“Does running away from your problems count as exercise?”
One cool thing about having smart and witty friends (no, not all of them…) out in the virtualsocialfacesphere is that I can steal their smart and witty posts and use them as blog headlines. Thanks, Deb. My “friend” Deb is a wicked smart and beautiful lawyer out in San Francisco who I haven’t seen since college (and that’s a mighty long time), so I hope she doesn’t sue me, or worse, defriend me.
It’s also very cool to work with smart and witty people (no, not all of them…), and I do. I began writing this post Wednesday during a meeting with the management team of one of our services lines of business. For two days, we talked about the business and the opportunities to further help our customers as we plan for next fiscal year and beyond.
The meeting was in Newport, Rhode Island, a lovely place to meet, greet, eat, and tweet. When I hear about meetings like this held in a beautiful location, I’ll often joke and drop the “boondoggle” word. Of course, other people engage in boondoggles, not us. Yeah, we were in Newport, and it was beautiful, but there’s not much to see but each other when you’re in a conference room nine hours a day. That’s a good thing, though.
There’s a reason business meetings are planned off-site, often in beautiful locations. Being off-site in a different environment just naturally changes people’s perceptions. I believe that can help lead to enhanced creativity and strategic thinking. Wonderful ideas bounced around that conference room and people fed on them, often regurgitating even more creative thoughts. Oh, and while we all enjoyed a semi-respite from our day jobs in this creative nirvana, all the usual emails and phone calls were still crammed into everyone’s day.
To me, the most important benefit of the “boondoggle” is the relationship building. I don’t consider myself a “people person,” but I was strangely energized by the group. With several of the attendees, I evolved from recognizing a name to knowing the person, even just a little. With others, the growth was from knowing the person a little, to seeing a completely different side, and understanding one should always, “Err on the side of sangria.” Yeah, we had fun, but everyone worked very hard. Toward the end of our days, I’d hear things like “fried,” and my favorite, “I’m not doing math in my head right now.” My brain hurt, too, and it wasn’t from the sangria.