The Importance of Culture

Grabbing my connection into Philly and up to Toronto last night, I had the opportunity to reflect on the company retreat, CONNECT, that I had just finished up in Amelia Island, FL. The entire company was in a beautiful place – feeling good, doing some good and walking away inspired for the upcoming year.

Last Thursday, if you told me that I would be personally impacted by these three days to the core, I would have told you that is crazy; all I was focused on was the fact that I was saying goodbye to my family for a few days. And, truthfully, a little upset to be missing two playoff hockey games.

Many companies talk about having a ‘good culture.’  But truly what is that? For most, it’s throwing a good party and giving awards to those that exceeded expectations for the year.  

This event was so much more….

With a theme of Where We’re Headed, these few days became a beacon of light for so many employees. I was blown away by the compassionate family I’m so proud to be part of.

There are a few moments that totally prove the depth to which the company went to instill the importance of our values and culture across our organization:

The employees awarded the 2016 Hero Awards are not just heroes at work – they are heroes within their communities as well. Those recognized are incredible humans versus just employees. The impact to their teams, their communities and their families is inspiring.

2.  The largest team-building activity of the weekend was building bikes (44 total) to provide kids with bikes that would not generally be able to afford to have one.

3.  Our entertainment for the evening was the six employees who form the company band.

4.  Our discussions centered on cross-functional teams and articulating the best customer experience possible – not just building a plan for the year.

Don’t mistake my warm and fuzzy thoughts for this not being a hardworking, driven, passionate and successful organization. I’ve never worked so hard in my life, but with the culture aligned, I truly want to see us collectively succeed – and succeed in a big way!

So, my playoff games came in the form of skype.  And I’m still catching up on life today.  But that’s ok. The impact that these three days had on validating my current place in the work ‘universe’ was worth far more for both myself and my family.