As part of the Estate’s offering Sophie Baring has developed Abbotstone Barn, an offsite retreat space, that draws on her wide experience of encouraging businesses to have the critical conversations they need to achieve their ambition.
In a world where much is done digitally, well-facilitated time for leaders to nurture strategies, relationships and skills has never been more important, particularly in periods of change and growth. Exceptional off-sites, extended meetings and leadership experiences involve some simple but surprisingly hard to find ingredients : being able to relax easily, eating well, lots of natural light, opportunities for exercise and fresh air and knowing that you will be able to get hold of what you need. An excellently structured off-site, with the right amount of preparation and momentum in the follow-up, can make the difference between succeeding and failing for a team, whatever kind of organisation they are part of.
Abbotstone Barn, located in the heart of The Grange Hampshire Estate near Alresford, is a large area with plenty of natural light, comfortable chairs and flexible spaces to talk, sit and eat. It is perfect for leaders to have intense business conversations with space to that get the balance right between being fit for purpose on the one hand and not too corporate on the other. There are multiple ways of displaying information from purpose built moveable screens to plenty of wall space, with ample outside space and easy walking – it is a breath of fresh air literally and metaphorically.
In May Chandler’s Ford law practice Moore Blatch A Partner group spent 2 days together with Sophie at Abbotstone Barn and Farmhouse looking at how they needed to work as a leadership team in order to achieve their ambition for the business. Even when significant things happen, agreements are made, relationships are improved and there is a solid list of actions, the day to day running of things can get in the way and hinder progress. Being clear about what is going to happen to ensure change and who is going to meet when, are fundamental to making it count once everyone is back in the workplace. Therefore it is essential to structure this in, and give enough time before the close of the session to make that happen. The Moore Blatch team left with a set of agreements, a clear action plan with allocated responsibilities and an agenda of things they still needed to work on.
Managing Partner Ed Whittington said, “The facilitators were brilliant at crystallising things, had a real understanding of our group and they made it hard for us to ignore stuff. We were very well led, drawing out issues from us and capturing the outputs and agreements. This element we struggle with on our own. We needed the discipline of getting clear on exactly who is taking charge of what, to make the most of investing this time together. Abbotstone Barn is a great location, which allowed for a functional and relaxed environment, with excellent food at the right level – from good coffee to a delicious lunch and plenty of snacks to keep us going, combined with lots of places to get some fresh air.”
For more information Abbotstone Barn In Action_1_Jun19