In the hectic decorated apparel world, breaking from the usual routine can seem counterintuitive. But, focusing on team building and strategy is essential to any successful business, and Campus Ink knows this all too well. Getting away from the usual chaos and digging deep into what makes them click helps bring the whole shop closer together as a team. Bruce and Steven dive into why this is such a cool idea, what it could do for your team, and what Campus Ink discovered along the way.
Unifying Your Team
A cheesy movie quote comes to mind from the critically acclaimed Nick Cannon movie Drumline, “One band, one sound.”
There’s a secret ingredient that can elevate a team from good to great, and it’s not just about hitting targets or increasing productivity. It’s about forging a sense of unity, a shared vision that propels the entire team forward. At Campus Ink’s offsite, coworkers discovered new sides of their colleagues they’d never seen before.
How did this transformation occur? By blending departments and segments, they broke down the traditional barriers that often separate coworkers in different roles. Working together in cross-functional groups, they participated in various exercises aimed at strengthening their connections and understanding one another on a deeper level.
One impactful exercise was the “Lifeline Exercise.” Each participant was encouraged to reflect on the significant inflection points in their lives and share those moments.
The result was an emotional, eye-opening experience that revealed the unique journeys and personal stories behind each team member. The exercise led to a newfound sense of empathy and created a judgment-free environment. It also created a healthier environment for giving honest feedback and making more informed decisions for the company.
Transparency with Your Team: Navigating Delicate Conversations
Having honest, open conversations with your team can get tricky. Done right, it can boost trust and teamwork, but if handled poorly, it might lead to confusion and discomfort. Steven suggests a more strategic, less confrontational approach. Rather than singling out team members, it’s better to focus on the root causes of performance issues or possible negativity around the workplace. This approach not only prevents problems from spiraling but also sets the stage for more in-depth and productive discussions.
Campus Ink used this approach to address financial matters during the team offsite. To simplify the complexities of the financial world, Steve Watson, Campus Ink CFO, broke down the jargon so the team could see how their work impacts the company’s economic success.
But it’s not all about numbers and spreadsheets. Steven stresses the importance of addressing your team’s emotional state during offsite gatherings. When team members express frustration or anxiety, acknowledging these concerns is just as crucial as discussing a company’s financial health.
What a Good Team Offsite Should Have
Here are some key insights Bruce and Steven suggest to ensure your offsite hits the mark and leaves a lasting impression:
- Location Matters: The first step is finding a place that feels like a break from your usual surroundings. Steven suggests renting a co-working space for the day. A change of scenery can inject an element of novelty and excitement into your offsite, making it more enjoyable for your team and sparking fresh creativity.
- Share the Load: You’ll want to find a couple of eager souls on your team to help with logistics and planning. A game plan ensures that your offsite has achievable goals and there’s space to hear every voice that shares their input.
- Diverse Activities: A good team offsite should be a mix of activities. Consider organizing breakout sessions, team-building exercises, and bringing in guest speakers. These elements make the day more exciting and keep everyone engaged.
- SWOT It Out: SWOT stands for “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.” Conducting a SWOT analysis can help you and your team get better data on what needs improvement and what’s working at your shop. If you’ve never tried the SWOT technique at your shop before, here’s a 101 on what it involves.
- Set the Stage: The atmosphere and environment for an offsite can significantly impact the experience. Create a space that fosters creativity, collaboration, and open discussion. Keeping this vibe intact throughout the day is crucial.
- Concrete Goals: When discussing your 90-day plan or setting goals, make them as concrete as possible. Clear, specific objectives are more likely to be achieved, so don’t rush this part.
- Sustain the Impact: An offsite isn’t just about one day. It’s about capitalizing on the energy and insights it generates. Follow up and integrate the lessons learned into your regular meetings. Applying those lessons to your weekly or daily meetings ensures that the positive impact endures and your team keeps the core principles in mind.
- Empower Leaders: It’s fulfilling to see leaders in your screen printing shop taking ownership of the event and speaking with authority and respect. Encourage them to lead by example and be the driving force behind the positive changes inspired by the offsite.
By incorporating these elements into your team offsite, you can build an enjoyable, impactful experience that strengthens your screen printing shop and keeps your business healthy on multiple fronts.