But will it make the boat go faster?

Posted on Fri 16 July 2010 in general

Yesterday I attended an all day away event with work. It was a combination of motivational speaking, team working exercises as well as management Q&A's and board level views. There was talk about vision and values. We had pretty much the entire company in the same place including the teams from South Africa and Malaysia.

I'm usually quite cynical about these sort of exercises, probably as a result of my experience with Marconi Communications fall from grace. However yesterday's event was genuinely exciting. The day was facilitated by Olympic rowing champion Ben Hunt-Davis who described the steps the coxed eights rowing team took over 2 years that lead to winning the gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Apart from it being an inspiring story he drew out a lot of lessons on how to get a team functioning well together even if they didn't all actually like each other.

Other sessions included the obligatory Great Egg Race type challenge as well as for me the most interesting "view from the board". While the company has been going for 10 years, all but the last 2 supported by VC cash it is now making money and growing. It was refreshing the board are committed to growth and taking advantage of the massive opportunity the current explosion in mobile data provides us. No one can predict the future with regards to IPOs or someone coming along with a suitably large bag of cash it was very much concentrate on growth and the field of options will only get wider.

After the day event we relocated to a cocktail bar in town where the free bar was serving themed cocktails and a fantastic band had most of the company funking out on the dance floor. It was a great informal occasion and a chance to chat amiably to people I don't tend to deal with on a day to day basis.

I came away from the day feeling pretty good about the company. Even after a horrific recession the company is still standing, achieving double digit growth, hiring new people* and most importantly exporting to the rest of the world. Who says the UK can't produce world class products the rest of the world wants to buy?

* if your interested let me know, recruitment bonuses are worthwhile, especially considering the fee's agencies can charge :-)