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Looking to spark transformation, for your team or yourself? Then take this one action:

Get out of your typical four walls. Get out of your everyday workspace.

I’m reminded of the benefit of getting outside of your daily environment with the plan I’ve crafted to write my book. (Yes, I’m writing a book! A leadership book!)

I can’t write at home. Too many distractions. Dog. Husband. Laundry.

A coffee shop won’t work. Too much background noise and the constant guilt of not buying enough to justify hogging a table.

So I tried the library, which has a quiet reading room. It’s perfect. Quiet but not silent. Comfortable. Inspires creativity. (Photo below.)

Get outside those four walls | Cynthia Farrell | 110 West Group

I have time on my calendar every week to go sit at the library and write. After just a few sessions, it’s become a mental light switch: when I sit down, it’s time to work on my book. My creativity kicks in. I can crank out 2000 first-draft words, about 1/2 a chapter, in two hours.

I’d never achieve that at home. I need a different space, a different energy, somewhere that has one purpose.

I keep this up and I might actually get this book written.

My experience writing at the library is a mini-example of the importance of getting offsite for team development.

I’m architecting an executive team retreat for a new client and was asked “What’s your perspective on a location for the retreat? In the office, offsite but in town, or completely out of town?”

My answer:

“I always recommend these types of executive retreats be out of the office and truly offsite—the more offsite the better. You get greater benefits from a team development perspective from hotel in the home city => hotel in a different city => retreat-specific location.”

It can be tough to convince leaders to spend time out of the office.

But what happens when you have that “retreat” in the office?

  • The daily distractions of work are too great, and you have a constant fight for attention and energy.
  • And the sameness of the location limits creativity. (By creativity, I mean in strategic thinking, relationship building, mitigation planning… whatever your goals are for the retreat, they’ll be limited.

(These two outcomes are true even with an exceptionally skilled facilitator.)

But if you’re willing to make the investment to get outside of your same four walls, the payoff will be there.

  • Increased focus
  • Deeper relationships
  • More honest conversations
  • Greater innovative and systems thinking
  • And even improved psychological safety

When you’re outside of your four walls, it sends the message “It’s time to think differently.”

I’m excited that my client has decided to hold their executive retreat at an offsite location, still in the city where they’re based, but not in their office. I can’t wait to see what sparks.

What’s your experience with team retreats being offsite vs onsite? And where was the best (or worst) team retreat you’ve been part of?

Looking to increase the cohesion, trust, and impact of your leadership team? Reach out and let’s discuss The Compass Team Experience and how I can help.

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