A recent discussion on LinkedIn set me thinking about why place and space matter so much when you want to make a difference; to run a conference, a workshop or even a meeting. It is easy to assume that whatever space is provided will be good enough. That is to miss the huge difference that is made by having things just right for your purpose. Many people seem to be blind to this obvious truth.
So what sort of things are you looking for? It depends on your purpose, of course. If you want open communication and creative contribution you need a very different space from, say, a sales briefing or a pep-talk. Most spaces in offices are designed for formal meetings – often with an immovable table as its main feature or else stiff seating arrangements sub-consciously asserting who is boss. It is difficult to get people to feel relaxed, confident and creative in such surroundings.
Different kinds of layout correspond to different modes of thought and different kinds of relationship. We can equate these roughly to serious-play. Serious is left brain, logical and didactic; necessary for gathering facts, absorbing information and making decisions. Play is right-brain creative, interactive, pattern-making, exploratory. Put in terms of creativity and Serious tends to be convergent where play tends to stimulate the divergent.
An ideal way to cater for the two is to have a space big enough for alternative layouts; formal at one end of the space and informal at the other. Big enough, perhaps, to let sub-groups form and even to allow for interactions around refreshments or adjoining outdoor space. In any case natural light and fresh air will help. If you are just thinking about workspace, then it will be useful to allow different spaces for different functions, not assume one kind of space will suit all purposes.
Open Space, as developed by Harrison Owen, is a way of maximising informal interaction. The title refers to the method of working – a space for ideas to grow – but it also reflects the principle of providing a physical space in which something can emerge. Ideally there would be no furniture whatever. However it might be prudent to provide some chairs so people can sit when tired. Similarly, small portable tables might be useful for drinks or for people to draw or write. On the other hand vertical surfaces – whiteboards and flipcharts – encourage people to have conversations as they think visually and look at one another’s work. These might be on the walls, although portability would again be an asset so that groupings can change and move. Flexibility is a useful attribute. Much is gained by everything being in a state of flux that allows for new connection, physical, social and mental.
In terms of off-site workshops we have particular experience in establishing conditions for creativity to flow. Our ‘inspiration centre’ is a residential facility that combines adequate comfort and safe space in natural surroundings. Friendly and discrete service and wonderful food enable deep experience of being apart from the needless rush of modern life. It provides stimulus with space to think. Such a quality of place and space combines to facilitate the emergence of new ideas and new relationships. It provides a kind of magic that bears little comparison with the kind of constrained or opulent spaces many people try to use. It is a vessel supportive of regenerative interaction for individuals and teams – This is especially valuable to leadership teams as they evolve their organisations’ futures.
Wherever you go these days you are asked to fill in feedback questionnaires.
We have no idea what use they are to other people, but to us they are very important. They enable customers to get any issues off their chest, they help us to be sure we are somewhere close to target on satisfying their needs and they enable us to elicit recommendations from satisfied clients.
Last, but by no means least, they help us understand what we can do better to meet customer expectations and continually improve our client experience.
That’s what it means for us, but we would like to hear how you view feedback questionnaires – what do you see as valuable feedback, how do you put that feedback to good use, how do you elicit your feedback?
We would love to hear from you!
Following numerous requests over the years, we are delighted to announce that High Trenhouse now offers self-catering breaks for groups of up to 10 people
Bennett’s at High Trenhouse is a large detached converted luxury barn, probably the site of the original farmstead dating back to the middle ages. It is available for weekends and holidays on a self-catering basis and offers a well-equipped kitchen, a comfortable lounge/dining room with wood-burning stove and easy access to private patios and garden.
Located on Malham Moor, Bennett’s at High Trenhouse enjoys a wonderful upland location only 2½ miles from the picturesque village of Malham.
If you are looking for that perfect weekend away with your family or friends visit our website for more information
www.high-trenhouse.co.uk or call 01729 830322 and speak to David or Helen
It is very easy to see why High Trenhouse truly is a ‘Different Kind of Venue’ and has such a great level of popularity amongst businesses. During December 2009, the National Skills Academy Process Industries held a two-day team-building event at High Trenhouse set in the heart of the magnificent Yorkshire Dales National Park.
The relaxed environment, away from everyday interruptions was invaluable to us and we came away feeling that we had achieved a truly memorable team building event and more importantly for us, achieved our objective of improving communication between colleagues.
Throw in some healthy competition, a picturesque setting, excellent food and great outdoor activities and you have a recipe for a highly successful team-building event. High Trenhouse certainly delivered on all of these areas and we look forward to hosting more events with them in the future. <
Malham Moor and the surrounding area is wonderfully rich in natural history. This wealth stems from the climate and the geology – the limestone laid down beneath ancient seas and capped by sandstone deposits, raised up, fractured by fault lines and scoured by glaciers to form the watershed of our modern rivers. In the ice ages glacial melt wore deep valleys now often left dry as the hydrology seeks underground ways. The relic gritstone caps shape the profile of the highest hills, manifesting in craggy edges as well as in erratic boulders abandoned by the retreating ice. The rich variety of landscape thus formed results in diverse habitats.
Land adjoining High Trenhouse, including Malham Tarn estate, is owned by the National Trust. The estate supports a centre run by the Field Studies Council, which, while enabling young students to learn from nature, also offers public courses that help people appreciate this wonderful area. Malham Tarn is a designated Ramsar site – a wetland of world class significance, largely because of its particular juxtaposition of calcium rich waters and acid peat bog – a combination that creates unique ecosysytems. The whole area is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
It is perhaps for birds that the area is best known – from the peregrine falcons nesting at Malham Cove to the characteristic ground nesting birds of the uplands – pewits, skylarks, curlews and oystercatchers that fill the summer air with sound – plus all the migrants that seek out this rich landscape. Others find delight in the flowers of the limestone pastures, on the tarn moss and fenlands, in the secret gardens in the grikes of the limestone pavements, or the rare species found on the upper slopes of Penyghent – and all the butterflies and insects in symbiotic relationship with them.
High Trenhouse is setting ambitious targets for occupancy in the year ahead with much of our accommodation already booked. We look forward to seeing clients who have enjoyed our hospitality before, but we also welcome a number of new groups in 2010.
Our clients include medium sized companies, large organisations and independent consultants who are requiring the perfect venue for their event . The type of events include management workshops, training and development events and teambuilding.
High Trenhouse has also seen it’s leisure market grow over the past two years and we continue to work with group organisers who run all kinds of leisure activities.
Corporate clients this year are mostly focused on leadership team development, much of it concerned with strategy development. Others are more down to earth with smaller organisations taking time out to get together to think about their future.
Leisure groups cover walkers, painting, yoga and various special occasions such as family gatherings and re-unions. Our longest repeat booking is a group now celebrating its 13th anniversary.
We pride ourselves in giving excellent value. We offer exclusive use with attentive and responsive service so that the place runs around your people and your process. There are still some vacancies in 2010. If you don’t know High Trenhouse, please get in touch and we will be glad to show you around. Don’t leave it too late to enquire – its going to be a busy year.
Life goes on, in spite of airport closures, motorway blockages and icy pavements throughout the land. These conditions used to be the norm, but a decade of milder winters has led many to be less prepared.
At High Trenhouse our policy of keeping cars in the valley when there is a risk of snow has been vindicated. Most days our Landrover provides a valuable connecting link, though there have been glitches due to the festive holidays (even snow ploughs take a break).
It may be winter outside, but contrast that with the warmth of High Trenhouse with it’s cosy interiors, wood burning stoves, sauna and jacuzzi, good food and welcoming hospitality.
Happy new year. We look forward to seeing you in 2010!
Let us share some pictures with you……..taken at High Trenhouse today