How to Plan a Successful Team Offsite

A cheat sheet for team development

Gustavo Razzetti
Fearless Culture
Published in
10 min readFeb 27, 2019

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Taking time out of the office is essential for team development — it’s a unique opportunity to get together in person to discuss strategy and evaluate progress.

Unfortunately, there’s some confusion between a team offsite and a fun team outing. That’s why some articles say that corporate team building is a waste of time and money.

But there’s a difference between getting your team together to have fun or to improve how it is working.

Some executives believe that merely taking people out of the office — with the help of alcohol and fun activities — will solve all the problems. There’s nothing wrong with having fun. But, improving team performance needs more than bonding — it requires understanding and hard work too.

An effective team offsite can create positive and long-lasting effects.

Here are some suggested best practices.

Differences between Team Building and Team Development

The term ‘team building’ has become more prominent in recent years as organizations want to promote a happy environment. It’s mostly associated with bonding together and improving how everyone gets along. In most of the cases, it’s simply about getting away from the office to enjoy time together.

Most team building activities are fun — somewhat superficial — and create a social context to foster deeper relationships. But, if not managed well, team building activities can backfire — they can bring out hostility and competition between individuals.

Team development, on the other hand, is about taking time to explore and unleash the team’s full potential — it raises self-awareness and focuses on improvement.

Team building retreats are good to build morale and camaraderie but don’t necessarily improve team performance in the long-term. A team development offsite, on the other hand, requires people to work, not just to have fun. It delivers a more intentional, change-oriented, and lasting impact to your organization.

Both can be enjoyable and complement each other. For this article, I use the terms ‘team offsite’ or…

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Gustavo Razzetti
Fearless Culture

For latest stories, subscribe: https://gustavorazzetti.substack.com I help teams have courageous conversations. Author of Remote, Not Distant