Ok. First thing’s first…I’m the devil for skipping out on blogging for a couple months. It’s been a crazy summer and we’ll get into that more later. For now, though, I am very sorry.
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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about company culture. For starters, I’ve been thinking about what it actually encompasses. I think a lot of people hear the words “company culture” and start envisioning Google and foosball tables. Other people conjure memories of bad company culture and offices they hated. There has to be a comprehensive middle ground, yes? Something in between kindergarten field day and that bitch Sharlene emailing everyone fourteen times to clean out the office fridge?
One of my best experiences this summer was going on a company retreat to Minnesota with all my coworkers. We’re a very small company so it’s still possible for us to retreat comfortably to one vacation house. There were seven of us, at the time, all in a lovely home in Minneapolis for three nights.
For some of us, this was our first time meeting and there we were, stuck in a house together for four days. You guys know there is still a part of me (and always will be) that wants to hole up in bed 24/7 and watch “Buffy” till I starve. That’s just part of dealing with depression – making that part as small as possible and telling her to shut up 98% of the time. That part was exhausted just hearing about this trip. I’d be trapped in a house with my BOSS and EVERY SINGLE ONE of my coworkers for four days…and expected to contribute in a meaningful way despite being the only ‘non-creative’ in the room. That is the emotional equivalent of two weeks in a bridesmaid’s dress – and heels.
I could not have been more wrong about this trip, though. Yes, it was exhausting, but in a great way. We holed up, talked strategy, shared ideas, cooked meals, ate all of the M&Ms and hummus in Minnesota, drank a bit, and had an awesome time. My boss accidentally walked in on me in the shower…twice. An intern walked in on me peeing and brushing my teeth at the same time. That level of laughter and team building is priceless.
We had extended family join us for the trip – we had a great time with Chris Fleek, Crystal Miller, Caleb Fullheart and Tiffany Kuehl! We met up with some amazing clients and got to enjoy face to face time with them. Also, there’s something magic that happens between 6 and 7 in the morning when you’re all in that gray area comprising hangover, jet lag, exhaustion, and sleeping in a strange place – and you all simultaneously sneak down to get coffee still in your pajamas. We all came away super energized, focused on our goals, and more determined than ever to see this company really take off.
I know we’ll keep growing and one day it won’t be financially or logistically feasible for us to all get on a plane or drive to some locale and stay together for a retreat. As the Chief Culture Officer (as I have recently appointed myself), it will be up to me to create a similar vibe for everyone that works here…the vibe of a small company full of creativity and energy. I’m still refining what I want that experience to be and how we’ll achieve it, but I think I have an excellent starting point after our trip. Foosballs optional.
PS – If you’d like to see more tidbits about our trip…search Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for #repcapfamilyvacay.