Planning your schedule can come before or after you plan your team outing.
Which should come first, the planning of what goes into the days of your team outing, or the destination choice?
The answer to this chicken and egg question is simple. It depends on the seriousness of your agenda.
If you have important objectives to achieve, then your choice of destination and travel distance should be determined by your agenda.
If your key aim is to get your team together outside office, perhaps gather people from different locations, then destination would be chosen based on convenience of distance and budget.
Planning your schedule there would come much later. I have known of team outing owners frantically putting together a schedule just a day or two before they actually leave,
That is, of course, not at all a desirable scenario. Team outing schedules should be drawn up well in advance, by you or by your corporate event planning team, and also shared with team members so that expectation setting has been done before you leave office.
We get 3 kinds of schedule requests from out team building outbound clients.
Pack our schedule from the moment we arrive till we leave
Usually, when it is a manager connecting with a corporate event planning team like us, we get requests for schedules that are action packed from arrival till an hour before departure from a hotel.
The catch here is quite simple.
It is just this. When you sit in a meeting room at office, with youer event company or on your own, and plan your team outing, a day at a resort seems to have endless time. After all, doesn’t everyone get up and early and catch a shuttle, e metro or cab to office, or start driving their own vehicle, by 8AM? Surely the same team can shower, eat breakfast and be ready to start activities by the same 8AM at a resort?
Yes, they can, but usually only if your own managers or your corporate event planning team or outbound trainers or your clearly insist on punctuality for morning activities.
What we have all forgotten here is how we all used to behave when we went on sleepovers with friends from school or college. Whoever actually slept at night, and that too, on time?
If your team actually bonds well, with or without the intervention of an event company, then they are likely to stay up late and then stagger in for breakfast later than you would imagine.
It is better to do your own housekeeping and set the rules for your team for whatever time you wish to start. Do not shoot from the gun of your trainer – it will just leave your team feeling resentful of the trainer and less willing to imbibe positive learning from him or her during the day.
This is why we only use the peer teaching style in our own programs.
Avoid stuffing your day with more activities than you can realistically achieve. Or, if you do pack your day, be ready to drop off items according to the team’s energy levels if necessary.
One of our favorite client teams is led by a brilliant LOB (line of business) Vice President who always sets a team schedule that engages his team from the moment they arrive until they leave.
He also will not let them out of the resort on their own as he feels there is no reason for the team to break up into smaller cliques and go out. His team assumes we are the culprits and appeals to every year. But, we must admit, his team outbound is always a great hit with his team at the end of their journey.
If your team building outbound is to have a packed schedule, put it all down well in advance and share it with your team either beforehand or on arrival at a resort.
We do that by having our training team, which generally travels with our clients and also functions as their team buddies, gather the team together in arrival in the lobby of a resort, and quickly set the tone of the entire event.
At the start of each day, we outline the entire day ahead to our audience. Participants then know when they will have time for themselves and can plan their day accordingly.
Team Building Activities are a Necessary Evil Before We Start the Party
Another kind of team building outbound views team activity as a necessary evil to be endured before the real fun begins. Team building is described in the most boring way possible, and you have participants drag themselves out reluctantly to it.
I consider such an approach to be tragic because team building activities should not be viewed as a necessary evil. Run the right way, they definitely serve the purpose of bring out the wallflowers and quiet ones in a team, giving colleagues who do not interact much, many opportunities to connect and building better team synergy. I know of no team building outbound which does not have a party, whether official or unofficial.
And I am of the view that this partying, or at least informal hanging out together, is the heart and soul of every team outing.
More understanding of each other, team bonding and communication happens here than in the more organized spaces of team building activities.
If yours is a party team, then drawing up a clear schedule is as important as for the other kind of outbound. Allocate clear time slots for whatever meetings, team briefing or team activities you have, and list your party time clearly too.
It is important to list the start time of a party and the dinner time, if dinner is not being served in the party but at some other venue in the hotel. Revelers should not miss it due to a lack of information on the timings.
Your Team Will Behave Like Your Family
In all other editions of my blog I have stressed on the need to not plan your team outbound the way you would a family holiday. Now, I am asking you to become their package tour operator!
Please structure your team outing carefully, think through the entire schedule and document it all, share it as a schedule with your team so they know what clothes to bring. More importantly, it will help manage their expectations better.
Become like an event company. Your team outing partner should do that for you actually. If they do not, or if you are planning your team outing on your own, make sure you do it yourself.