We now had a half-week long offsite with co-founder Hristo in the countryside and nature, away from the city life. It felt good and gave excellent outcomes.
I want to share how we approached it.
Day 1. Theme: Our relationship
1. Hiking in the forest with lunch in the nature and free-flow conversations about our relationship and all matters of interest for us.
2. Open sharing. Reveal if there is anything that we have held back from each other that feels not ok in / with the other. (Alternatively, you can use the Clearing conversation format. For How-to, watch this workshop recording.)
3. Purpose. Method: sharing with input.
First, one person shares his thoughts and feelings about the subject.
Then the other person asks questions, shares his thoughts and feelings about what he heard.
Then we switch roles.
For example, in this case, I first shared what I feel my purpose is, then Hristo asked questions and shared his feelings and thoughts about my sharing. Then we switched roles.
4. Vision. Method: sharing with input.
P.S. Cooking all meals together was also an excellent bonding activity.
Day 2. Theme: Strategy
1. SWOT input. We made a Miro board where we each added the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats we saw.
2. SWOT discussion. We discussed SWOT the following way:
Looking at each opportunity, we discussed: How can we use this opportunity with our strengths?
Looking at each weakness, we discussed: How can we minimize this weakness with our opportunities?
Looking at each threat, we discussed: How can we minimize this threat with our strengths and opportunities?
For each data point (e.g., an opportunity), the conversation could go into such routes:
Nothing to discuss here
I have suggestions. If the speaker strongly advocated a particular opinion, he had to come up with counterarguments for his own opinion. This way, we could ensure a higher level of objectivity in our discussion.
As the outcome of this discussion, we got a list of business development ideas. When writing those ideas, we did not filter them by importance, cost or time (when to do it).
Day 3. Theme: Planning and Inclusion
1. Midterm plan. Method:
We took the previous day’s list of business development ideas, and each wrote we want to get this done - a specific quarter of the year 2022, in 2023 or later/never.
Then, we discussed the differences in views and agreed on the shared view.
The outcome of this discussion was a midterm plan with initiatives planned by quarters for the following year.
2. Budget discussion.
Method: we had prepared the draft budget for 2022 and a list of questions to discuss upfront. Now we included the midterm plan and then discussed the questions, among them:
Shared view on revenue goals
Team size, salaries
Investments in R&D
and several others.
Now our (romantic) partners joined the offsite. They had arrived a while earlier. For us, it’s vital that we align our plans with them and have their support. We share our lives. Work is the expression of purpose and is also part of our life. The work serves life, not the opposite.
First, we each shared purpose and vision, and the ladies gave their input (questions, comments, feelings).
Then I shared the midterm plan, and we had the second round of input. I made several notes for adjustments, and I saw Hristo writing a lot as well.
4. Smoke sauna. It’s an experience in Estonia one doesn’t want to miss.
Day 4. Theme: Sharing
Before leaving the venue, we shared some of our learnings and recorded 3 new founders' self-discovery podcast episodes which we will share in the following weeks.
In the following steps, we will discuss the midterm plan and the primary budget decisions with our team to include the team members’ input and align ourselves. Then adjust the plan and budget.
And then… welcome year 2022. We are coming up with great new self-discovery experiences for our mentors and clients!
Farhad is the CEO of .Cocoon. When there is a challenge at the business level .Cocoon Program supports founders: ➝ To find the link between the business challenge and their personalities and personal challenges; ➝ To bring forth personal changes that, as a result, create changes in the business.
Let's talk and see if we can support you to solve your biggest business challenge.