If you’ve ever wondered what it is like to go on a company retreat but haven’t had the opportunity, here is your chance to get the inside scoop. Well, let me be clear. While I am sure no two company retreats are alike, I am almost certain none of them will ever be able to give you the “thinkLaw Team Retreat” experience.
What is the thinkLaw Team Retreat experience?
Here’s the funny part. We haven’t exactly defined it- as far as retreats are concerned. And that’s okay. This was our second company retreat and so far each one has been the perfect mash up of educational training and support, ah-ma-zing food that is always from local places and never some big restaurant chain, a few cocktails (that’s our story and we’re sticking to it), a lot of good laughs and some pretty fun times with Colin’s kids- Rose and Oliver!
We started this year’s retreat a little different from last years in more ways than one. Instead of getting off of our planes and heading straight to the hotel for an ice breaker session like last year me (Quandra), Holly-Maria and Dana met up and enjoyed mani-pedis at a local salon in Phoenix. It was great to have this time together since we all work virtually and only met for the first time during last year’s retreat.
Last year, we also had a pretty lofty list of articles to read that included topics covering each of our respective areas. This years pre-retreat tasks were a lot different mainly because Holly-Maria, Dana Moore and me moved into our new roles within the company plus Colin felt that we had become pretty well-indoctrinated in the way we approached our work at thinkLaw.
This year we had to go a lot #deeper.
Deeper was the theme for last year and you can read more about it here. Our pre-retreat task for this year included 5 questions that assessed our view of the company, how we felt it could be improved and where we saw the company going. It also included a longer written part that required us to write a job description of the roles we were moving into with a particular focus on the following 3 main components:
- The main problem to be solved, worded as a question.
- A list of the most important 3 specific problems this person (you) must solve in the next 90 days and
- The top 3 innovative solutions this person (you) need to experiment with to transform our company within the scope of your role.
At first, I thought these questions were just going to be topics we discussed over dinner at some point but I learned that our answers would be the basis for our management and goal setting training as well as helping us to identify the “big rocks” that would help us to reach our company goals.
thinkLaw team retreat Day 1
Following our mani-pedi sessions, each of us had a one-one session with Andrea Pursley – Partner at The Management Center. Her questions (which were largely based on our assessment of our CEO’s management style) and the answers we gave set the tone for our day 2 session with her that covered roles and goals, time and systems management, and the work cycle.
Following our sessions, we debriefed at an awesome Greek spot while where we enjoyed some great food and toasted to the goals we set and crushed last year.
thinkLaw team retreat Day 2
This day was filled with a fun and educational 7-hour goal setting and management strategy session! Colin and Andrea wanted to be sure we received adequate support and training for our new positions so Andrea helped us to get really clear on our role and responsibilities, how to manage up and across, and how to properly align our major goals in each of our areas and break them down in order to help the company reach its goals. We concluded the day by gathering at Colin’s home, fellow-shipping with his family and enjoying some really great Caribbean food along with his homemade Rum Punch! It’s times like this when we learn to appreciate the casual, in-person time that we don’t get from working remotely.
thinkLaw team retreat Day 3
We gathered at Colin’s house for breakfast and to discuss our cascading goals for the upcoming year. We also, came up with #appreciate as this year’s company theme. It is such a cool theme because we are showing and expressing appreciation for the privilege of being able to do such meaningful work as a team and for those courageous school leaders who have invested in us up to this point. But we are also appreciating in the asset sense where are striving to increase in value in every respect. More value for our team, for our partners, and for the students we are impacting. It’s powerful stuff!And if you are wondering, yes that is Colin giving the presentation using his blinds as the projection screen. What, you thought that minor detail would stop greatness in the making? In the words of our CEO and founder, “Nah, son”.
That moment highlights everything I love about our company! Just about everything we do is unconventional in many ways but we make it work. As I’ve said many times before, it seems like we have jumped off a cliff and we’re trying to build our parachutes on the way down but I (and the team seems to agree) wouldn’t have it any other way.