First, let’s clarify what a workshop is? You may have heard it referred to as a business retreat, facilitated session or off-site meeting.
A successful workshop:
Has clear and attainable objectives with a suitable agenda for each session. Each session must have a purpose, objectives, deliverables and an agenda. All attendees should know what needs to come out of the session and how the group will get there.
Includes all the right participants. Workshops are unique experiences where everyone is invited to share and participate. With the right stakeholders present, a workshop has the potential to generate value from unexpected sources.
Requires participants to be 100% engaged in the discussions. They must be free from their daily job responsibilities & distractions while workshops are in session.
Takes place at least over the course of several hours and can be scheduled over several days depending on the objectives and attendees’ availability.
Employs a workshop facilitator. Ideally, the facilitator is not one of the primary decision makers in the workshop. The facilitator should be an impartial driver of the sessions, making sure that all of the attendees are able to participate fully and freely.
Many businesses have workshops frequently throughout the year because they know the potential value of a workshop. Some organizations never do them because they do not have the internal expertise to effectively plan and execute them. Unfortunately, those organizations may never realize the immediate & long term benefits possible because they do not bring their team members together for extended focused meetings. If you do not have this tool in your toolbox to propel your team to greater heights, then it’s time for a change.
Typical objectives that make a workshop right for your organization:
To create a vision and approach for achieving annual or multi-year goals, especially for scaling your growing business
To initiate or plan for a major project or program of related projects
To establish a high level plan to gain alignment from all stakeholders
To develop processes for new business offerings
To improve or transform your business processes for better customer experiences
To execute software design sessions that ensure project business requirements are being met
To build team chemistry/morale through a series of team building activities
As you can see, there is a host of reasons why organizations may need to step away from the demands of their daily responsibilities to focus on coloring in the big picture and giving their vision more definition.