If you are anything like me – and I guess you may not be!! – then you’ll have all sorts of ideas banging around your head, half formed, un-implemented and essentially going nowhere. You know it’s going to be great – if only you could find the time to make them happen …
Which is why I love going on an away day – out of and properly away from the office – to let rip with a full day of brainstorming and planning. My colleague and I spent a the whole of last Wednesday doing just that and it amazed me what we got done. And it made me stop and think – why? What is it about being out of the office – with someone else – that allows you to ‘land’ all that stuff that’s banging around in your head and start to turn it into a reality.
So this is why I think it works …
• You’re away from the routine and the ‘stuff’ – all the things that interrupt your flow are simply not there
• You give your brain the time and space – the humdrum of daily work simply doesn’t allow you to do this
• Being in a different place gives you another viewpoint – literally
• It’s NOW. You’ve turned up, the pencil is sharpened and the flip chart is blank … so you don’t have a choice, you have to get started at the very least!
• You have to the end of the day to get your stuff done – and deadlines work!
• You finally get to vocalise the stuff that’s in your head – which is why you absolutely need to have someone with you!
• Having to explain it to someone else sharpens your thinking – vague doesn’t work!
• As soon as you hear it out loud for the first time, it starts to become a reality
• And what’s obvious to you – may not be obvious to them!
• Brainstorming is an ideas generator – you say stuff, they say stuff, you come back with more stuff – and before long, WOW!!
• Your partner won’t know all your background thinking and they’ll assess your ideas without all that clutter or bias
• You’ll be challenged to explain things or to resolve problems – which is great for developing the detail
• And finally, you are much more likely to have fun. Serious fun. And the brain just loves to smile.
I like to use a local conference centre which is set in beautiful grounds, offers us bacon rolls for breakfast and a decent lunch. And I reckon that’s just as important as what goes on for the rest of the day. Feed the soul and feed the brain at the same time.
Next week, turning brainstormed ideas into reality … or, don’t leave your ideas on the flip chart!!