Communication is a pretty big deal at Connect&GO. We have weekly scrums to share what we’re working on, we use Slack to ping each other and share news as well as let the team know we’re OOO, we have lunch as a group when we can, we hold monthly BBQs in the summer, and impromptu 5@7s now and then… We try to talk to one another and support one another, about work stuff and non-work stuff, because we know that connectivity is an important part of creating a strong team with a foundation of trust.
Once a year, we find it crucial to take our bonding out of the office and head off on a two-day retreat. Getting people out of their day-to-day routine really helps them to communicate freely. We seek out a peaceful country location (we were in tree houses last year!) we bring food, drinks and comfy sweaters, and we organize a group activity to let everyone unwind. Afterwards, we gather as a team and get down to the company’s “why”, what C&G has been up to over the past year, and where it’s headed next. It can be an eye opening and inspiring experience, and we always come away from it feeling more connected as a team and even more pumped about the future of Connect&GO. Here’s how it all went down this year:
The Activity: GO-KARTING! No trust-building activities here! Instead, we opted for some fierce Go-Karting competition where we zipped, zigzagged, rolled, spun, crashed and lapped around the track, leaving our colleagues in our dust. We think a little healthy competition is a good thing.
The Location: Le Couvent Val-Morin Next, we drove a few minutes away and settled into our super-peaceful lodging on the side of a mountain overlooking a lake. Le Couvent Val-Morin is an old convent that has been transformed into a beautiful and relaxing country haven (it’s used primarily for mediation and yoga retreats). We unloaded our overnight bags and got ready (warm drink in hand) for our first team gathering. The Meeting: Getting Real
With no other meetings to run to and no cell phones buzzing for our attention, we were able to spend time really going over where the company is at, and where we want it to go. We talked openly about what we’re doing right, and what we’re doing wrong, our strengths and weaknesses. Our leadership team shared their vision for the company, and we contributed ideas about how to make it happen. We talked tech, we talked about it in relation to behaviour, we talked Artificial Intelligence and the speed at which industries can be revolutionized. We had open discussions where questions were asked and documented and plans were put in place to address concerns.
The Food: A team effort Everyone helped prepare, chop, slice, smother, drizzle, sprinkle, cook, fry, bake, plate, serve, present, describe, begin, ingest, scarf, nibble, chew, discard, recycle, compost and finally clean up after our meals.There were colourful and tasty vegan dishes, veggie-lover masterpieces, several marinated and barbecued meats, protein salads, French breads, French cheeses, treats and lots more. Everyone was totally stuffed by the end and there were lots of laughs all night long!
The Next Day: Hiking Time! We took some time to get out and breathe that incredible fresh air! We reached the base of the Val-Morin Mountain; looked up towards the peak and started walking. As a group, we hiked and climbed and struggled and eventually reached the top. Once we got there, we broke out into groups and worked on a team-building exercise. We were given a fresh, uncooked egg, a tie-wrap, an elastic and a little string and challenged to find a way to drop the egg from 10 feet in the air and have it land without cracking. Let’s just say, there were someone creative ‘wings and things’ that appeared and the exercise was a total success. The teams connected, focused and “solutioned” together. It was a beautiful day and the view over the lake was simply stunning.
The End: Back to MTL After a quick re-cap meeting, we packed it all up and slowly headed back to real life. Now, there’s a sense of carrying that inspiration with us, and we’re excited to be a part of this company’s success. More importantly, we feel even more connected as a team and we know that, together, we can make it happen!