Our annual team retreat over the first weekend in February has renewed and reinspired the Athlete Assessments team, and we are even more ready to take on the year ahead. Personally, I couldn’t wait to get back into the office to put our planning into action, and I thought you’d value the insight into our collective reflection on Monday morning, where we each shared our individual takeaways.
But before we get into it, a quick summary of the event. As I catch myself writing this, I see that it really does demonstrate how we walk our talk in everything we do with our clients. The event began with the team meeting at our retreat accommodation, where the first team challenge commenced – building the charcuterie board!
Once we had food in front of us, the real work could begin, and out came the flipcharts and markers – a true sign of a creative process in progress. Our core goals for the day were to re-define what winning looks like for our team moving forward through the creation of our ‘Winning Is’ statement and ‘Winning Equation’, followed by the recreating our core values (or ‘Match Winning Qualities’ as we like to call them). The day allowed us to explore both the external and internal measures of what winning looks like for our team and for us as individuals, and we had extremely valuable discussions around the goals for the business, our roles, and how we each contribute towards the winning outcomes.
Now while we are steadfast in our belief that team building is not an event, but a process; our Founder and Director Bo Hanson highlighted how having this opportunity to take time out of our day-to-day roles, and step away from the operational aspects of the business to truly focus on our team was vital. He added,
“To re-evaluate what winning looks like to us all and what creates a win and also, define our winning equation which encapsulates our newly defined set of three values which serve where the business is currently and wants to go in the medium-term future.”
Our CEO, Liz Masen concurred,
“Having the extra time outside of the office, to work on some important aspects of the business is valuable, and also the pockets of fun (including my modern dance efforts) and personal side-conversations make it special. While I had high expectations for our team retreat in the lead up, I was blown away and left feeling more invigorated than I have in years. I am so impressed with our team and inspired by their level of personal investment in our work.”
Client Success Manager, Danielle Souness, shared her perspective on the process, “It was important that we evaluated and redefined our values to ensure we value the same things and are aligned as a team. Our discussions demonstrated that over time our values have changed based on the needs of the business, and our team, and how we want to evolve.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly given how closely we all work together, the process of redefining our values was efficient as the themes that emerged were in close alignment. Given this, it feels almost natural that the first value we defined is that of being ‘Aligned’. We agreed that Aligned means that we are working together towards a common goal, moving independently in the same direction yet connected. The business is aligned with our personal goals and values, that we are aligned with the clients that we work with, that our roles align with the contribution and the strengths each of us bring.
Bo shares further meaning behind this value, “Most critically we discussed being aligned between ourselves as a value, and how this importantly extends into having alignment with our clients; but also, if there is a lack of alignment, to either to search harder for it or choose to not engage with misaligned entities and efforts.”
An undertone that emerged from our discussions is that we want to be deliberate in everything that we do, which leads to our next value of ‘Invested’. While initially you may think of it being a financial term, it goes so far beyond that for our team. Being invested to us is a demonstration of our personal commitment to each other, to our clients, and to living high-performance. When you invest in something, it is important to you, you have been thoughtful and considered in making that investment, and you also want to see what you invest in succeed and grow. There is also an expectation that what you invest in will provide a return and reward you back. We extended on this that when you truly invest in something, you work hard, are persistent, and go the extra mile.
It was exceptional timing that Liz shared on the Monday morning,
“After the weekend, I was flicking through social media and saw that one of our clients had reshared an article with a detailed post about us. This in itself is a wonderful reflection on our commitment to clients, and what I loved the most was that the post ended with this sentence: ‘We invest in them because they are invested in people.’ I knew we had done a great job in redoing our values as this embodied what we work hard to do every day.”
Our final value is what we determined to be what we want to be known as, that being ‘Exceptional’. A continuation of our commitment to high-performance and going beyond what is expected, having an exceptional culture and environment to work in, it’s ensuring our clients have an exceptional experience when working with us, and we contribute to their exceptional success.
To us, it was also important for our values to go in this order too, as we first have to be Aligned, in order to be Invested, and have the capability to be Exceptional.
Previously, our values were Connected, Contribution, and Beyond, which we as a team acknowledged had served our team and goals during their time, but as Liz highlighted, “Our new values just feel right, they have a subtle distinction from our last set, and I’m confident will be the foundation of success in 2023.”
Following the definition of our values, our team also had an honest and open discussion around why we do what we do, and how it goes far beyond a job for every one of us, as Bo described, “It was also critical to hear from all team members about their reasons why they work with us and even what would make them want to no longer work in our business.”
Danielle shared that she found this exercise to be most valuable adding,
“Having the open opportunity to hear each team member express where and how they see their role developing was so important. We were able to clearly identify and start the conversation around what is needed to achieve that from an individual and business perspective. Each team member brings a unique perspective and to go around and being able to define what winning looks like for us both on a personal and professional level was a very valuable conversation. We are aligned as a team, and it is exciting to see the possibility of how we can grow as a business and a team.”
Interwoven into every discussion of course, was the foundation of DISC and how our team dynamic relates to our roles, goals, and how we can achieve what winning looks like for us. After determining our winning equation and winning is statements, along with our values, we each discussed our roles, how we see ourselves best contributing to achieving success and how to maximize this. As Marketing and Graphic Design Assistant, Kate Von Euw described, “This was most valuable for me, redefining our business goals and where we see growth and opportunity in our field so that we could all start thinking about what role we each play in achieving these goals.”
Danielle noted that one of her personal key takeaways from the event was this consideration of where and how each team member is of most value to the business, and we can best to utilize our own strengths and the strengths of each other. She added, “Another key takeaway was considering and discussing all components that make up our winning equation and how critical our values are in ultimately creating a win.”
As our Academic Client Manager, Temika Smith summarized from her perspective,
“The team day was an incredibly valuable opportunity for our team to specifically address our values as a team; goals, ideas, and plans to implement; direction of future business development; and appreciate the exceptional work that each of us have contributed to the wins we have made together. While our previous values are still highly relevant, we took this as a chance to extend on these, building into the future, with each value being thoroughly discussed, reviewed, and agreed upon by every voice. Our new values, Aligned, Invested, and Exceptional, are entrenched in our mindsets as we start each day, the language we use, the work we produce, and the service we provide to clients. As our business continues to grow, one of the discussions that I found most important was that of our future, aligning our personal goals and interests with those of plans of our business’s development. I am proud to be a member of this extraordinary team and am invested in our continued success!”
It is our goal that every person who encounters a member of our team knows that we are Aligned; we are Invested; and we are Exceptional.
“Redefining our values was so important as our team has evolved over time and so too has the business. They better serve us now because we all share the same vision; we know what ‘Winning’ look likes for us.”
And Danielle concluded,
“The new values we have introduced are exciting and truly demonstrate what we are all about. I look forward to seeing our values come to life and be lived in everything we do!”
Where to from here?
If you would like to learn more about how we work with teams using the process our own team underwent, we encourage you to contact us!
Creating and maintaining an effective team culture is critical to sustained success. So, if we define culture simply as ‘the way we behave around here’, we need to determine what is acceptable and what is not? But then as a coach, how do you sustain a culture or how do you deal with an athlete who acts in a way that opposes the culture you want?
Going beyond what’s expected of you, is a part of what we value at Athlete Assessments. So, when it was suggested we do an aerial yoga class as our team building activity, we all jumped at the idea of getting out of our comfort zones (no pun intended…).
Athlete Assessments Team Day #1 2021; Team Day activity, using DISC profiling, developing communication, team work and some fun.