Do you want your management team to break through the “usual” thinking patterns and start reinventing the business?
Do you want your team to think more strategically and create a better future?
The Power of Time-Outs
Every year, Owen (not his real name) takes his executive to an one- or two-day offsite event. He uses this occasion to let the team break away from their daily work, to reflect on the running of the business, and to initiate major changes that accelerate the growth and development of the business.
For Owen, who runs this multi-billion-dollar business, the events foster better teamwork among the executives, facilitate open and honest discussion of issues, and enable the team to really function as a coherent unit rather than separate parts.
James (again, not his real name), on the other hand, is the owner of a private enterprise which has enjoyed decades of stable business growth. In the past decade, the business landscape had changed rapidly and the management team, like frogs in a pot of boiling water, was still living in the past and not responsive to the changing environment.
By engaging his team in a 2-day event, James successfully aligned the teams perspective on reality, and engaged the team to start redesigning the business model and revitalizing the business.
The event served as an important trigger to the change.
What is it?
In sports, time-out is an official break called by a playing team to take time off the field, re-energize itself, reflect and refine strategies. Properly used, time-outs can play a vital part in a competition.
In business, some people call this “corporate retreat” or “management retreat”. But we believe that the name “Time-Out” can better capture the essence and represent its value.
Many companies hold regular team building events, or “away days” for executives, managers, and maybe all staff. Most team building events focus on team activities, with little or no relevancy on the business contexts. These events can create valuable experience for fostering better relationship and enhancing teamwork. The prime focus is, however, to create an enjoyable experience which enhances the “team” feeling rather than building the business.
On the other hand, there are companies using offsite meeting to focus on critical issues. While in a meeting format and without specially designed flow of discussion, the meetings usually ends with similar results as in the company conference rooms.
Time-Out differs from these events by both its purpose and structure.
Time-Out is strategic
The core purpose of holding a Time-Out session is to let the management team take time off their daily work and focus on issues that matter.
Our clients leverage on the Time-Outs to steer strategic change including those relating to strategy review and formulation, culture building, business model change, strengthening the management team, and operation/process revitalization.
The participants, be they top executives or middle-level managers, collaborate to work on issues that enhance the strategic advantages of the business.
Time-Out is a Well-Designed Platform
While games and activities may be fun and enjoyable, they are just means to the ends.
A good Time-Out leverages on well-designed activities and games to stimulate thinking and inspire the participants.
Unlike meetings in the corporate setting, every event is set to be exploratory in nature. There is no pre-set conclusion but a series of well-structured activities to stimulate the creation of open dialogues.
Ideas and viewpoints will be freely exchanged, new ideas generated, and everyone focus on the big “WE”. They will gain fresh perspectives on the issues and build consensus on the actions to take.
Time-Out Energizes the Team
In the Time-Out event, the participants will be immersed in a series of inter-linked activities that engage the team to develop better understanding towards each other, and enhance collaboration at work.
Because the core of the event is the business, the team is engaged in work-related discussions and activities. The process will enhance the relationship at work, rather than just at personal or out-of-work levels.
Time-Out is Facilitated by Professional Consultants
Time-Out is not a training event. Instead of a trainer or host, the facilitators are people with facilitation skills and sufficient business experience to continuous adjust the flow of contents, leverage on the ideas/situations to engage the participants to focus on critical issues, and stimulate their thinking without imposing thoughts of his/her own.
Time-Out is NOT a One-Off Event
The value and impact of a one- or two-day event cannot be exaggerated. The basic design of a Time-Out should include follow-up sessions.
Follow-up sessions is a way to sustain the impact after the event. The participants will be gathered together, usually within the company’s premises, to review the progress after the Time-Out: on the achievements, the decisions made, action taken, and self-directed changes.
In addition, the Time-Out may trigger major longer term initiatives which requires the whole management team or special task forces to implement – such as strategic change, culture building.
In short, the Time-Out event is just one in a series of moves.
How to Plan Your Next Time-Out
To maximize the impact of Time-Out, your organization needs to plan carefully. A preparation lead of 2 months is the minimum.
Time-Out is a highly critical investment towards creating the company’s future.
A good professional facilitator or consultant can design and deliver the event. By combining the business know-hows and market knowledge of your firm, and the consultant’s expertise in program design and facilitation, the event will create the best possible impact for your business.
If you want to learn more about Zensiblo Consulting’s Time-Out programs, you may email us through the contact page or simply give us a call.