Nearly every professional firm – and often large teams within firms – has an annual off-site. These events typically require a large investment of time and money to organise and involve a significant amount of non-chargeable management and fee-earner time spent out of the office. Given the size of this investment, there is a lot at stake for managing partners and CEOs to get the off-site right.
The best off-sites have a clear structure. This ensures that everybody feels listened to and that discussions translate into clear decisions that people can implement back in the office.
Although an off-site provides valuable time for internal network building and ideas sharing, there is a risk that if it is not facilitated properly it will become little more than an extended networking session. In our experience, professional firms often fail to take advantage of the opportunity to use an off-suite to build consensus around important strategic decisions. Lots of talking does not always equal practical decision-making. But it is also important than an off-site feels like a genuine conversation, otherwise attendees may feel they are being presented a fait accompli and are being railroaded into a strategy they cannot support.
Having a properly planned and facilitated off-site will avoid the precious time that everybody has together being wasted.
Unfortunately, there is little guidance available to managing partners and CEOs on how to run these days successfully. To remedy this lack of insight, this guide distils eight top tips from Meridian West’s many years of experience facilitating off-sites and partner conferences for professional firms. It is designed to help firm leaders make the most of these annual rituals to gain broad organisational support for their strategy and generate useful ideas to refine their thinking further.
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