It seems surreal that I started with Be Challenged over 13 years ago, young, fresh-faced and keen to show the value of teamwork to the corporate world.
There have been many learnings over this time, some linked to work, others to working with my dear friend and business partner, Oliver Sheer, and others to the various ‘buckets’ Be Challenged operates in: Fun & Team Building, Conferences & Meetings and Learning & Development.
While I would love to list all my learnings, below are the Top 5 that have been instrumental to the growth and success of Be Challenged, and me personally.
Good Culture Breeds Success:
Having personally run over 1500 team building programs in 13 years, as well as my experience running Be Challenged, I can categorically say that good culture breeds business success.
Our business is exposed to teams in all different stages of their development, and not once have I worked with a team that already had a strong culture and was not already successful.
That does not mean ‘everyone loves each other’ but it does mean there is a clear identity across the business, a strong level of mutual respect, and a “we can get it done’ mindset.
A team with a good culture will find a way to get the results, regardless of the situation they find themselves in.
Do it Your Way:
The two biggest perks I believe we have at Be Challenged are, working in all the amazing venues and locations where we deliver our programs, and the insights we have into so many different businesses.
With Be Challenged running over 700 programs every year in Australia, internationally, and virtually, we are exposed to countless teams and how they go about getting the job done.
While it is great to learn from other groups or past experiences, you need to “do it your way”, because if you try and force something onto a group that doesn’t fit, it might backfire. For example, Nerf Guns during induction will not work for everyone!
One of our values is Be Real and I stand by this. Our team is diverse and that is something I am proud of. I am also comfortable that we are not necessarily for everyone, and that is ok.
Work can be a grind. It is often challenging and there are tough days in any job. However, to get through the challenging times you need to work out a way to have fun along the way.
In my team I am known for handing out unique and playful nicknames, and I also try and bring fun into most things we do. For example, the pressure of trying to set up a 300-person event in 15 minutes can be stressful but throw a little competition into it and suddenly that stressful chore becomes a fun game that delivers a positive result.
My business partner, Oliver, and I subscribe to the theory of ‘Work Hard Play Hard’. Do the hard work but also ensure you celebrate and have fun together along the way.
Sleep On It
This comes from running Be Challenged and making big decisions with a business partner. However, it can apply to anything in life.
It stems from one of many meetings Oliver and I had where a sizeable decision was made and by that afternoon the wheels were in motion.
I always move quickly once decisions are made and while this can be great, it does not allow for error or adjustment, which in this situation was required. So, we introduced a ‘sleep on it’ rule. Any time a big decision is made we debate the options, agree on the direction we are going, then give ourselves a day to sleep on it. If we feel the same way the next day we will move forward or adjust as required.
Solutions not Problems
It is rare that any two programs we run are the same. It can be something subtle like finding a way to shorten a program by 15 minutes, or something big like delivering in a hybrid format across multiple time zones, languages and locations.
This has been particularly relevant during COVID and being able to constantly adjust, survive and thrive in this environment. There are always challenges and over the years we have come to embrace them. Hence one of our other values is Be Innovative.
When a client presents you with something outside the box your first instinct cannot be ‘It can’t be done.’. It needs to be ‘How do we find a way to do it?’. This has been crucial to our success over the years. While it has not always worked out perfectly, it has proven hugely beneficial while also keeping things fresh, exciting, and challenging for the team.
So, there they are, my Top 5 Learnings from the last 13 years. It has been a rollercoaster, at work and personally, having married, had three incredible children, and continued to develop individually.
Take from these what you like, but for myself, Oliver and Be Challenged, these have been crucial to our success and will continue to be so into the future.