“Clint Green is my highlight,” I shouted at the team-wide Friday meeting. A SalesLoft tradition, all 70 of us share our favorite part of the week while standing in a huge circle in our office every Friday morning at 8:40 a.m.
I was referring to Clint’s service first approach to prepping, cooking, and serving our team of account executives during our AE summer 2015 off-site.
The off-site was held at historic Chantilly, which is David Cummings’ charming cabin on Lake Burton, and was led by Derek Grant, our VP of Sales. I learned a lot about what makes a great team outing and wanted to share it here.
1. Get away for more than half a day
This was a 24-hour trip. We left on Monday at 3 p.m. and returned Tuesday at 3 p.m. We went to the lake, to the mountains, to a cabin. We left the city and were in a new element. Being in a new place critically helped shift our minds to a new paradigm.
2. Be intentional about personal relationships
During dinner the first night, Derek asked the team to each talk about our significant other, or in some cases, lack thereof.
This got everybody opening up personally and connecting with one another on a different level. Then he asked, “If you could be famous for anything, what would it be?” We’re always so focused on revenue throughout the quarter that we rarely get time to share fun and personal stuff like this.
3. Limit alcohol; don’t eliminate it
We drank light beer. It wasn’t a focus. It was in the background. Nobody got drunk, nobody lost control, and nobody was hung over in the morning. That made it 10 times easier to accomplish our mission.
4. Sacrifice for Others
In John Maxwell’s book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, he states a leader’s accomplishments are directly in line with their sacrifices. Team members were cooking, cleaning, and performing light maintenance around the house. It made for a real special occasion when teammates made sacrifices for each other. Heck, our VP Derek slept on the couch!
5. Eat in
In past off-sites, we’ve gone out to dinner. This has made it a lot harder to control the environment and tends to waste a lot of time getting there and back. Eating in gave the opportunity for everyone to step up and gather the food, prep, cook, and clean.
6. Have fun
Life’s too short to not have fun, and it’s too short to work for a company who doesn’t know how to have a great time. Inject fun into 50% of the off-site. We filled our 50% with jet skis, wake boarding, boats, and basketball. Friendly banter with lots of jokes and laughs filled the air.
7. Get Smarter
Our sales team is constantly explaining things differently and improving our prospect communications. We played Saturday Night Live trivia and a performance game where the veterans teamed up with the rookies and competed in sales situations. Watching the new guys learn and come up to speed quickly was exciting.
The team walked away from Chantilly sharper, more connected, more positive, and ready to close the rest of the month and quarter strong. Off-sites can be tricky, but if you are intentional about what you want to accomplish, you can change the vibe of your team.
Kudos to Derek, Anthony, and our AE team for making this a great event.