You know we’re all grown up when we get to take ourselves on the first ever Cherry Blossom Creative company retreat.
With client work coming fast and furious, we’ve been thinking more about focusing on why we do what we do, rather than just moving from project to project. Creating a designated time for an open, extended conversation about this was one of the best things we’ve ever done. Let us just say from experience, 3 days in the mountains is a really great way to force yourself to sit down and think about what you are creating with your work and your life. To be clear, “retreat” didn’t mean shutting off completely from the usual work flow… it’s 2015 and you can get wifi anywhere, including 4,000 feet up a mountain.
We took some time at Wintergreen Mountain in the Blue Ridge Mountains in VA to get away from the city life and take it slow for a few days. One of our leisurely exercises was discussing our current book club subject, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, which we highly recommend to anyone no matter your trade. Beyond discussing how to have a workplace that flows smoothly we had a few goals in mind for this trip: define our mission, core values and goals. While I’m not going to layout for you every single detailed thought and ambition, I will let you in on the questions we asked ourselves, and the video of us snow tubing because it is absolutely amazing.
Sprawled out around a hot fire place, in our best sweat pants, we asked ourselves and each other…
- What do we do?
- Why are we doing it?
- Who are we that are doing it?
- Who are we doing it for?
- We believe that…
Something we like to say in the office is “no one has a monopoly on good ideas”. Everyone’s opinion counts, and we want to create a workspace that’s a level playing field for everyone to have a voice and a say. While some companies may fly to exotic locations and partake in “trust building” exercises, we can say without a doubt that running a growing business in year three, learning more each day, forces you to place the utmost trust in one another as true team members. It’s true that if one of you doesn’t truly show up, your whole business is weaker and therefore we are not just accountable for ourselves but we are responsible for one another and our work as a whole. This keeps you pretty tight. We can also suggest foregoing trust falls in place of snow tubing, substituting long presentations for wine tasting and always go hot tubbing when possible. Always.
One thing that only becomes increasingly clear to us, especially during these couple of days away from the constant ebb and flow of the regular work day is that there is no “one way” no “special secret” guarded by aging CEO’s atop swaying skyscrapers. In business we can define ourselves now, but we’ll continue to re-define ourselves constantly in an ever evolving landscape. None of us stay the same, and you may say that being as adaptable to our work as we are to everyday life is a lot like snow tubing: You may find yourself screaming out of joy/fear/elation but you’re always more likely to win the race when you shoot down a giant hill of ice all together.