Earlier this month we had an intensive two days exploring our products and services at an offsite meeting. It was so useful for us. In fact, it was one of the biggest leap forwards for Xceptional so far!
We got critical clarity around our current product offering; we expanded our software testing service with a new automation practice; and we laid out the plan for a future product: our new recruitment tech.
Here are five things that made it a success.
1. Write-able room
One key factor that enabled creativity was the fact that the room was literally one giant whiteboard. The walls were whiteboards, the tables were whiteboards – even the windows could be written on!
2. Inspired setting
It also helped that the room had an impressive view which added to the inspiration factor. The large windows faced west, so as the view actually got better as the day went on. Just as energy levels were dropping at the end of the afternoon, we were presented with a stunning sunset.
3. New location
Another factor that shifted my perspective was due to being in a new location. There is value in working in a familiar place, where you have all your tools where you need them and you are comfortable. But there is also value in stepping out and working somewhere new. You feel out of your comfort zone and are forced to think different; have new conversations.
4. Close proximity to team members
Our team of 5, plus our mentors, were squeezed onto one round table. This meant we were all close together. While this wouldn’t be ideal for an everyday environment, it was prefect for a short sprint.
The close proximity meant that we were continually working together in sub groups, sharing ideas and collaborating. We split into two groups – one focused on strategy and one focused on our automation testing practice. Being close together meant that one of our team could be involved in both groups, easily switching between the two.
5. Mentors: crucial outside help
A big part of our progress was the help we got from our two mentors for the day, Phil and Holly. I started the day a little apprehensive about how it might all go, especially with our team working together in this setting for the first time. Yet in the end it far exceeded my goals and expectations. I think a big part of that was due to the facilitation role that our mentors played.
I particularly appreciated the tools they shared and helped us implement. It is one thing to be handed a tool but it is helpful on a whole new level to have someone help you apply it to your context.
Thanks to everyone who helped make these two days both an exceptional and remarkable event!