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Without Further Ado

authenticity connection experience Sep 27, 2023

Without Further Ado

I recently had an eye-opening and memorable experience at PepsiCo’s Life Science Global Retreat in Barcelona. I was fortunate to be in this magnificent city, at this global retreat, to help emcee and deliver a keynote, but before the traditional corporate conference component of the retreat commenced, we were granted a gift. The gift was a slightly adjusted agenda, allowing all of us to enjoy an excursion together, out and about, in the open air, before we all convened in the big conference ballroom to get our corporate retreat on.

At most corporate retreats, the morning of the first day starts with a quick coffee/snack, an exchange of pleasantries such as “good to see you in person”, “it’s been too long”, and “how was the flight?”, followed by a rush to the big ballroom, where we randomly – and yet somewhat strategically – grab the seat we’ll have for the next 3 days at one of the 12 round tables. With said seat claimed, we usually settle in for a day of intro’s, highlights, celebrations, keynotes, breakouts, house-keepings, report backs, and emcee transitions that include…“without further ado”.

This conference was different. Before the intros, before claiming a seat at the roundtables, before any further ado’s, the attendees were separated into groups and off we went, out and about, in the open air, to experience something new together with others. My team had the privilege to take part in the tour of Gaudi’s famous building, La Pedrera and I quickly learned this man was a genius and brilliant architect, artist, and visionary. I'm so thankful I was able to see his work up close and in person while having authentic conversations and getting to know a few of the members of my group.

This intentional gift/excursion/shared experience was an opportunity for these hard working, high performing industry leaders to be together, explore together, authentically connect together, while getting to know one another a bit better outside of typical daily business interactions. And this experience was made possible by the event coordinators, who were so welcoming and intentional in planning the various excursions, where we learned a bit about the art, the architecture, and the overall history and beauty of this extraordinary city... which all connected back to the conference theme of "The Power of the Past and the Force of the Future".

Acknowledging that not everyone can take their team to places like Barcelona, I still encourage leaders, teachers, coaches, presenters, and conference planners, to do our best - within our means – to slow things down, mix things up, and try to offer a fun and unique experience, before we dive into those keynotes, breakouts, brainstorms, and report backs.

If we can break up the traditional rhythm a bit and allow our staff, our students, our team, our audience, our attendees, some time and space to do unique things together, where they can go out with purpose, explore with wonder and learn something new together, once you get them back in that meeting room, classroom, locker room, conference room, you'll sense, you'll feel, and you'll see a much more alert, connected, and appreciative group.

Let’s do our best to arrive together, to that place, to that space, without diving into business right away, without forcing the connection with a strange warm up game, so we can all create and take part in eye-opening, memorable experiences… without further ado.


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