Tuesday, 29 April 2008


“To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.” - Jane Austen

There is a special kind of activity that is quite common in the business world and which is called the “Offsite” meeting or the “Retreat”. This is an occasion where selected staff are taken away from their normal work environment and stay away for a couple of days (and nights) in order to work through an agenda and resolve current issues, plan for the future and set future directions. The rationale behind this is that while away from the normal work environment, staff are able to disengage from routine and distractions, thus being able to concentrate fully on agenda items and be able to devote their activities and collective intellectual resources on resolving the issues at hand.

I am currently taking part in an executive “retreat” fro a couple of days and it is a strategic meeting designed to analyse our current activities, identify areas of concern and prioritise intervention strategies in order to be able to effectively plan ahead. I was pleasantly surprised by how much we achieved in these couple of days and how much better we were able to work together as a team and to function effectively as an executive body that set directions for future developments and growth.

We are at a very nice conference and spa centre about 60 km to the north of Melbourne, called Macedon Spa. The setting is lovely, right in the middle of Victoria’s spa country and at the foothills of Mt Macedon. Hanging Rock (the very atmospheric setting for the 1975 Australian film “Picnic at Hanging Rock” is only about 5 km from here and there is a real tranquility in the crisp, clean country air. Autumn has really arrived and the temperatures plummet down to single figures for the night, although the days are sunny and still quite pleasant.

It is a good balance, the work and the relaxation, the social conviviality and the resolution of the problems at hand. Getting to know one’s co-workers in this type of environment is a really good exercise and it does contribute to a better organization.

1 comment:

  1. Wow Nick, it sounds as if you are having a wonderful experience in this job. But you are also very busy it seems! I'm happy to hear you enjoying it so much, and hope it continues.

    I hope you don't mind, but I briefly mentioned you in my latest blog, which I cross posted over here. Just wanted to let you know. And thank you for your wonderful comment on My Easter blog -- I posted that video link on my page, and appreciated it so much!

    I am sorry to be so behind on visits, but hope that will change soon. Hugs and best wishes in the job!!!