Partner Away Days are an excellent opportunity to cement relationships and cross refer work opportunities. When preparing, here are some simple rules:
Rule 1. A good judge is not one who is impartial, but one who has prejudice for good
A successful Away Day will benefit immeasurably from an impartial facilitator. Utilising the services of an experienced ‘old hand’ who can rise above the politics and bring positivity to proceedings is invaluable.
Rule 2. Leadership is the capacity to turn vision into reality
Having a clear vision of the legacy of the Away Day is essential. Is it for bonding, networking, cross referral, learning or a combination of all of these? Attending Partners must be briefed in advance on those specific goals and objectives.
Rule 3. A goal without a plan is just a wish
A clear agenda and timetable for the day must be agreed and circulated in advance. Don’t try and cram in too much. Leave time for debate, ‘getting to know-you’ sessions, getting reacquainted, making younger Partners feel welcome, and thinking time.
Rule 4. If you don’t set the tone for the day, the devil will set it for you
A positive mood and creative atmosphere are prerequisites. Choose a venue that is convenient, preferably inspiring and unlike your office. Mornings are usually more suitable and Saturdays may create a more relaxed environment.
Rule 5. Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed
Nothing will derail your good intentions and detract from creative atmosphere faster than discussions about office politics. The mantra needs to be that for one day politics is consigned to the office and not discussed.
Rule 6. Predicting the future is easy. It’s trying to figure out what’s going on now that’s hard
As part of the creative approach, challenge the Partners to predict the future. Bring with you plenty of up to date industry specific reports and studies in order to challenge thinking.
Rule 7. Success is where preparation and opportunity meet
Having your Partners under one roof provides a rare opportunity for networking and cross referrals. As such, add structure to the process. Where possible, give all Partners an opportunity to describe: • Their current workload • The types of client they would like • New connections they are looking to be introduced to from the networks of others
Rule 8. We classify too much and enjoy too little
A Partner Away Day should be enjoyable for everyone. Intersperse the day with plenty of thought-provoking activities, role plays, exercises, stories and case studies. Finish on a high with reminders of achievements and client endorsements.
And a glass of champagne rarely goes amiss.