The off-sites Waltz and Tango

I love off-sites . The baby that came with the new corporate culture. Once a year at least you get to go out with the bosses to this nice “resort” or leisure hotel which otherwise wouldn’t have fit your pocket. Sometimes, the family can tag along too.

Let’s take a real close look at off-sites.  I worked in a company called General Electric. And may be because I did well out there in couple of things, I got to get trained in something called facilitative leadership skills. We talked about the famous GE Work out exercises. Jack Welch loved them. Taking the team out of the office ( off site) and picking the high potential brains till they bled all that great ideas and also how to implement them to get fatter top and bottom line , keeping employees happy,  and being the leaders in business was the whole deal.

Oh, then these off sites became a fashionable thing to do. Some leaders really knew that there was a purpose and one came back with stuff that fed and fuelled business strategies.

 I ask people often, how was your last off site?

Most times I get the reply,” Oh, that was fun! Didn’t know that Mr.X could drown 8 shots of tequila in a row!!!”

 So I say, Ah..! so what was the offsite about?

 I see this fleeting thought in that face. Good question! What was that offsite about? We did have an event manager who did come with some theme about team work and success… we did ppts of last year performance we did hear about what we got to do to be on top.. again ppts … thoughts trail away at this point.

 I am a coach, I listen and I ask a whole bunch of questions, so my question then is, “what did you bring back from the offsite?”

“ … hmmmmmm… “goes my friend and says, “well! I guess the bosses wanted us to have some fun!  And we did!”

Familiar? Well, I have been there too. In India  today, companies ( mostly MNCs) spend a fortune on off-sites.  Check the hotels and resorts that are premium. And you will get an idea how much that amount would be.

If you are a leader who is taking your team for an offsite because you have some budget yet to spend (we are in the third quarter) call a core group together and ask them what they would want out of an offsite. And plan a real waltz.. better still, plan a Tango! And who would pair? The employee and the organizational goal.  What better place than the exotic hotel you have chosen (and got a great deal too) to get each of the team members learn this dance!

You got to plan the Dance lessons. May be even get a good teacher. Someone who is there with no hidden agenda and will tell when steps go wrong… when to let go… and when to hold tight!  Have the team find a fine choreographed dance for the next quarter/ year or whatever time frame until next time you gather in the same place. Perhaps off sites you spend so much time and effort wouldn’t be just a have fun and off the mind exercises any more, but valuable time and effort spent to take your organization to the next higher step. 

Radhika M Menon