I frequently get asked if it is important to get teams off-site to conduct annual planning. I often hear things like:
- We have this beautiful conference room, can’t we do it here?
- We don’t want to spend the money to get everyone off-site, can we do it across the street from the office?
- Can we bring our “Plus 1’s” with us?
To get the most out of your planning session it is important to get the team out of the day-to-day (work and home) and elevate their thinking to a strategic level. Consider the view from the car window as you are driving contrasted by the view out of the airplane while you are flying. The view is vastly different.
I recommend at a minimum you take your teams off-site for Annual Planning. This will signify the importance of the work at hand and how much you value the team member’s contribution. Sometimes this retreat is the single time some of them actually get away from the day-to-day.
Being away from the day-to-day produces the environment for your teams to think bigger about themselves and the business. It also creates an environment to deepen team cohesiveness. It is those around the patio fireplace conversations or those early morning walks that will produce some amazing conversations, and the outcomes can be transformational for your team’s cohesiveness which leads to a great planning session and better execution.
Consider a retreat center in a nice location with activities, views, and good accommodations.
Choose a room with plenty of space to move around and plenty of windows for natural light.
Consider engaging a coach to guide you through the process. Let the coach drive the meeting so you do not have to. You need to participate, to the same degree as your team. You won’t be able to do that if you are worried about the next step in the process, keeping the conversation on task, and working with the various people dynamics that always occur. A coach is an expert at leading these sessions and will ensure you get a great outcome.
Here are the key values you can expect from taking your team off-site this winter for Annual Planning:
- A more cohesive team, built on a foundation of trust
- Team morale will increase and relationships will deepen which sets you up for great execution.
- A-Player retention will increase as they see their work come to life in the plan. A-Players want to be part of something big.
You will build a great plan with 10-year, 3-year, 1-year, and Q-1 metrics and priorities. The plan will be highly executable because it was built from the bottom up, with team participation, and not from the top down by only you.
The collective intelligence your team brings to the table is paramount because as a leader you have blind spots. Having your team at the table gets the market and team intelligence at the forefront where we can build a great plan.
And your team will be so happy!
If you want to discuss the agenda for your Annual Planning session, please reach out, we are happy to help you create a most impactful agenda.