Michael Lopp with some fantastic writing about why and how to run an off-site meeting, and what needs to happen to make it successful.

And then it’s over. Fred returns to the office and he’s pumped and ready to start changing the world, but the moment he walks in the door, everything he hasn’t done is staring him in the face. As he starts rebuilding his daily work context, he realizes, “Not only do I have a lot to do, but now I’m behind.” The bright and shininess of the off-site he’s retained fades quickly.

A week passes and now he’s angry. He’s angry because now that he’s caught up, he’s never going to get ahead because no one is making any time for him to apply all of his bright and shiny epiphanies. In fact, after a week, nothing from the two day off-site has survived except Fred’s lasting opinion: “Well, that was a waste of our time.”

The successful off-site is one that maps the discoveries of the off-site to the reality of the work. Bright and shiny inflection points are full of energy, but unless that energy is carefully channeled back into the building and immediately acted upon, all an off-site represents is an frustrating opportunity to dream, but not to act.