Our company has put a recent focus on ‘away days’ for its senior teams. You know the sort of thing. The whole team ups and goes off into the wilds with threats of being left in the middle of nowhere with a tin of soup, a pencil and an elastic band. Living in Scotland we have the joy of many stunning locations in the middle of nowhere and we took ourselves off to Aberfoyle in the Trossachs. One of the few places in Scotland, apart from my local supermarket, where there is no network coverage for cell phones.
This rural setting drove one of my Black Belt colleagues to have 14 of us spinning around a car park, making bizarre gestures with our hands while lightly whooping in an apparent homage to Goblins. This seems to have been the standout activity of the day and definitely ranked as the funniest part of the whole experience. This was closely followed by his later car park based activity when we pretended to be ‘Penguins in Training’ which involved us repeatedly slapping our thighs and whacking ourselves on the head. Feel free to share any of your own bizarre team activities as the next away day is a mere 12 months away and I’m looking for something to top the Goblin whooping!
All in all though it was a really fun, engaging and effective way to get massive amounts of discussion, brain-storming (or ‘thought-sharing’ for the PC mad amongst you) and planning done for what will be an world shatteringly transformational time for our whole company. Our team have been put at the forefront of this transformation and that brings its own cocktail of excitement and anticipation shaken up with a measure of adrenaline and served over ice with a cocktail cherry, a dash of fear and a wee paper umbrella.
It was never like this in the Training team…
I would heartily recommend that next time you need to plan, organise, strategise and envision the future then get yourself well away from the office. Go somewhere quiet, stay overnight, switch off your phone, leave the lap top at home and immerse yourself in the whole spirit of being a team. If your first response is ’I can’t switch off my phone’ or ’I can’t afford a day away from the office’ then perhaps you need to reprioritize and ask yourself some tough questions. The benefits are plentiful and are there to be had if you can just look up from your data long enough to see them. I am now a fully fledged advocate of the well planned and facilitated ‘Away Day’ and if anyone wants any more info on how well ours was run then let me know and i can give you some tips, tricks and info on the penguin thing!
Still no offers of a book deal for my Gather & Fudge methodology. I’m sure it’s just a delayed reaction to the profound nature of the whole concept. Get in touch if you have any refinements to the concept and perhaps I can work them in before I get published.