Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Value of Offsites

Since founding Novus, the Partners have made Quarterly Offsites one of the cornerstones of how we work together. Once a quarter, our cross-Atlantic team gets together under one roof and spends day-long sessions reviewing each portfolio company in detail, providing sector updates, and discussing or adjusting the overall investment strategy of the Fund.

These meetings are sometimes conducted over a weekend of skiing, hiking or other outdoors activities (half of our team is Norwegian, and they love their outdoors), and also give us an opportunity to spend time together outside of the office. My girlfriend jokingly calls these my "Man Retreats", and although they can sound like a boondoggle, I am always amazed at how productive and valuable they can be.

I find that so many of my days are spent just keeping up with the momentum of the work week - going from one conference call to the next, one meeting to the next, one email to the next. There are days when email takes up an entire morning (As an aside, it is my firm belief that as a work culture, we are over-emailing. Too much cc'ing, replying all, and having long conversations that should be had over the phone). I imagine this is felt by many out there. While offsites are not a cure-all, I have found them to be a good opportunity to step back and discuss issues at a high level; get feedback and input from people you don't usually interact with; and get everyone on the same page as to what we should all be focusing on.

It is one of the best practices we have established here at Novus and I encourage any of you to try to implement them in your organization.

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