Last Friday the Edo team headed out of the office to spend a day away from their desks and phones to explore what 2018 might look like for us. First off, we headed to the beautiful Forge which was flooded with winter sunlight and filled with festive charm, serving as the perfect setting for the morning sessions.
When this day was in the process of being planned, it was identified that this ‘Away Day’ needed to be led not just by the leadership team, but by everyone. In order to allow this to happen, we invited an external facilitator to host and bring along a fresh methodology to get the conversation flowing, whilst ensuring we make the most of the time we had together. The schedule for the day was quite tight, but it made for a rich and energetic day.
The morning consisted of three Open Space sessions based on the three business visions that were identified when we became Edo back in April 2017. Open Space is a dynamic methodology which gave everyone the power to:
- Identify topics for conversations they wanted to explore
- Let conversations flow and evolve without restriction
- Vote with their feet by leaving a conversation when it was no longer of interest
This fluid methodology allowed the whole team to explore quite high level ideas, which can often exist only as words on paper, rather than practices which are very much alive. It gave everyone the opportunity to speak honestly about what these visions meant to them, any concerns they had, as well as ideas which may not have previously been shared. It quickly became clear that it would have been impossible to write an agenda that included everything we spoke about!
By lunchtime we were all ready to feast. After a quick re-fuel from Tiffin Time, we got down to serious business - huddling around the Christmas tree to play Stealing Santa! After one final Open Space session, we all boarded the Edo bus and headed to City Mazes where our true problem-solving skills were tested by being locked in rooms with an hour to escape. It turns out that some aren’t as good at problem-solving as others, (we might need to address this in upcoming performance reviews) as one of the four teams did not successfully crack the code. Lucky for them, the City Mazes team were kind enough to let them out so that we could let our hair down and celebrate the festive season with an epic tapas feast at Pata Negra followed by a little boogie on the dance floor.
Whatever capacity you are reading this, one thing to take with you from our Away Day experience is the importance of taking time to step out of the ordinary. By changing the scenery and structure of the day and including a few unusual activities, everyone left feeling refreshed and motivated. Maybe you can’t organise a whole day out for your team, but why not try holding your next team meeting out of the office, or introducing a new structure to it? Change is often feared, but used in a positive way it can be a priceless tool.