Getting the most out of your Strategy Away Day

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A Strategy Away Day can boost your team’s motivation and performance, whilst setting your business strategy for the coming months. They’re quickly becoming part of the culture of many companies nowadays. But it isn’t just about whacky ideas and the weird and wonderful hosting locations that should make them pop!

We share how we structured our latest away day last week to ensure that we got the most out of the session. We hope that it provides some useful hints and tips for when you next come to plan yours….

Take it Offline as well as Offsite

When you schedule a company away day, you actually need to get away from your work. So don’t schedule an “away day” that takes place in your office. To define a new business strategy your head needs to be in the game. We took this quite literally last week by hosting ours at St James Park Football Stadium Newcastle, in RE:GEN’s executive box. With views overlooking the pitch, as if we really were in the clouds, it was the perfect place to invigorate our blue-sky thinking.

IMPORTANT – Being offsite is one thing, but being offline is another! It’s vital to remember that being out of the office can be daunting for some team members. Particularly those with high workloads and customer facing roles who are in demand from their inbox. Make sure you provide the necessary support for them while they are away from their desk to ensure they can fully relax and be present in the room without stressing about “what jobs they are falling behind on”. An away day is a key part of any business so it needs to have total buy-in from your team and be perceived as a positive contributor to their day to day – rather than a hindrance. They say a change is as good as a rest, so taking time out of the business, even if it’s to work ON the business should be welcomed all round.

Let everyone know your Away Day’s purpose

Whether your away day is about setting a new strategy, team building or celebrating achievements, your team should be aware of its purpose. Don’t create an away day that is a bit murky leaving your employees unsure of what to expect. Instead, be clear ahead of time what the away day is about.

Have a tight agenda and stick to it! So often in our days we can get side-tracked but a strategy away day is the one opportunity where we can be focussed and undistributed. Our Head of Strategy Rochelle Groh created a series of documents and feedback forms including a Start/Stop/Keep sheet for us to complete ahead of the day. This ensured we could hit the ground running from get-go!

Identify your Rocks (yes… we said rocks!!)

The backbone of our strategy session was set around identifying our rocks. Like any business going through rapid growth and scaling up, one of the biggest hurdles you can face is deciding on the critical Rocks for the quarter and for the year. If you aren’t familiar with the concept of “Rocks”, check out the below:

  • Rocks are just another word for a specific type of concrete, attainable goals. They are a subset of SMART goals — those goals that are Specific,  Measurable,  Attainable,  Realistic and Timely.
  • Instead of setting a goal like “increase sales this year,” rocks encourage you to set a smaller, more specific goal. By choosing specific smaller goals and holding people accountable, you can better ensure that your company will continue to grow.
  • Rocks allow you to set clear goals for all team members. Each person knows what he or she is accountable for. Everyone gets their own Rocks, including team leaders. These goals are usually set with a 90-day deadline. The 90-day length is short enough that the required actions do not land on the back burner, but long enough that there is time to do a thorough and effective job.
  • The team’s Rocks are checked up on a weekly basis so that you can see where you are either “On Track”, where you need to be, or if you are “Off track” and can then vector resources to get it back “On track”. At the end of the 90 days, the goals are either achieved or they are not. There is no sliding time line, no wishy-washy idea that these are things that need to be done “eventually” or “soon.” They are time limited so that they become strong priorities.
  •  Over time, you will find that one small, attainable goal leads naturally into the next one. That’s why Rocks rock!!

Learn More About Your Team

Of course, it isn’t just about identifying new plans for the business. A strategy away day is the perfect opportunity to get to know your team better. If you take your team out of the office and put them in a different environment, you’ll quickly see how they adapt to differing situations, and maybe even learn something new about them. To bag a really successful strategy day, see if you can empower your team to learn something new about themselves too. Nothing beats a little self-discovery!

As you will be aware, team RE:geon has grown exponentially over recent months. Mainly due to the securing of new funding streams and launch our first of its kind Route 2 Retrofit Bootcamp to train a new army for the Green Revolution, so our away day was the perfect setting for some team bonding as we welcome in so many new faces. Needless to say, it’s brought us all closer than the usual 9-5 office set up would have, which leads us perfectly into our next point….

Build Morale and Lift Spirits

It’s no secret that going to work every day, working on a computer until 5pm and then slugging your way back on the commute home can be monotonous and a little bit depressing. People need things to look forward to in their lives, and you can do that with your strategy away day.

Most people look forward to company away days because it’s a chance to break away from the confines of the office. It allows them to be a bit more of the person they are away from the office. It allows everyone to finally breathe, boosting morale and lifting spirits merely by doing something different.

Hosting a corporate away day can also be a way to let your employees know you appreciate them and want them on the bus with you. Rather than telling them “this is what we are going to do”, you are encouraging them to contribute towards finding the answer of “what should we do?” – with group problem solving and brainstorming ideas as a collective.

Always Follow Up

For an away day to be worthwhile, it is essential to take useful information away with us. Alongside our outline of Rocks, we gathered feedback from our staff at the end of session to see how they found the day. What did they like, and more importantly what did they dislike so that we can factor this into the next session. It’s all about constructive criticism and honesty here to help us grow!

As the saying goes, strike while the iron is hot… so before the day is out and you return the mundane 9-5 routine the following morning, we’ve found that it’s super effective to circulate a one pager summary of your Strategy Day. Outlining everything discussed and clearly breaking down your goals (and rocks!). This one pager holds the key to empowering your team to start showing up. Not just for themselves but for the business as a whole. It’s concise and succinct master plan to the next part of your business journey. One which everyone will undoubtedly pay attention to.

So, when you’re next planning your business’ strategy away day, keep these useful tips in mind. We’d love to hear how they benefit you, particularly when it comes to identifying your Rocks! So do reach out to us and share your successes at training@regeon.co.uk

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