Top Tips for an Away Day

DSC00567It’s been one week, since the Lucidica Strategy Away Day, so a good time to reflect on the positive outcomes for Lucidica and our team.  This was our third annual Strategy Away Day.  We invite the whole team to get together on a Saturday for an overnight stay somewhere out of London.

I wanted to share with you my top 5 tips for a great away day and a quick run-down on the value that I’ve seen from our Strategy Away Days. I would recommend any business owner/manager to consider holding a day like this.  After all, where would you be without your team?  Celebrate your successes and talk about the challenges and move forward.

My 5 top tips are:

  1. Location, Location, Location – find somewhere that works for the team.  Some of our team want to head home to be with their families at the end of the day, others want to continue in some post-away day frivolities.
  2. Have fun – ensure a relaxed atmosphere, it’s worth covering some rules of engagement that you want it to be open and honest and start with a light hearted ice breaker.
  3. Be collaborative – if like me you’re new to away days then talk to others – get new ideas, different perspectives and suggestions to make your day as relevant and worthwhile as possible. Also ask the team what they want – after all, this is what the day is about! We asked each person specifically “what one thing do you want to know about the business that you’ve never asked?” and made sure we had the answers.
  4. Plan your day – it’s amazing where the time can go. There are lots of possibilities from company presentations including sales reports, client feedback, customer service to group exercises for defining company values or identity and solving internal issues. .
  5. Momentum – keep this going, ensure you talk about those goals set on the day in your team meetings or team catch ups and keep doing so until the goals are accomplished.

So, you might be thinking – is an away going to involve “making a raft” team building exercises? Not exactly, it gives us time to simply be together without the phone ringing and looking at the business from the inside out

We’re a close team, we work in an open plan office and team members past and present describe us as a family. But one should never underestimate the value of time together outside the office cementing relationships. We have a piece of art on our wall from Tom Lane which says, “Team work makes the dream work”. He believes, as we do, team work comes out when group decisions are needed. It sounds ‘cheesy corporate’, and I’m sure some people looking in would dismiss the value of just being in a room together, but without the team, building on their relationships, our service desk wouldn’t be able to get through those more difficult days when everyone is needed to continue delivering our best.

DSC00569Sharing company information, reflection and forecasting. Each year Lucidica creates a set of goals. Like all businesses, we want to grow, we want to continue to achieve a happy team status and we also want to be profitable to build and invest in our foundations.  It’s important for us to let the team know what this looks like each year and how we measure up against those goals at the end of the year.  There is no point having a set of goals if you don’t reflect on your progress.  In addition, I’m able to celebrate with the team the successes achieved over the year, and discuss some of the challenges that the business is likely to face in our next year of growth.  One key aspect this year was that I was asked to talk about the budgets and costs to give an insight on this area of the business. Now the team have a better understanding of how we are doing.

Team building exercises.  So no raft building, but group exercises to work through a particular subject that is currently relevant to the company.  Last year we focused on internal issues. Each team member pledged what they would do in the next 12 months to fix a specific issue they felt passionate about in the business.  The year gone by has been challenging, but hugely rewarding, each team member contributed to driving the business forward and fixing these internal issues, allowing us this year to look forward to where we wanted to be as a business.  As I mentioned in my top tips, number 3, I was talking to one of Lucidica’s coaching partners Rasheed Ogunlaru about the upcoming away day and he was able to provide guidance on my choice of exercise.  On the day we looked at a set of exercises that included; agreeing our core purpose and motivations and where we’d like to see Lucidica and therefore ourselves in 5 years’ time.  I’m hugely proud of how the team saw their future and jointly the future of the business.  The outcome?  We have all now set rather daring Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGS) for ourselves in order to move towards this collaborated vision, which we’ll be measuring throughout the next 12 months and if achieved will ensure we hit our growth targets that proved difficult in the last 12 months.

DSC00649Have some FUN, it is a Saturday and you’ve just spent the last 40 hours of the week fighting over the air con temperature!  One new item on the agenda this year, which was led by our Service Desk Coordinator, Lauren, received a huge amount of positive feedback.   We had 30 seconds to write down how great each team member is and once we got our own, we had to read out the one we were most proud of to see under our name.  It was a great way to end the day and start our evening celebrations (with a little help from some Hawaiian leis courtesy of Lauren, Dionne and Sylvie!)

Do I feel that what we achieved was value adding, relevant and rewarding?

Yes absolutely. There’s a refreshed sense of team collaboration and achievement and if our individual goals are reached then everyone will be thankful for giving up one Saturday a year to help move Lucidica and our own careers to an even greater place.