CEO’s of organizations regularly hold offsite planning meetings with their executive team and/or with the Board of Directors. Likewise, Department Heads sometimes brings their team together especially if they are geographically dispersed.
Often, these sessions are held on an annual basis, and the topics can be varied such as strategic planning, annual plans or to address operational issues.
I have found that holding pre-offsite meeting consultations with attendees, and sometimes with non-attendees, can dramatically improve the outcomes of the sessions. I have compiled a listing of 8 reasons why the consultations are so effective and each Monday over the summer I will provide the detailed explanation for one of the reasons. It will be a quick 2 minute read each week. Previous weeks’ blogs will remain on the website.
Reason #1Effectiveness – Maximizes the value of the time spent at the offsite meeting (July 7)
Reason #2 Agenda – Provides key insights that assist with setting the meeting agenda
Following the consultations, there is a deeper understanding of what meeting attendees truly think are important items for discussion on the topic at hand. Typically, I will meet with meeting organizers to help set the agenda after the consultations have been completed. The agenda will reflect both the needs of the meeting organizers and meeting attendees, as much as possible.
For instance, in several instances, the consultations revealed a need to discuss the topic of Board of Directors Roles and Responsibilities and, accordingly, this was added to the agenda or it became a sub-topic of another agenda item.
Sometimes the consultations have led to requesting the attendance of someone who was not on the original invite list for the meetings. This could be as either a participant or as a presenter of information relative to an issue that the attendees thought was of vital importance.
Another impact on the session that may arise is the need to include certain material in the pre-meeting package of materials sent to attendees. For instance, on a recent engagement a number of people consulted brought up the issue of how the organization might best link activities to the goals outlined in The Report of the Nova Scotia Commission on Building Our New Economy – “The Ivany Report”. A copy of the Report was sent to meeting attendees and a discussion on this topic took place at the off-site meetings.
Reason #3 Non Attendees – Enables non-attendees to contribute effectively (July 20)
Reason #4 Confidentiality – The value of “in confidence” consultations (July 27)
Reason #5 Short Meetings – Provides ability to have very effective short meetings (August 3)
Reason #6 Focus Shift – Sometimes results in a major shift in focus (August 10)
Reason #7 Key Question – The value of one open ended question (August 17)
Reason #8 Facilitator Participation – Creates ability for facilitator to contribute (August 24)