The Peace Hospice in Watford is reliant on its trading arm the Peace Hospice Trading Company for 34% of its annual income. Having spent the last few years expanding rapidly they now have 13 shops and an on-line trading team so the board decided that now is the right time to consolidate what they have and look to everyone involved to help decide how to make the most of what they have.
The plan was for an Away Day for all the shop and trade managers along with the charity’s Senior Management Team, Trading Board Directors and trustees. The purpose of the day was to agree as a team how they could all make the most of what they have. Paul Gauntlett, Director of Fundraising & Communications was very aware that the group wasn’t a team, many not having met others that were involved and many of the “staff” potentially feeling intimidated by the Senior Management and Trustees.
The main aims of the day were:
- To get the team to bond and collaborate well together
- Create an understanding of the needs of the Hospice going forward
- Develop ideas for how to make the most of what they have, that everyone felt they had contributed to
- Agree amongst themselves which ideas should be worked on first, work out the feasibility and what would be involved going forward.
Paul decided that the day would benefit from involving an external facilitator and contacted Partners With You who has worked with the Hospice in the past.
“The prospect of getting 23 people who don’t usually work together to achieve the above objectives in a six hour session was a daunting challenge. In addition to achieving these objectives I hoped that everyone would go away feeling inspired to go the extra mile, to have had some fun in working together, and to see the value of working together in the future – for their mutual benefit and that of the Hospice.”
Partners With You set out to plan the programme so that there would be tangible outcomes and actions from the day. As Sally Hindmarch, Managing Director and Lead Facilitator at Partners With You says “It’s all too easy to have a team building and idea generation session where nothing happens afterwards. That’s just irritating for the attendees and pointless for the business. You want to leave an Away Day having personally learnt something that you can take away with you. By showing everyone the tools that can be used to filter your ideas and plan how to deliver on them; they get the tools and the business gets the ideas and action plans to be able to move forward”.
Before any of this could be started though it was important to get the group to gel and be willing to collaborate. “It was a very interesting project” continues Sally “there is always the issue of managing the different perceived levels of importance by people with very different roles and getting them all in a position of trust and collaboration where everyone would feel confident to speak up and out”.
The solution was to run a short collaboration workshop at the start of the day, run by one of our professional actors to bring the group together and get them to understand the importance of not censoring yourself or others; the effect of your word choice on those around you; the importance of your attitude and your willingness to partake.”
“The results speak for themselves” says Paul “the objectives of the day were achieved and it was an excellent use of the time everyone invested; this was all due, in no small measure to the excellent facilitating and presentation of the sessions delivered by Partners With You. I am quite certain that without the work they put into getting 23 people ‘gelling’ and to a point where they would work productively together, we would not have achieved the outcomes in the afternoon”.
I have spoken to many of the team who attended and comments include:
- “Thank you for organising such an excellent, structured day which has been immensely informative and provided a good opportunity for the managers of the shops and colleagues to work together sharing ideas and working as a team.”
- “Although I wasn’t expecting to, I did enjoy it.”
- “Everyone both enjoyed it and got a lot out of the day. It was a useful first step in a better-joined-up Trading Group. Our thanks to Sally and her team”
- “At a practical level, we have come away with 5 actions plans for key areas of our work that could potentially have high-leverage impact.”
- “The day was a triumph that has set everyone off on a new journey of collaboration.”
- “When are we having another one?”