At our firm-wide retreat, #PeopleMatterMost

Spending time getting to know one another and bonding as a team is important to us, even when we can’t be in the same room. This year, we used technology to make our annual retreat happen virtually.

Our 2020 staff retreat looked a little different than in years past. After our guest speakers’ talks, we divided into breakout rooms for discussions, did an informal Q&A with the firm’s partners, and played games to get to know one another, all on Zoom (managed by Foo Dog Productions).

Even though this year’s retreat format was different, the content was just as focused on empowering our team to grow as people, not just as employees. We focused on self-care and teamwork, and on coming together as a team.

Dr. Patricia Fuller, director of Wellness Engineering at BKS Partners, spoke to our team about why stress affects us so profoundly and what we can do to manage it more effectively.

Here are some key takeaways from Dr. Fuller’s talk:

  1. When you feel stressed, your body is forced to shift away from long-term projects, such as growth, repair, and immunity, to short-term needs, such as respiration and circulation. When stress builds up, it literally makes us more unhealthy.
  2. In the short term, stress may increase effectiveness, but in the longer term, it decreases it. Think about the stress of an athlete. In a shorter race, a runner can sprint quickly over the finish line. But if she were to maintain that pace for a marathon, she would certainly be overtaxed and likely injured.
  3. A person who is “Type A” is likely to have difficulty relaxing. This is a recipe for burnout, not success. Dr. Fuller quoted John Berardi, author of “Change Maker,” saying: “All or nothing doesn’t usually get us all. It usually gets us nothing.”

To lighten the load, Dr. Fuller suggested thinking of yourself as an athlete — someone who needs to take special care to eat right, sleep well, and stay active.

Our other keynote speaker was Michael B. Ross, a principal at HBK High Performance. We are proud of how we’ve maintained our culture (even when we can’t be together in the office!), and Ross spoke to our team about continuing to find ways to effectively work together.

Here are some key takeaways:

  1. Cooperation is about working towards common goals and shared ideas, but it’s not always easy. The spirit of cooperation increases as we fight through hardships together.
  2. We succeed when we are intrinsically motivated, or motivated from within. Three intrinsic motivations are: personal progress, connection in relationships, and contributing to a cause bigger than yourself.
  3. Develop common goals. Ask where you want to be as a team a year from now. Then, with those goals in mind, step backwards to figure out where you would need to be six months from now, and then go further back to what you need to be doing in the next month.

At Spoor Bunch Franz, we are continually working to ensure that we are working toward a firm-wide goal or department objective while also helping our team members work toward their individual goals. Spending time together tends to lead to a renewed passion for the firm and the work we do, which we believe translates to continuing to provide our clients with excellent service.

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