A cabin, a schedule of exceptional sessions, and plenty of chips and salsa. For this year’s company retreat, the crew convened at Lake Herman near Madison, S.D., to think long-term about Lemonly. (As always, we also managed to have some fun.)
Our most recent hires got to meet our two Canadian Lemonheads for the first time, and we were all excited to hear how business development manager Colin has enjoyed his first couple of months working remotely in New York City.
Through mini workshops organized by our team leaders and facilitator Bill Anderson, the whole company put our heads together and applied our core values of collaboration, integrity and adventure.
For the session commanded by Morgan, our marketing and communications manager, we were able to collaborate with each other to come up with opportunities to collaborate with clients. Double collaboration!
We always want to do more with our existing clients because, by and large, they’re the bomb. They understand infographics, and we understand each other. For this exercise, we dove into 10 clients’ existing content, their needs, their wants and the things they don’t even know they need or want yet.
Morgan had broken us up into interdisciplinary teams beforehand, and each team had two clients to focus on. It was pretty exciting to hear the constant buzz throughout the cabin as Lemonheads shared their knowledge and ideas.
Once the half hour was up, we came together to present the possibilities we’d explored. Static infographics to promote those white papers! Interactive infographics to explain that process! Social content to engage that audience! All in all, it was a great way to get excited for the future of our company and our work.
The word integrity has two definitions: (1) the quality of being honest and having strong principles; (2) the state of being whole and undivided. In this case, our honesty helped us come together as a team to become more whole and undivided when we explored the results of our Gallup CliftonStrengths StrengthsFinder 2.0 with Amberly, our director of client experience.
Prior to retreat, we’d each taken the StrengthsFinder assessment and discovered our top five strengths. The assessment includes 34 strengths in total, separated into four domains: Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building and Strategic Thinking.
Interestingly, there’s a five-way tie for the top five strengths found in Lemonheads’ top five strengths:
- Developer – Recognize and cultivate the potential in others, noticing and deriving satisfaction from the signs of each small improvement
- Empathy – Can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in others’ lives or situations
- Adaptability – Prefer to go with the flow, take things as they come and discover the future one day at a time
- Learner – Great desire to learn and continuously improve, excited by the process of learning rather than the outcome
- Strategic – Create alternative ways to proceed, quickly spotting relevant patterns and issues in any given scenario
Our honesty and openness in taking the assessment and sharing our results helped us learn how to work better as a team. For example, while many of our designers have similar skills, their strengths are sometimes in entirely different domains. We all have our top strengths visible at our desks and can access the full rundown online. I’m already obsessed with looking at how my coworkers show their strengths in day-to-day operations. (“Brett, your restorative strength is showing!”)
Adventure is all about being bold and stepping outside your comfort zone. For his session, our facilitator Bill Anderson had us think three years into the future and record our personal hopes, professional hopes, personal fears and professional fears.
After spending some time making our lists, we selected one thing from each of the four categories to write on a Post-it note and share with our coworkers – being as only as open as we wanted to be. By laying it all on the table, we noticed common threads in our hopes and fears. Bill, who is fantastic and knowledgable as heck, assured us that previous groups who’d done this exercise looked back three years later and found that while many of their hopes had come to fruition, few (if any) of their fears came to be. Fingers crossed, but we’re feeling good!
There were other little adventures throughout the weekend as well. The Canadians tried chislic, cheeseballs, Big Buck Hunter and video lottery. We attempted various impressions and charades through the Heads Up app. There may or may not have been a late-night lip sync competition.
All in all, our 2017 retreat met and surpassed the high standard set by previous years. Here’s to collaboration, integrity and adventure in 2018 and beyond!
P.S. If you’re interested in the songs of the retreat, here’s a sampling of the tunes we either listened to, sang, or lip synced during our eventful time together. Enjoy!