All-Hands Meeting: We should have done this sooner!

Scott Francis
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So we just completed our first company all-hands meeting.  Previously, the closest we’ve come was having our two co-founders meet for coffee on Sundays, and the near unanimous attendance we had at bpmCamp 2010 at Stanford University.  The short version of how I feel about this: why didn’t we do this sooner?! We included all the crucial elements of a good company meeting:
  1. Food.  We ate our way through some of Austin’s best restaurants.
  2. Fun.  We carved out time for getting out on a boat on the lake the last afternoon.  But we also made time for checking out the local Austin bands playing on 6th street (a shout out to Empty-Handed Vagabonds and to the lead singer of Dysfunkshun Junkshun).
  3. Location.  We held our meetings at the historic Stephen F Austin hotel.  The second floor balcony is a fantastic way to unwind and socialize after a day of business meetings, and the hotel itself oozes character and history. Often people ignore the setting of their meetings-  but this stuff matters!  The space you meet in affects how you think, how focused you are, how intimate the meeting feels.
  4. Content. Sure, we reviewed important company metrics and business goals. But we also put a lot of content together individually to give everyone a chance to hear what  everyone else was up to.  I was really impressed with the quality of thought and content that was presented – and more impressed by the discussion that followed.  I learned a lot over the two days we met – about our team as well as about the topics they discussed.
  5. Team.  Because we have a distributed organization, we have limited opportunities to gather in one place.  This is a really special team we’ve put together, and getting everyone in one place just made it more obvious how good they are.
  6. Surprise.  We also had a surprise guest-appearance from Phil Gilbert, VP of BPM at IBM.  The Q&A session was memorable, as his take on the BPM space.
  7. Shirts.  You’ve got to have shirts at a company meeting.  We rolled out fresh polo shirts and a surprise t-shirt addition to the lineup.
Often people will ask me why they should join up with BP3 instead of contracting – or why someone else would join up instead of contracting.  I guess if you don’t try it out, it is hard to understand the difference – but this sense of team, of building something bigger than any of us can do alone – it is very powerful.  I think everyone in attendance could feel how special this was.  You just don’t get that kind of validation and gratification as a solo artist.   You don’t get this sense of family. So we’re building a company.  And investments like this are required to reinvest in community and team.  To say thank you.  And to give everyone a sense of the possible.  Our company meeting just made it clear to our team (and to me) why we’re special.   Thanks to everyone on the team! I have been informed that “BP3 All Hands Meeting” as an operating name lacks a certain “flair”.  We’ll work on  branding for our event.  We might just call it “Getting the Band Back Together“.  

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