About half-way between Andover and Lincoln, we all converged to Towcester on 18th November and spent the day at the Whittlebury Hall Hotel and Spa adjacent to the Silverstone car-racing circuit. The vast majority of our colleagues and consultants were able to attend. Assembling all the employees from Wherwell, Lincoln and Hamburg, and most of the business consultants, a total of 36 of us attended the event.
The day was planned out in detail and included a presentation by our newly-appointed CEO, Justin Brooking, a business culture team-building seminar by Richard Gigg, the group’s strategy consultant, and some entertaining group activities organised by Kate.
Justin gave us an overview of the structure of the new company and shared the goal we should all endeavour to achieve: to be “Amazonian”. As the intermediary between the manufacturer and the end user, we need to excel at reducing the shipping problems, paperwork difficulties and delivery times. We should aim at becoming like Amazon for engine and marine spares.
Richard Gigg is a strategy consultant who has been working with and mentoring our middle and senior management for several years. Over the course of about two hours Richard guided us through some group work and encouraged us to freely express any criticism about our working environment and company culture. He then invited us to find the positives and build on these ideas to identify the three words that best describe the company we would like to become. After extensive discussion within the groups and between them, the final trio of attitudes we should work together to achieve were:
“What an enlightening and fun way to network with colleagues in other areas of our business! I really enjoyed Richard's seminar and group work. It was eye-opening to find that so many colleagues share the same ideas to improve our working environment and it's good to see a strong desire to achieve this together.”
We closed the working day with a set of more light-hearted activities which Kate expertly organised to get us to collaborate in groups while having a laugh. These included a quiz on business-related questions, a quiz on trivia about our colleagues, and a quiz on guessing who was portrayed in a selection of baby photos collected from a few colleagues. This last one turned out to be harder than everyone thought!
Dinner was served in a private room where the five tables were “carefully composed at random” by Kate. Being mixed again in different groups, with no colleagues from the same department/company, made for another opportunity to discover more about the people we rarely work with. The night carried on at the hotel bar among yet more chats, agility tests and card tricks, although some might remember very little of all this.
We used to get all the Group companies together at Christmas for a meal at our local pub, which made travelling from overseas a bit disruptive for some. This event was intentionally organised at a different time and on a wider scale, to count as the main Group get-together. Each company’s office Christmas-do will be more contained this year, but we’re looking forward to getting everyone together again next year for more motivational teamwork.
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