Fast CompanyDesigning The One-Week Team Sabbatical That Will Transform Your CompanyFast CompanyAs Banner puts it, “Take the entire team offsite for a week, scope out the projects, and focus on getting things done.” What elements make for a...
I love the "factory week" name for this activity. We have organized events like this for years. I highly recommend them. Here are some tips from our experience:
1. Get a facilitator and make a plan.
Factory Weeks don't fall into the same category as a Kaizen event... although one could. Usually, these events don't fit into the typical formula. They often require a formula of their own. Hire or assign a facilitator who can help you to develop a process that fits the challenge and the results you are working for. Your facilitator can help you think through the process when determining the people and resources you should have available. If you hit the ground running, you will likely have a great week with results that make everyone proud.
2. Invite everyone you need
There are times when you need to get the whole system (or much of it) into the same place and time and shut out other distractions and focus. So, don't limit it to managers -- in fact sometimes it may be many managers who help man the store while the others are doing the breakthrough building work.
3. Remember you are creating focus on a specific outcome
Focus is a rare commodity these days. Focus is alingment. Make sure you have limited distractions. Make sure everyone understands the purpose and expected outcomes. Have guidelines (ground rules) for the week and stick to them.
4. Work hard. Play hard.
Make work during your Factory Week as you would like work to be - enjoyable and fullfilling for everyone. Winning brings that and in this week you will have opportunities to make big progress. When you do, celebrate! You will get a "2-fer" from the week: 2 accomplishments for the price of one: 1. A real breakthrough in accomplishing a task that has been hanging over your group for sometime and 2. A breakthrough in some important relationships.
Here are some events we have facilitated in the past, maybe they will give you ideas for your "factory week":
- Redesign of an organization and layout to make room for a new product unit
- Total clean up and "fix-up" of a key piece of equipment
- A nagging performance problem "that's always been there"
- Redesign of a website
- Development of a social media campaign
- Figuring out how to implement the local part of a global strategy
- Analyzing customer data and creating plans for
- Focusing on a specific customer, visiting them and working on specific improvements to help them and grow your business with them
- Cleaning up an important database and creating ways to use the data for improving sales or service.
As I was making this list, I realized I could go on and on. The point is sometimes you have to dedicate time and resources to fixing a problem and a great benefit can be had by organizing a "Factory Week" to get the work done.
The result will be the best team building you could imagine - and it doesn't cost... it pays.
If you would like more information or help on creating your own Factory Week, we would be happy to share ideas