When I used to be employed as an in-house learning and development manager, I was always being asked by my business units whether I would run a team away day for them. Very often it’s the up-and-coming partner or junior partner who is given the job of organising the department away day. I’m all for a bit of purposeful socialising, or team planning, just not team away days for the sake of them. Sadly, most of the requests I received were in the ‘team days because we haven’t had one for a while’ camp. In this second part of a 3 part article, (1st part here) Jon Baker identifies where team away days go wrong.
Where do team away days all go wrong?
- Objectives: Unless you are clear what you want and how you will know if you achieved it, it won’t work. Having a team away day because you have one every year, is not a clear enough objective for the event.
- Congruence: Imagine a department believing that they are badly treated being taken out for a day and told that they are now going to be well treated (yes, this happens far too often). Most participants, in this situation, on the day will tend to dis-engage. Your behaviours before the session need to be congruent with what you hope for.
- Follow up: Everybody had a great day; listened to a presentation from the head of department or even member of the management board, split into groups, discussed ideas and by the end of the day filled up a big flipchart with the ideas. Excitedly people return to work, but in the days that follow they hear……nothing. Actions speak louder than words – so make sure that progress on the to do list after the day, is actively monitored and openly communicated.
- Done it all before: Some teams have been on similar events many times, particularly if you always have to go to the same place and do the same things that the partners like. To them it ceases to be different and they may or may not engage with you on the day. This is made worse if they have previously seen no real benefits.
- Communication: The team know that there is an event, but don’t really know what it is about or for. Some of them are already thinking “waste of time, I have work to do”. Springing lots of new ideas on them sends it down like a lead balloon. (You may find our FREE tips for team briefing, email needed, useful to help you do this).
- Facilitation: The person managing the discussion doesn’t do a good job. Perhaps some people don’t get heard, while others have too much “air time”. Perhaps the facilitator doesn’t understand what’s going on!
To make sure your next team away day is a success, both before, during and after the day download our FREE guide to running a team away day. (email required) In tomorrow’s blog post, Jon will share his 8 point action list for better team away days. Jon Baker is a Business Coach, Sales Trainer and Experienced Public Speaker who specialises in working with partners and potential partners from small firms – typically up to 10 partner practices. He helps the professionals with 5 to 50 staff improve their performance and grow their firm, sustainably, profitably and whilst enjoying the experience.