Practice What You Preach

Sometimes a hypocrite is nothing more than a [person] in the process of changing – Brandon Sanderson

“We don’t need a company offsite.”

I may—or may not—have said this to my co-founder, Amy Humble, several months back.

Over the past six months, our company has facilitated nearly a dozen client offsites. The irony (hypocrisy?) that I might think we don’t need one ourselves is thick.

It is of note that this is a shadow value (I talk about it in Smart Growth) at play. I really don’t have any logical answer for this gap between what I say and what I do except that we’ve always been a remote-based company. We work well remotely. It isn’t necessary for us to get together in person.

But the real bottom line of this shadow value is that although I believe it’s vital for us to connect with people, an offsite is extra work. I justify not doing it because it would consume a lot of resources: time, energy, and money. And we can throw in a little bit of fear, “What if we bring everyone together (for the first time), and I don’t know what to do?

There’s a song lyric that says, “Practice what you preach, or change your speech.” Since I do believe in walking my talk, and because Amy is so persuasive, we finally had an offsite last week.

Now that it’s over, I’m asking myself how I could have thought for even a second that it would not be worth it. 

I’ve seen teams transformed when we facilitate others’ offsite; why wouldn’t ours be the same?

As it turned out, it was.

Many of us had never met in person; now we have. I love Zoom, but when you are with a person LIVE, it’s a different experience. It was wonderful to gather in person to be with so many eminently capable individuals, eager to do good in the world and to watch their capacities multiply as a team.

We had opportunities to talk about our business, where we are, and where we are going. There were moments of collective laughter and a chance to express appreciation for each other and our respective superpowers. We also had a group photo (you can see it on my Instagram along with others from our offsite). 

I think my favorite moment was when Amy and I asked each team member what one thing we could do to support them better. Mostly there were small, doable things, and it reminded me that most of what we want and need from our colleagues is small –– we just need to be willing to ask and then do.

While remote / hybrid work is here to stay, and I’m grateful it is, one of the gifts of these past two years is that we value being in-person in a way that we hadn’t before. It’s no longer a given, and when done intentionally and thoughtfully, it can significantly impact how we work together, propelling us up the S Curve as a team.

What has been your experience working in person? What did you discover?

Our podcast this week is with Regina Kim, a freelance journalist who has written extensively about K Dramas, which I discovered (thanks to our daughter) during the pandemic. 

Not only are many of the shows family-friendly, but there is frequently noteworthy character development and transformation. And yes, Korean media is disrupting Western media.

As always, thanks for being here.

My best,

P.S. On September 15-18, I am going to speak at (and participate in) Gathering Saints, a women’s retreat (aka, non-professional off-site) in Bear Lake, Utah. For my friends who are in Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Arizona, California (or anywhere!), if you want some time to think about leadership and faith––COME! I would love to spend time with you! 

P.P.S. Let me know what you think of the podcast episode with Regina, and if you want K Drama recommendations!