by Jason Richmond, CEO and Chief Culture Officer at Ideal Outcomes, Inc.
After five days working and playing together in the U.S. Virgin Islands, here are some lessons learned by the Ideal Outcomes’ team:
- When your server emphatically says that the sea bass is the best thing on the menu, order the sea bass
- Remember the bug spray…and the Afterbite
- Remind the roosters that sunrise isn’t until 5:54 am
- When you do a headcount, make sure all heads actually get on the bus
- While navigating the winding, narrow, and hilly roads, beware of tourists turning on the wrong side of the road right at you.
If you’ve ever been to the U.S. Virgin Islands you may have found that driving can be a challenge. First, because it’s the only place under U.S. jurisdiction where the rule of the road is to drive on the left—a holdover from what was the Danish practice before the 1917 American acquisition of the islands. Second, most cars there are American imports with the steering wheel on the left making it doubly difficult. This confuses many tourists, and I experienced this while driving my team around St. Thomas.
Luckily an accident was averted, and we were able to continue unscathed with our annual retreat on the island that I’m proud to call my second home. Under 80 degree sunny skies looking out on the shimmering waters of a Caribbean paradise you can get a lot done. It’s an amazingly creative, productive environment.
While the lessons mentioned above are tongue-in-cheek, my real biggest takeaways were seeing firsthand the impact of these truths:
- Common ground between individuals boosts camaraderie and strengthens engagement, culture, and performance.
- Differences between team members drives innovation and creativity, raising quality and leading to better ways of getting things done.
- Teams that take the time to understand each other—who each person is and what makes them “tick”—helps create a high level of inclusion and belonging.
- For an offsite like this, having a purposeful team agenda that includes time for team members to grow as individuals and builds in downtime for everyone recharges the team and directly decreases the potential for burnout.
Our five-day getaway was a time for celebration as well as an in-depth review of what’s worked well, what needs to be improved, and what we can orchestrate for future growth.
After some intense authentic conversations, we walked away with a to-do list that will fill some identified gaps. We even committed to timelines and responsibilities. Plus, we had a successful brainstorming session to update our team’s mission and vision. Here are the new statements:
The IO Mission
Our mission is to drive competitive advantage and business performance by providing unique professional development opportunities.
The IO Vision
We empower people and organizations to be courageous and propel them toward their vision.
At the end of the treat everyone dispersed back to their respective homes with a renewed sense of commitment and a promise from me that our jobs will never get boring, and we will continue to adapt. I am happy to say I am calling this week a success.