with a solid itinerary. His ideas were well received, to say the least. A week later, my team was still starting sentences with, “Well, Stan said that…” His words were like Gospel. They held on to every idea and took his advice to heart. If they had heard the same information from me (their “dad” in our little analogy), I am not sure it would have had the same powerful effect.
Plan your off-site meetings well in advance. Contact the venue or venues you are considering and take a tour of the facilities to ensure it gives off the vibe you desire and meets the requirements you need (Wi-Fi, AV capabilities, etc.). When in doubt, bring your own equipment along as we do. Get a little creative with your planning of the day’s agenda. Whatever allows your people to have the mindset they need to grow your profitability is a good thing.
Don’t start the day off on a business note. Spend fifteen to thirty minutes talking about your overarching goals and desires as a team and as individuals (including family and personal goals). Allow everyone who wishes to participate to have a chance to share. This opens up the realms of possibility and gets people focusing on the big picture from the start.
Off-site planning meetings can have some long-lasting effects. In fact, we still have two pages from the flipchart we used in this year’s meeting hanging in our war room that summarize the things we’re going to get done this year. Off-site meetings are a great refresher and a perfect reset to an otherwise predictable routine.
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