Given the expense associated with off-site corporate meetings, executives naturally expect a solid return on that investment. However, bringing people off site to change their perspective, think differently, bounce ideas off each other, and arrive at new solutions to work challenges can only go so far if they don't feel comfortable being completely honest with their leaders at that moment, in that environment.
Managers and executives who lead meetings could gather far more useful information and develop more effective action plans if they lay the groundwork for an uninhibited, open discussion forum. To gain the necessary level of trust among participants, though, meeting leaders must demonstrate that they are inclusive in their approach, and inquisitive rather than judgmental. This article in Harvard Business Review provides a guide for meeting leaders to develop the trust required to achieve the most productive meeting possible. The first tip: Leaders should ask permission of the team to have the meeting proceed a certain way and listen to alternative options. Author Paul Axtell writes: "You and your team have a right to ask for whatever is needed to be effective in a meeting—to lead for results, to fully express yourselves, and to add value to the discussion."