From time to time business owners wonder about how to improve team work among their staff. They often follow that thought by wondering about team awaydays and how they will help to improve their team. How about you?
What’s a team awayday?
The idea is to improve the communications within their team and encourage “different thinking”. They take their team out of work for a day (or half a day) to think differently about their work objectives, rather than their work.
Generating a new perspective on an issue can be powerful for one person, imagine what it can do for a team.
What goes wrong with team awaydays?
Most “team awaydays” are badly structured and not really about generating alternative thought; so they fail.
Some business owners take their team away from work, hoping to generate new life into the team, their firm and be a beneficial experience. But, they find it didn’t work and they wasted their money, let alone the work that didn’t get done.
The case for team awaydays
Taking your team out of their normal environment to benefit from their experience, knowledge and get them to think differently as a result of being away from the normal routine can change the results in your firm.
A different environment with no interruptions can allow the team to focus on each other and the task.
- Thinking differently: Getting the team to think differently can make a huge difference to performance. People may be more willing to adopt new ideas, or create them.
- Motivation: Taking time away from the normal routine, sharing future company issues with the team can motivate and inspire.
- More effective team: Spending time away from the normal environment, doing something different, can bring the team closer and help them become more effective.
- Different routine: This can generate different ideas and powerful new strategies or willingness to tackle a task.
5 tips to make your team awaydays work
- Objectives: Unless you are clear what you want and how you will know if you achieved it, it won’t work.
- Congruence: Imagine a team believing that they are badly treated being taken out for a day and told that they are now going to be well treated. Most people immediately switch off, wouldn’t you? Ensure your behaviours before the awayday are congruent with what you want after it, or don’t run the awayday.
- Follow up: So, they had a great day. They listened to your presentation, split into groups, discussed ideas and by the end of the day filled up a big flipchart with new ideas. The excitedly returned to work, and then hear……nothing. That’s worse than not having the awayday, as they feel let down. Ensure you follow up and show them how things are changing afterwards, over the next 2-3 months and beyond.
- 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.
- Facilitation: Managing the discussion, running the day and being the boss can be hard. Some people don’t get heard, while others have too much “air time”. Perhaps the facilitator doesn’t understand what’s going on! Think about who will facilitate and include them in the planning.
What has worked well for your team awaydays, I’d love to hear.
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