Tag Archives: corporate away days

Think BIG for 2019?

It’s that time of year, when the Christmas panic hasn’t yet descended (or are we in denial!), and there’s the anticipation of the next year approaching. Exciting plans come to mind, things that we’ve always wanted to do, family events that are to be celebrated, milestone birthdays and just general good stuff that sounds fun and seizing the moment seems the right thing to do. Let’s make 2019 a year to remember, no more same old…..

If you’ve got one of these coming up in 2019, a BIG house offers lots of possibilities….

A stag do or a luxury hen party weekend

The big, fun event, before the even bigger event! We’re seeing the dynamic for stag and hen groups getting older and an increase in the number of requests for something a bit more chilled and luxurious. A big house to rent in the country can be an ideal way of getting all your friends together under one roof, in a very special and memorable location. Hen do houses give you lots of opportunity for pampering, such as enjoying lounging in the hot tub at Tone Dale House, having some beauty sessions organised for you and making the most of the party room for some after dinner dancing. 

For stag do accommodation, one of the big advantages of booking your stay in a BIG house is the flexibility it offers. There is no timetable to follow and you can design your own itinerary, entirely to suit yourselves. Activities are often really popular with UK based stag weekends and Berry House offers an ideal location for some surf action at some of North Devon’s finest beaches. Lessons and equipment are easy to book, and there’s the added bonus of a hot tub at the end of the day to soak any aching muscles.

A family / group staycation in the UK

Whatever your politics, 2019 might prove the ultimate year for a staycation, given continued uncertainty over Brexit. A holiday in the UK is certainly proving good value for money with the pound falling against other currencies.

However, there are lots of great reasons to hire a large holiday house. Travelling from different parts of the country to a central destination for all your group can be easier and less stressful for families with young children, than the hassles of the airport. Once you’re in your BIG house, it’s exclusively yours, no other guests or hotel timetables to limit your plans and it will really feel like your own home for your large family holiday. That informality creates a very relaxed atmosphere – chilled out breakfasts that merge into lunch, evenings spent soaking in the hot tub, space for everyone to be together and cosy corners for a little quiet time too.

Having plenty to do at a large house is a ideal for families with children.  Then there isn’t always the need to load up in the car and go out for a day trip. A wonderful large country house to rent in Somerset is Tatham House, with an indoor pool, games area, tennis court and hot tub. You might find you never leave it! Although that would be a shame, given the steam railway line just down the road and all the other delights that Somerset has to offer.

A special wedding day

A BIG house makes an unusual wedding venue in Somerset and because you hire the entire property you can create the atmosphere you have always dreamed of and set the pace to match – relaxed picnic hampers on the lawn or fully served meals in a marquee. You stay in the house for the entire weekend with close friends or family and the rest of your guests join you for the wedding day.

One of the beauties of the weekend house party wedding is that come the morning after the wedding, you’re not saying your goodbyes and heading home. The fun carries on all weekend. You could have a “chill out brunch party” the following day with volleyball and croquet competitions, hot tubs and head massage in the garden. Widcombe Grange works very well for a boho themed wedding with a tented village for guests in the extensive grounds and a swimming pool for fun during the weekend. 

A corporate away day

Team building days can be challenging for the organiser to come up with an original idea that suits the goals of the event and meets the budget. Hiring a BIG house can be a great solution that’s not a hotel and therefore provides a different experience, something unique and a creative atmosphere.

The flexibility of staying at your own big house means the only schedule you follow, is your own and your entire stay can be a team building exercise, if you want it to be. Everything about having a large group of people staying together requires co-operation, even making the tea! But a total DIY event might not be entirely your thing and that’s where a big house gives you the best of both worlds – catering and a wide range of activities can all be arranged for you, if required.  Tone Dale House is a great example of this, where the concierge service can tailor an event to your needs. It’s a very popular house for corporate parties in Somerset.

2019 is fast approaching, so spare some time to think BIG about what your wish list is for the next year and whatever you end up doing, have a great time!

Ping pong tables and funky furniture

Why high performing teams want meaningful conversation, not ping pong tables

Ping pong tables, funky furniture and advanced ways to share work and communicate, may be seen as indicators of an innovative workplace and a high-performance culture.  However, the ‘window dressing’ often doesn’t deliver the desired results.

Perks and environment don’t drive performance – they support it.  It is delivered through behaviours and relationships.  People who are crystal clear on what they need to deliver for their organisation and how they deliver it to their customers.  People who understand how to continuously improve – together.

Business leaders often focus upon structure, process, environment, sexy marketing.  New systems are implemented, processes redefined. A ‘ra ra’ launch for the new product or branding to get people excited – and they are – in that moment.

When the shiny newness wears off people fall back into the status quo – where it feels comfortable and familiar.  Back into their ‘to do’ lists and work silos – particularly if there is a heavy workload.  There isn’t time to consider the bigger picture, to worry about whether their outputs are aligned with those of their colleagues.  With the best of intentions, they believe that as long as they do a good job, the customer will be happy.

Business leaders become frustrated, because despite their investment, the front-line people who can make a difference are not delivering their highest performance levels.  Continuous improvement is seen as a project, not a day to day norm.

The counter-intuitive solution to continually engaging people with the organisational strategy, with continually finding ways to be better, to look outside of the ‘to do’ list and day to day tasks is to STOP!

  • To facilitate conversations which create openness, constructive review, understanding of others challenges
  • To build and endorse collaborative behaviours
  • To create solutions together, which everyone buys into
  • To remind of the bigger picture the silo of their work hangs upon
  • To make the links between their list of tasks and the purpose of why they are doing it.

This is not internal comms, an update, or a team build.

It’s about considering simple, key questions on a regular basis, which will facilitate the above, such as:

  • What’s going well, what’s not going so well and what could we be doing differently?
  • Are we keeping our promises to our customers?
  • Where are we dropping the ball and why?
  • Do our ‘sales pitch’ promises match what we deliver further into the relationship?
  • What projects, what specific tasks, would require collaboration to deliver the best results?  (Carlos Valdes-Dapena used this question when improving collaborative working at Mars)

Culture is something that needs to become part of the material of a team – the invisible ingredients that everyone consumes without realising, but getting there and keeping it alive needs focus, attention, time and space.  Time to STOP!

The Big House Co. have the ideal settings for putting the brakes on the ‘to do’ list. With big comfortable spaces, plenty of equipment and spacious dining areas, The Big House will take care of the practicalities, so you can concentrate on spending time together.

An experienced facilitator can be extremely beneficial in enabling constructive conversations, honest dialogue and the building of trust and collaboration.

Lyn Paxman has over 20 years experience of facilitation, working with corporate leaders and teams. She helps teams to have better conversations, which lead to better decisions and better results.

Her facilitated Customer Journey Review is a powerful way of exploring whether promises to your customers are being kept further down the line. Website:  www.evolveyou.co.uk  or contact Lyn on 07950 914328, lyn@evolveyou.co.uk .

Alternatively, get in touch with us at the Big House Co. about your away day and we’ll organise for Lyn to be part of your experience.

The key to innovation – Team appraisals and collaboration

Corporate Venues Somerset

‘Cognitive intimacy’ leads to collaboration, according to Lyssa Adkins in ‘Coaching Agile Teams’.  Team communication is so in flow, it’s almost Vulcan mind meld quality.   There is trust, the willingness to be vulnerable and put forward stupid ideas, which can be built upon to become great ideas.  Risks are taken, feedback is given, people say it, how it is and mutual accommodation and respect is encouraged.

In his fabulous podcast ‘WorkLife’ Adam Grant talks about how the Newsnight team and Trevor Noah are so relaxed in the company of each other that they engender ‘burstiness’. When generating ideas for new jokes and story lines they laugh and accept seemingly stupid ideas, along with those which appear clever and inspiring.  They are willing to be vulnerable, knowing that sometimes it’s the silliest idea that inspires the best thoughts.

Achieving burstiness and cognitive intimacy: 

  • Are your team objectives driving the behaviours of collaboration, which are essential to innovation?
  • How do you encourage the sharing of ideas and learning within your team?

It’s important to ensure that individual objectives don’t sabotage team success.  For example, objectives which encourage an individual to ‘take something and make it your own with evidence of you driving results’, will encourage work grabbing, limelight hogging and credit taking, rather than giving away ideas which enable team improvement or acknowledging the skill of others so the best result can be delivered.

Reviewing and appraising performance together will enable open discussion and the sharing of ideas and challenges.  It will build trust and understanding and make sure that individual and team objectives are aligned.

Spending time away from the pressures of the everyday can give this way of working a tremendous boost.  A yearly team review and appraisal brings together and acknowledges the contribution and learning of everyone.   You can explore questions like these:

  • What value have we delivered this year?
  • How do we know we have made a difference?
  • Where could we have made more impact?
  • We know we have grown because?

Review the past years activities together as a team – milestones, challenges, failures, learning, achievements. This begins to build a shared understanding – a perspective where the sum of its parts come together, so everyone can see the bigger picture.

The opportunity to explore ‘do differently’s is opened up – identifying improvements and team objectives for the year ahead.  Affirming the growth of the team as a whole, encouraging support as everyone works toward the same aligned purpose.  Mis-alignments in objectives are highlighted, where if one person ‘wins’ this could be at the expense of another.

The Big House Co. have the ideal settings for a corporate away day where you can take time out for a team review and appraisal. With big comfortable spaces, plenty of equipment and spacious dining areas, The Big House will take care of the practicalities, so you can concentrate on spending time together.

Some reflective conversations may get intense (in a good way), so take some time to have fun together too – reinforcing trust and positive relationships to take back into the workplace. Every large house has onsite fun, ranging from games rooms, cinema rooms, to hot-tubs & pools, we can even put you in touch with excellent local chefs if you want a helping hand with some cooking!

Setting the boundaries around open and honest review is very important to productive conversations.  Lyn Bayley-Paxman has over 20 years experience of facilitation, working with corporate leaders and teams. Her mission is to help teams to work in an environment where they thrive not strive. If you have a specific objective for your corporate away day she will design a bespoke day with you, facilitate a specific meeting, or use her proven process for a ‘Team Pause’ day, where teams reflect and understand, before considering their future shared vision.

Here is her Linked-in profile or contact her on 07950 914328, lyn@evolveyou.co.uk .  Alternatively, get in touch with us at the Big House Co about your corporate away day and we’ll organise for Lyn to be part of your experience.

 

Reflection – Why slowing down will help you to go faster

Corporate venue Somerset

Organisational life often feels as though we are on an incessantly running hamster wheel.  Deliver to this months targets, get the reports out, have team meetings, react to a problem, fire fight and then – it all starts again.  You don’t have time to stop – right?

Well – not necessarily.  Because when we’re stuck in the constant ‘do,do,do’, it means we neglect our ability to reflect and review.  When we do this there’s a risk that we will just keep on doing what we’ve always done, which may eventually lead to poor results.

Reflection develops our understanding – of what’s working, what’s not and what we could do differently.  It builds our resources to innovate, create, collaborate and improve.

The actions we then take are more considered, focussed, specific – we speed up.  Less firefighting – more problem solving.

In a competitive world it’s essential that organisational teams are agile in the face of change.  This stems from their ability to learn.  Learning happens in both the doing and the understanding.  To understand, you must reflect. John Dewey (psychologist) said, “We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience.”

Reflection isn’t just about understanding what went wrong and how you could do better, it’s about understanding what went well, so you can do more of what works.  It’s honestly and non-judgmentally examining our contributions.

When we’re contained within our work environment and the pressures it presents we’re not always in the right frame of mind to pause, step back and examine with an open mind.

The work environment demands (sometimes covertly) that we demonstrate our competence, our ability to be in control and deliver.  This is what is recognised and rewarded, however, this doesn’t facilitate openness.

The most effective reflection happens in a safe environment.  One where judgement and criticism are suspended and it’s possible to examine a situation openly and honestly.  James Zull (author, the Art of Changing the Brain) said, “Even if we experience something that has happened to us before, it is hard to make meaning of it unless it engages our emotions.”  He also points out that reflection is a search for connections and suggests that we have to seriously consider the role of emotion if we want to foster deep learning.

The Big House Co. have the ideal settings for a corporate away day where you step away from the hamster wheel and take a productive pause. With big comfortable spaces, plenty of equipment and spacious dining areas, The Big House will take care of the practicalities, so you can concentrate on spending time together.

Some reflective conversations may get intense (in a good way), so take some time to have fun together too – reinforcing trust and positive relationships to take back into the workplace. Every large house has onsite fun, ranging from games rooms, cinema rooms, to hot-tubs & pools, we can even put you in touch with excellent local chefs if you want a helping hand with some cooking!

Setting the boundaries around open and honest review is very important to productive conversations.  Lyn Bayley-Paxman has over 20 years experience of facilitation, working with corporate leaders and teams. Her mission is to help teams to work in an environment where they thrive not strive. If you have a specific objective for your corporate away day she will design a bespoke day with you, facilitate a specific meeting, or use her proven process for a ‘Team Pause’ day, where teams reflect and understand, before considering their future shared vision.

Here is her Linked-in profile or contact her on 07950 914328, lyn@evolveyou.co.uk .  Alternatively, get in touch with us at the Big House Co about your corporate away day and we’ll organise for Lyn to be part of your experience.

 

Corporate away days

Corporate parties

Come on team, we need to get out of the office!

 

If that’s the shout that’s going out where you work, you might like to read our ideas…..

Get away from the day to day

When you’re stuck in the everyday, hectic world of your job it’s very hard to get time with your team for anything other than routine meetings and normal workload. Corporate away days are a popular way of breaking out of the daily “noise” to focus on yourselves – be it for corporate parties, as a reward or celebration, or a structured event to manage change.

Creativity thrives

When you’re looking for corporate away day venues, optimising creativity can be very important in your choice. A retreat from the distractions of normal working life gives your team the opportunity to be imaginative in their thinking and problem solving skills, to build good working relationships and to appreciate each others talents.

You might want to consider hiring your own BIG house. These gorgeous properties are not hotels and give you the opportunity to focus inwards on your team and conduct your business in complete privacy for a night or so. They provide a creative atmosphere for working together – whether it’s your whole group working as one, or if you’re looking to break out into smaller teams.

Flexibility is key

While staying at your own corporate house rental you can have the best of both worlds. A relaxed environment that’s exclusively yours, but with the benefit of being able to have whatever you want, whenever you want it. A hotel type schedule can be an interruption to your flow, so bear this in mind when you deciding on your corporate away days.

At a BIG house you can also hire on a self catering basis. Everything about having a group staying together in a BIG house requires co-operation, so it can all be a team building exercise, if you want it to be, even making the tea!

Add some fun

We all know that all work and no play makes for an innovation dead-end. So during your corporate away days it’s a great idea to add in a fun element. This could be a team building game or an enjoyable activity arranged exclusively for your group.

Perhaps, something that no one has ever tried before and which will make the event unique and memorable – axe throwing, anyone?

Corporate events in Somerset

For corporate party venues in Somerset, we’d recommend Widcombe Grange, with its great scope for fun elements with the outdoor pool, hot tub, boating lake, games room and 17 acres.

Or, for totally luxurious corporate weekends away we have Tatham House, currently undergoing a high spec renovation, it will be a spacious and light filled 10 bedroom (all en-suite) property available from 1st June 2018. Facilities will include indoor pool, tennis court, cinema room and games room. Perfect for work and play.

Do get in touch for further information.