One Team Finance Away Day 2019

As part of their Summer 2019 Away Day, the University Finance Department Senior Management team were looking for a fun, interactive and collaborative activity to encourage flexible approaches to new experiences and sensitise staff to new ways of working.

Event Details

  • Event Date & Duration: 21st June 2019, a half day morning event
  • Where: The John McIntyre Conference Centre, Edinburgh.
  • Format: Provision of a fun, interactive and collaborative activity for the whole group – Facing New Challenges – Circus Skills. This was selected to promote a positive approach to new challenges and the opportunities that change can bring.
  • Group Size: ‘Team Finance at comprised a group size of 220 staff in total from across all levels of the department on the day.


Key to delivering on the client’s outcomes was the pre-event engagement and communication with both the organising team to fully understand their needs and outcomes from this event, and with the Director of Finance and his team to fine tune the initial ideas and proposal. During the pre-event discussions the notion of creating a “supportive learning environment” resonated with Director of Finance Lee and his team, and the activity of learning circus skills was seen to be a perfect metaphor for illustrating how important attitude and approach is to achieving a successful outcome when facing new challenges. A key factor to take into account was the large number of attendees – 220 – in one location. As such the logistics needed to be carefully worked out. In this respect the site visit was of great importance and, combined with the excellent communications within the whole Maximillion team, played a huge part in the success of this project. The Maximillion team was able to go into the day with a well-defined plan on how to manage the situation.

What We Did

One important aspect of the event was the ratio of trained staff to participants on the day. Having the right amount of facilitators for attendees to be successful (learn a new circus skill), and yet have the freedom to coach their colleagues to improve performance, without being in a too restrictive environment over managed by the Maximillion team

Another key factor was to manage expectations. Prior to the start of the event Lead Facilitator David Harrison introduced himself to delegates and personally interacted with them. As the details of this interaction (learning circus skills) were kept a surprise, Maximillion understood the need for people to know they were in safe hands. The twenty years experience of delivering this type of activity would mean people would have an enjoyable learning experience with well-defined outcomes.

The way the event was structured – with people having an enjoyable learning experience, and then coaching each other to improve skills within their teams in readiness for a friendly competition – meant there was a focus to the learning the skills, and accordingly people’s attention was maintained throughout.

Above all though, it was the whole-hearted efforts of all in ‘Team Finance’ with all the senior management team leading the way by immersing themselves in the activity that made the day a memorable learning experience.

What They Said

“Like many other professional service providers, we are often metaphorically ‘spinning plates’ and ‘juggling’ competing priorities, so it was great for our team to try these challenges in real life. We discovered hidden talents and it reinforced that working as a team and providing a supportive learning environment are key to delivering an excellent result. Thank you to Maximillion for your support and encouragement during this fun event, as well as for your professionalism in pulling together a slick activity for 220 people.”

Lee Hamill, Director of Finance