2%! That was the week’s objective! Gain a 2% increase in productivity by getting the whole company together for one week to kick the year off as a group and be aligned on the 2019 strategy.
But why would we want to do that, what does it mean and how do you achieve such a difficult to measure result?!
At Scality, we have close to 20 nationalities for a staff of 180,offices on 4 continents (US, Europe, Japan and Australia) and five major time zones to work with. Our employe esare seldom face-to-face with many of their peers, and interact mostly over emails, phone or video-conference. So how do you get such a diverse and widespread group aligned to a common strategy? Simple: you get them together for a week and you have fun!
This is exactly what we did. The whole company came together in Portugal for one week. On schedule was a mix of kick-off sessions, team building exercises, brainstorms over the annual strategy and how to implement it on an individual level, Q & A with the executive committee…and also a “speed dating” session, a Mario Kart tournament, a golf competition and a wine tour to list but a few.
This is how Christian from Technical Support got a standing ovation from the whole company for his outstanding support and dedication, how Emilio, our VP of Sales International led an exercise throughout the week on ensuring we meet our goals this year, or how Maziar from Marketing spent 3 hours with our CEO, Jerome, and a group of 13 trying to grasp the concepts of Lean Management.
This is also how Carly, our office manager in San Francisco, met Stephanie her counterpart in Paris, face-to-face for the first time, having worked ‘closely’ with her for the past 8 months. Also, how the Finance and Administration teams got together to streamline our onboarding process globally, how engineers from both the SF and the Paris offices were able to hear—all together—Giorgio, our CTO, give his vision for the year ahead, or how Juan, one of our US-based Sales Executives and Geraldine, his counterpart in France, were able to discuss use cases and best practices.
A whole week of hard work? Not quite! At Scality, we believe that knowing your peers outside of the working environment and creating great memories helps teamwork on a daily basis and builds understanding and a support network if and when times get harder. This is how on the last day of the week, everyone was offered a choice between a bike tour, a rope course, a wine tasting, a golf tournament or an olive oil tour. The teams spread in groups of up to 30 to share an activity together and get to know each other outside of the working mindset. As I don’t have the gift of ubiquity yet, I can only go by the photos that were shared and the feedback that was given and I can tell you, it was big smiles all around, giggles and amazing camaraderie.
By the time we all got back together for the closing ceremony on the Friday evening, everyone had had a chance to hear the 2019 strategy from our CEO himself, to discuss it within their teams and to understand how this would be translated into their day-to-day responsibilities. They had shared memorable moments with their peers and had a chance to meet face-to-face. We had fun (did I mention that we did all of this at a beautiful resort on the Southern coast of Portugal?)!
So how do we know whether the week was a success? How do we measure this 2% increase in productivity? Well the answer is it’s hard! Of course, we will be able to monitor progress on the projects launched during this week and measure productivity on these, but overall it’s hard! So really, it at the end of the day it is a bet that our CEO made, and a bold one, to be sure. I can only tell you that the vibe at the resort, at the airport on the way home and in the offices since coming back from this kickoff is indescribable: so much energy, so many chats and conversations going on, so many cross functional brainstorms, interdisciplinary workshops and people challenging their peers and the plan daily. I guess that the only results that will count at the end of the year—and especially as we are a startup—are the overall financial results, but I can tell you that the team that came back from Portugal is on track to making this year a massive success whilst having great fun along the way!
Do you want to be in next year’s picture? We’re hiring!