Making the most of your annual off-site meeting

Uncategorized | 27-01-2021

Just returned from your annual executive off-site retreat?

You have completed the annual two-day management event. It was good!

Together you discussed next year’s ambitions in a relaxed atmosphere. The direction now is clear. The annual goals are captured in a nice presentation.

Back in the office, you get straight to work. You tell everyone why it is so important that the strategy is implemented. You start projects. In the first few weeks, your colleagues share your enthusiasm.

You see the first results being achieved.


The annual plan slowly turns into a fairy tale

But after a few months you hear the first doubts from colleagues: “This is very ambitious. We have so much to do already, let’s just do our work properly. It will not be a disaster if we do not reach all the goals, will it?

Employees struggle with translating goals into their daily work: “I have no idea what exactly is expected of me and I have so much to do already.”

Transformation projects slow down, and it takes more and more energy to get results. They lose momentum.

For example, the annual plan seems to turn into a fairy tale after a few months. It’s a nice story but not reality. Frustrating and a shame! But unfortunately, very recognisable …


The issues of the day – the enemy of all plans

Everyone struggles with the issues of the day, that compelling stream of daily activities over which one has no control.

No matter how beautiful the plan was when you left the two-day event, the issues of the day is ready to eclipse that beautiful plan.


Getting closer every day

So what can you do to make this beautiful plan a reality?

5 practical tips, make it:

  1. Clear
  2. Small
  3. Complete
  4. Visible
  5. Alive


1. Clear

Limit yourself. Two or three ambitions that resonate are more than enough. This is how you mobilize the power of focus. Describe the annual goals vividly. What will customers and employees see and experience when you achieve this specific goal?


2. Small

Goals can become overwhelming. Reduce annual goals to quarterly goals. Challenge teams to translate these quarterly goals into a team plan. Ask each team to translate their plan into specific activities for the next few weeks.


3. Complete

A team plan is more than a list of short-term team goals. Make team behaviour part of your team plans. Challenge team members to agree on their behaviours needed to achieve the team goals.


4. Visible

Make company goals, team plans, and progress visible to each employee. Help each employee make their contribution to the whole visible.


5. Alive

Achieving ambitions is a two way street, it requires dialogue. Translate team plans into action plans quarterly. Discuss team progress each week. Ask team members to contribute ideas for improvement.


This is how you get from ” the 2-day outdoor management event” to “one step closer every day”.

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