Here is an offsite agenda that several clients have benefited from with new leaders establishing their relationships with their leadership team.
Opening video - make it light and to the point. YouTube is a great source, alternatively, there are a dozen or so that I have for my clients.
Agenda walkthrough - but remind people we will be flexible with it. Establish the car park early for items requiring discussion outside the offsite.
Ice breaker - ask people to share something about themselves. Sometimes this could be a small object that is important to them or something about themselves that they are comfortable with nobody might know. Both create greater connections. It is surprising how many times established teams learn something about somebody they didn't know!
About you - people will want to know about you and what makes you tick. Avoid falling into the trap of rattling off your resume, put this in some form of timeline so people can see it, and then explain why you took the various roles. The why is more important than the what, and explain your key learnings.
Take a break - allow things to soak in a little, and take the time to casually touch base with everyone during the break.
Your brief - what are the board or executive group expecting from the team? Endeavour to do this in a manner that asks a series of open questions rather than you having the answers. Create buy-in, by breaking out the brief into sections and having the team discuss each, capturing their input.
Signpost another break - allow people time to reflect on this section of the agenda and potentially have people review the various flip charts showing the information captured.
Reflections - seek people's reflections after a break. Avoid rationalising or discounting anyone's thoughts; even if you know they are damaging. You need to truly see where people are at. This is an important data point.
Department discovery sessions - begin with some of their greatest achievements, work underway and top five challenges. Avoid starting with the challenges, seek to make people feel good about their work, and create an open environment. When discussing challenges, focus on the issue and not the people; set this expectation early within your tenure.
Leadership team (LT) reflections - allocate time between each department session for the LT to discuss their key takeaways or clarify any uncertain points. Avoid the temptation of wanting to dominate this conversation; encourage conversations that lead to tighter peer collaborations.
End of day - avoid wrapping things up quickly. Ask these three questions: what was good, what can we do better next time and what are you thinking and possibly not saying. Agree how best the broader team can be updated about the day, try doing the update via video!
An offsite done well can set the team up for the coming year. Feel free to make contact if you would like to learn more.
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