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CEO Update, Brandon Parker 3rd Quarter 2021

Posted 3 years ago

Hey there! Brandon Parker, Assessments 24x7 CEO here with our 2021 3rd Quarter update. This update will be a little different from the usual as I want to focus on our team's retreat this quarter. I think this retreat could be more meaningful to us than any new product development or business initiative we could have planned. I hope that by sharing this, many of you can take this information and apply it either to your own businesses or as a coaching tool for your clients, especially those with small businesses.

Assessments 24x7 is a small, fully remote business. Our team members live on the East Coast, West Coast, and many points in between. In fact, some of our team had never actually met face-to-face, as we've grown very quickly over the past three to four years. In September 2020, as we were coming out of the worst effects of COVID, I decided that we all just really needed something to look forward to. We had been stuck in our homes for 6+ months, and quarantine wasn't over yet. The team had done a phenomenal job of navigating the company through the pandemic, and we were starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. One of MY favorite places on Earth is the island of Maui in Hawaii. I thought, "Wow, it would be so cool if I could show my appreciation to my team by taking them to this amazing place that I love so much." Then I started wondering if I could make that happen! Well, it took a lot of airline miles and plenty of wheeling and dealing for lodging, but we made it happen this past June! I think it's important to note that I thought of this as a team-bonding opportunity from the beginning. There were no breakout sessions for brainstorming new product ideas, creating company roadmaps, or SWOT analyses. We ate together, snorkeled, surfed, played some silly games, and mostly just hung out and got to know each other better. I got to have actual, not virtual, face time with every member of the team, and it was never rushed or forced. I got to hear what they love about our company and the leadership and where they'd like to see improvements. I will treasure every one of those conversations from a personal level as well as a professional level. I got to hear stories about where everyone grew up, past jobs, crazy things they've done over the years; you name it! We packed a lot of connecting into five days together, and I appreciated every minute of it!

Back to the nuts and bolts of this whole thing, though. I realize that THIS type of team retreat isn't in the cards for most businesses. Whether it's financially not feasible, or your business structure just can't support it. Being remote, everyone on my team can work from anywhere, and many of us, myself included, did need to spend a few hours working during our retreat. However, just because five days in Maui may not be workable doesn't mean a team retreat should be off the table for a company. Consider a long weekend in a location that is driveable for your crew. Get out of town with them if you can. If you can't, then take them all to dinner. Make it special. Make plenty of opportunities to connect with individuals and to allow them to connect. I came back from our trip with so much respect and love for my team that I was ready to start planning our retreat for 2022!