The start of the year is an exciting time for many organizations, as it marks the beginning of a new journey. Every organization has different goals and objectives for the upcoming year that need to be discussed and implemented in order for them to be successful. To that end, many organizations devote significant time and resources to bringing their people together at start of year kick off events. But just gathering your people together does not guarantee that the message will stick in a way that moves the needle.
You can't just bring your people in. You need to bring them into focus.
That’s why it’s essential to have an engaging and effective start of year kick off meeting. Here are five essentials for making your kick off a success:
1. Clearly defined goals and objectives for the event
Before you even begin planning your kick off event, it’s important to define the goals and objectives for the event. This helps the team understand why they’re attending and what they should take away from the experience. Once you’ve defined the goals and objectives, you can start to plan the activities and structure of the event to ensure that you give your team the best possible start to the year.
2. Engaging and interactive training activities or exercises
Kickoff meetings are great for getting everyone in the same room and giving them an opportunity to connect and get to know each other in a more meaningful way. To make the most out of this time and ensure that the team is engaged, manufacturers should plan activities and exercises that encourage collaboration, creativity and innovation. This could include icebreakers, team building exercises, or even improvisational games.
The activities and breakout sessions should be directly aligned with the organization’s goals for the year. For this is might be helpful to engage folks who are experts in designing learning for these kinds of things (hint hint)
3. A well-planned and organized event schedule
In order to get the most out of your start of year kick off, it’s essential to have a well-planned and organized schedule. This should include a timeline of events, along with details of the training activities or exercises you plan to include during the meeting. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the team is focused on achieving the goals and objectives of the event.
It’s important to break up sessions to ensure that the energy stays up. Keep in mind what topics are likely to drain or excite the audience and vary them. As you plan the flow, think of the 'energy meter' of participants so that you place topics where they will be best absorbed.
4. Opportunities for attendees to network and collaborate with each other
In order to make sure that the start of year kick off meeting is effective, it’s important to allow for networking and collaboration between team members. This isn't just a side-effect - it's often the goal, especially if the team hasn't been together in a while. This could include activities such as brainstorming sessions, group discussions, or even team building exercises. This will help create an environment in which everyone can feel comfortable and confident in sharing their opinions and ideas. Start of year kick offs are a great time to build trust and psychological safety that will benefit the group for the rest of the year.
5. A skilled and experienced host to lead the event and ensure its success.
For the start of year kick off to be successful, it’s important to have a skilled and experienced facilitator who can lead the event and ensure that everyone stays focused and on track. A great host will be able to engage the team, give feedback and guidance, and help ensure that the objectives of the event are met. A good host should have experience in leading both large and small groups and be able to facilitate the activities and conversations with ease.
If you cover off on these five essential elements, you will be well on your way to ensuring that your start of year kick off event is engaging and effective, and will ensure that your team is motivated and inspired to reach their goals and objectives for the upcoming year. Good luck and have a great kick off!
…And if you feel like you could use some help, check us out and give us a call.