Whole company off site events have numerous benefits. They help individuals working in a small part of the organisation get a sense of the whole. They provide an opportunity for teams to understand and interact with other teams. They can have a positive effect on the culture – increasing the extent to which people identify with the company. They can offer great opportunities to get a lot of work done on one day. You can use it to celebrate your successes, boosting people or teams who have pulled off some great results. You can use it to generate ideas to solve common problems. And so on. Done well, they are landmarks in your business year.
Whole Company Events require careful design to ensure maximum RELEVANCE and ENGAGEMENT. You want it to be a great work memory, not a dull one. Equally, it cannot be seen to be frivolous. Each element must have value after the event.
The staples are often required – a few talking head presentations. But they can be done with flair, given some creative thinking and perhaps a little coaching.
As we emerge from these austere times, there is understandably some nervousness about anything which may be deemed to be extravagant. Useful does not have to equal boring, however. Here are a few low-cost entertaining things I’ve worked with groups to deliver:
- Customer Journey Simulations. Acting out a variety of walk throughs for typical customer experiences and identifying Magic Moments and points for improvement. They can be entertaining and highly instructive/useful.
- Ten Years On. Thinking about your market space, customer expectations, work processes, IT etc in 10 years time and creating a Life in the Day of …
- Home Made videos. You may have some hidden talent in your organisation. I’ve often been blown away by the quality of what some groups produce. BAFTA quality! I’ve been left with a quivering chin watching people describe the love and care they put into delivering their service. I’ve had groups of 450 in tears and cheering. It’s really, really powerful.
- Construction competitions. One of my favourites was having teams build cars and race them at London Zoo. I will never forget the noise of the final – like being at an F1 event.
- Sketch shows/poems/funny talks. Do you have one of those people who can do this? Or a team of extroverts who can stage a 5 minute sketch. They are often hilarious and conversation-provoking in equal measure. One wag used to have an eagerly anticipated slot at every conference where he would deliver an irreverent poem. It’s great to see the senior team not taking themselves too seriously.
- Skills sessions. I once brought 13 volunteers to give 1 hour sessions simultaneously on topics such as: juggling, talking in public, structured problem solving, massage at work, running a brainstorm. They went down a treat and cost a small voucher as a thank you to those delivering.
- Forum Theatre. Using actors to create realistic moments of truth/dilemmas. The action is paused. The “crowd” direct the actors how to handle the situation. Gripping and highly effective way to work on difficult interactions with customers or colleagues.
Here are some examples of events I’ve done:
- Whole Company Events for Housing Associations with Guest Speakers, Reviews of the Year, Crystal Ball sessions, Celebrations, Competitions, Here is our work – where subsidiaries made and showed videos, Improvisation Sessions, Real Time Business Planning, Important Problem Solving.
- Smaller Company Away Days with focus on teamwork, marketing planning, internal workflow process improvement.
Jim managed a strategic planning retreat for my management team. It was fab. Very focussed, very enjoyable and with great outputs.
He's a big guy with immense integrity and fab ideas.
CEO / Solar Aid Ltd
Jim is the most talented large group facilitator I know. One of his clients even moved the date of their national conference, just so they could ensure they got to use Jim. He’s the best in the business at getting buy-in, and is a master of guiding people through attitude change. When Jim facilitates an event, it’s enjoyable, engaging and impactful.
International Keynote Speaker / Costabell Ltd
Jim is an absolute pleasure to work with. He helped design and facilitated a large staff conference (450 staff) effortlessly, bringing what can be a disparate group of people together using humour, integrity and a clear focus on the key messages of the day. Jim always goes the extra mile, giving costructive and well observed feedback to help relationships move forward and a huge dose of creativity. I would highly recommend him for facilitation, Executive coaching and creative problem solving and development.
Head of Organisation Development / Network Housing
Jim is a very personable and experienced manager and leader who is able to quickly get to grips with the requirements of an assignment to deliver the desired output to a high standard. Jim is a strong facilitator and particularly excels in any task that requires an element of challenge, collaborative working and innovation and new thinking.
Senior Manager / Various Orgainsations
Great facilitator, capable of helping you to reach new heights - but always with a focus on practicality and implementation. Jim knows that it is what gets done that matters - not what gets said or thought!
md / Realise Development
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