If the "boss" owns the marker, meetings cannot truly be open.
Off-site meetings are important for many reasons, e.g., developing a key strategy, mid-course corrections, improving the decision-making process, a reduction-in-force (RIF), "well-baby" check, etc., and need to be efficient and effective. Time is too valuable to take a day or two away from the office, focused on an important decision, and not feel that it was worthwhile. As teams generally make better decisions than individuals, it is important to have a facilitator who not only understands group dynamics, but also has had some real experience with similar issues.
Before an off-site, 1:1 meetings with each participant is recommended. Techniques, learned over the years, to gain consensus and to avoid picayune issues, have proven to be helpful here. My participation can be as passive or as active, regarding the topic, as desired.
- Effective use of valuable time
- Decisions based on consensus, i.e., buy-in
- Team building