This week, we have had a couple of questions around how will team and business leaders get their teams to collaborate together or will specific activities help bring teams more closely together.
Dear Focus, my team haven’t spent any time together for over a year, will an offset help them to connect?
For many, the last year has been a year where many have struggled to keep in touch with their colleagues and connect at a deeper level vs when in person.
As humans we are built to connect at a deeper level, small talk and social cues are essential to us to understand where we are and if we are safe.
Knowing how you connect peer to peer helps bonds form, herding to happen around collective goals and then tribes to form.
What we lost when remote is the connective layers of relationships, we need to start repairing this, creating events where we can connect firstly as people, but then importantly as teams, departments and companies.
For the most part of the last twelve to fifteen months: survival and sanity have been the name of the game.
High performing teams can take up to and over six months to connect without any changes. We have a year of change to address.
We have had to put ourselves first and ensure we have a job, we have some security and we get through 2020 and 2021 as safely as possible.
Off-sites are often a brilliant way to connect a small group of people, typically a quarterly event is a great way to organise and create alignment around common goals and important bonds you wouldn’t get to know outside of an organised event.
Unfortunately, the side many do not talk about is some offsites can be challenging, often hard work and many around the table will not want to open up and trust can be lost, all of these things need to considered and engineered to encourage openness, airing issues and talking through issues.
There are obviously a few questions you will have to answer:
- Is this going to be safe?
- I haven’t been around a group of people in a year, can you ease teams into this?
- I don’t want to time with these people, why should we?
- Can we not do this remotely?
Or in hybrid?
It is important you answer the first three directly, I will help to guide you with 4.
Be Deliberate: Being hybrid will be challenging, you will always seem like a B team player when remote, technology is still not ideal for remote people in offsites, it can however be done by ensuring you have the best tech available, they are asked their opinion and you have signs and a chair to help guide the hybrid event.
Two More Factors: There are two core factors you should consider when looking at off-site or on-site.
The first is to connect the team first and then let work talk take over, you will need a schedule but allow it to be more flexible than previous off-sites and have an agenda and pre-reading everyone reads and provides feedback on.
The second factor is connecting teams around delivering a dedicated workstream that is just for that group. The project is important to achieve a sense of achievement together and build a connection to winning something as a group.
Wider Company Connections: An off-site or series of off-sites will help form a company subculture, a team bond or leadership team bond, it won’t answer the bigger issue of addressing a company-wide cultural connection issue.
Doing something grand and reviewing strategy will be essential however these have long lead and success time and connecting to a project that you can win around will be key to connecting.
So the TLDR answer is an offsite will be essential when safe to reconnect in person and it will provide you with a way to connect colleagues together.
The important element to success is being able to connect around the campfire, around food, stories and experiences.
Good luck and enjoy planning those on-site and off-sites.
Remember the office as an arena is a way to think about organisational design and success.
Here’s how we can help you.