A couple of Sunday’s ago the Be Challenged team journeyed to Kalinya Estate for our annual mid year retreat. Being the newest member of the business it was an exciting, yet daunting prospect, to have two nights away with a team I had only just become part of.
In all honesty, it was my first retreat since high school and I instantly thought back to the blood-sucking leeches I encountered on that outing. Needless to say I was hoping for something a little more welcoming.
As the Melbourne and Queensland teams touched down in unison at the Sydney airport, we convoyed to Kalinya Estate. A stunning setting of manicured grounds, impeccable facilities and not a leech in sight!
While we familiarised ourselves with our home away from home for the next two nights, we discussed the agenda. It was structured, however it set aside plenty of relaxation time to get to know my new teammates, in a non-work setting.
While the first night’s chat by the fire was laid back, things heated up the next morning with gym sessions and basketball knockouts. There’s something about getting the blood pumping that sets you up for a day of feeling positive and energised.
As the retreat got well underway, I couldn’t help but think that I felt as relaxed and comfortable as I would on a trip away with friends. Given the business I now work for specialise in team connections, I began to curiously watch some of our leaders and how they facilitated such a natural feeling getaway. They welcomed people into group conversations and genuinely engaged with people across the team. Genuine conversations because their interest in one another was genuine.
It was clear that by design this retreat wasn’t about strategy, rather the strategy for this retreat was about connection. This was especially important given our recent team growth and many new faces coming together for the first time.
Two weeks later and back in the office it dawned on me that when you take the time to learn about each other there’s a veneer that gets removed. While this manifests as stronger personal connections while you’re away from the office, when you get back to work it creates more open, respectful, and constructive relationships.
It was also clear that building stronger bonds between people needs to happen before you attempt to align people to your business strategy. All people in the business will contribute to a strategy in different ways, you need to first figure that out on a human level, before you do at a professional level.
I feel I know the Be Challenged business better now because I know the people so much more. Culture is difficult to define and while I can’t describe it in words, I now know what it is and feel blessed to work with a business that puts so much value on it.
Be Challenged Sales & Marketing Coordinator