All-Hands Meeting: We should have done this sooner!
- July 27, 2011
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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:
- Food. We ate our way through some of Austin’s best restaurants.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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“.