A couple weeks back I invited the leadership of the company over to my place for dinner. I wanted to show gratitude for the hard work they’ve done over the years, and remind them that they are appreciated. I seasoned a salmon with a variety of herbs and lime juice and placed it in the oven. I got the risotto and asparagus going as side dishes. Light jazz in the background, and wine front and center. We were going to dine in my home, followed by a campfire in my back courtyard, surrounded by plants and the open air that comes with a summer night, cooling from the heat of the day.
Here are the three things I learned from having my core team over for dinner:
ONE: We are humans with lives outside of work – Guess what, nobody lives to work. The most I can do is try to make work enjoyable, with meaningful projects and company initiatives that make a difference. But, my team has a life outside of work, which is just as important as the work they do for me. I want to honor that more.
TWO: Team building activities can be more fun – During our conversations, I learned of several activities that my team would like to do or try; everything from horseback riding to one of those breakout rooms where you have to solve all the clues together. These are activities that I never would’ve thought of for ways my team can bond and come together.
THREE: Let them talk – As the fire cracked and sizzled, and the wine poured freely, my team continued to talk and laugh into the night, no longer focused on topics of work but moreso on topics of life. I didn’t check my phone or check my watch, the time only marked the flames transforming into just the glow of warm embers. I had no big agenda or set list of topics for us. I just wanted it to be free form, whatever works works. And this nonchalant mindset is what I think kept everyone at ease (the wine probably also helped too).
In conclusion, I appreciated the quality time I got to spend here. And I want to continue to see my team members as completely as I can.