What We Learned From Our Strategy Away Trip 2018
Every January, we like to put the guilty memories of too-much-Christmas-pudding behind us (remember those golden days?) and galvanise ourselves into action for the new year by taking ourselves off on a strategy away trip.
Always in awe of the organisational skills of our office manager Louise, we've been taken to some lovely spots in the UK over the past few years. This time, we were lucky enough to find ourselves in a beautiful rural location near Peterborough - a stunning bee farm (that’s right – bees), complete with a cosy barn ideal for two and half days of workshops and creative thinking ahead of 2018.
After somehow managing to leave the office and get our train on time, we arrived mid-afternoon at our destination and headed straight to the barn for our first workshops. Leading the introduction session, Speakers Corner MD Nick reminded us that we were here to spend some quality time with our colleagues, to think about our roles in the company, and to rejuvenate our relationship with the Speakers Corner mission:
“Sharing the wisdom, expertise and stories of the world’s most brilliant minds and amazing people, we pride ourselves on impacting audiences globally through the indisputable power of the spoken word”
After replenishing ourselves with some delicious food and drink provided by our bee farm hosts – the hospitable Jez and Caroline of The Good Life Project - we headed to our hotel to get checked in. Following the usual rigmarole of running around excitedly to see who’s got what rooms (“SO WHO’S GOT A BATH IN THEIRS?”), we were left well and truly ready for a good night’s sleep (except for those who discovered the hotel bar).
Obligatory away trip cheese board
Waking up nice and early, we breakfasted and headed back to our barn-based action stations, ready for some more fresh air and fresh insights into the speaking world that our team is so passionate about. We mixed up our departmental teams and began coalescing our ideas in the form of group presentations and big whiteboards artistically adorned with our thoughts. Using this time away from our desks as the perfect opportunity to reflect upon the previous year, we kept our focus on what makes us a successful organisation, and what we need to improve on (because there’s always room to improve).
Fire up the pizza ovens
Breaking up the day with some pizza-making for lunch and a session learning how to make apple juice from scratch (complete with apple-based quiz - did you know that pomology is the science of apple-growing?), our juices of both the creative and apple variety were well and truly flowing by the time of our afternoon session with external speaker and behaviour expert Jez Rose. Speaking to us about how small changes to the way we think can produce extraordinary results, Jez inspired us to find ways to do things differently by demonstrating how our attitudes affect our behaviours, and that, in turn, this has consequences. Buzzing with what we like to think of as more positive, forward-thinking attitudes, we wrapped up the day with a classic pub dinner, with a lot to talk about over our gourmet fish and chips and apple crumbles.
Our team learns a new life skill: how to make apple juice
Saturday arrived quicker than we expected, and it's safe to say that our final morning sessions were filled with plenty of energetic chatter while setting clear action points for how we were going to put our new strategies into practice. The overall feeling was that we had a greater understanding of what makes our company good at what it does, but also how we can avoid resting on our laurels and continue to grow - starting on Monday morning. Removing yourself from your usual workspace every now and again can be of a huge benefit to your team, and it helps if you're surrounded by bees, nature and good food while you're at it.
For further information or to book a speaker, call us on +44 (0)20 7607 7070+44 (0)20 7607 7070 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.