Sometimes the elements around you signal that “things are about to change.”
Maybe it was the snow falling softly upon Chamonix the week of December 9th, 2019. Or it could very well have been the wide open spaces and pure mountain air.
But something about our 4th annual remote working trip in the French Alps took on a life of its own. Some of us leaving from Brussels International Airport even ran into Santa's elves for a most festive send-off.
It was my first remote working trip with the team.
I'd only heard tales about the previous ones, and watched the after-movies with curiosity. But being a part of one for the first time, I can say it firsthand:
There was no denying that we were on the verge of a new kind of personal and professional adventure, together (click to tweet).
Our Proxyclick team of 50—a certified "crowd" at this point—spent a whole week to reflect, regroup, and learn a few new things before we said farewell to 2019 and kicked off plans for 2020.
It was the perfect environment to get to know your colleagues, especially those who work remotely and live far away.
(📸: D. Willem | Full-Stack Developer | Proxyclick)
One thing was clear from the very beginning:
We would come out of this trip differently than when we arrived. In fact, we have no choice because we're poised to scale at an incredible trajectory.
Because it was in Chamonix that our CEO and Founder, Gregory Blondeau, shared some big news with us: We'd successfully secured our second round of funding. He even penned his biggest learnings in getting us here.
Armed with this news and his learnings, our week came together and manifested itself in several ways:
We all speak the same language now
The international business culture is deeply ingrained in our company culture with nearly 20 different world flags and languages between us.
🌎 🌍 🌏
But from Monday, December 9th, to Friday, December 13th, we all came together under one roof for quality time and critical thinking.
With the tremendous growth ahead of us in 2020, and knowing we can only make moments like these happen once a year, this year’s annual remote working trip was focused on making sure we're all speaking the same language.
We needed everyone from every department to have the same understanding of what's to come and how everything's measured—both in our expectations and business objectives. How else can we hold ourselves and others accountable?
(📸: G. Delobel | Head of Design | Proxyclick)
Thus followed dedicated keynotes and workshops led by our managers and colleagues alike, with the goal of being on the same page once the page was turned...
Our values mean more to us now
On the surface, we're just a bunch of enthusiastic SaaS-ers scaling at an alarming rate, but we're not machines. We're colleagues and caring humans, and we have real emotions.
Sometimes we even dress alike.
There's this saying: Go big or go home.
Well, we all agreed that before going "big" we should all be clear on our purpose and guiding values. One of the workshops at last year's remote working trip in Athens was focused on determining the core values that define “the Proxyclick way.”
So this year, we took it one step further and added more meat to them.
What resulted were more concrete guidelines:
You can find them on our jobs page, and see them practiced every day on any given day at Proxyclick.
As a matter of fact, if you're in the Brussels areas, then please do sign up for our 💗Speed Dating Recruitment Event💗on February 13th, 2020, and spend some real time with the team!
Open communication, more than ever
Our workshops this year centered around our enriched values.
We had the opportunity to apply them to real-life scenarios we encounter regularly at Proxyclick—both for business and interpersonal relationships.
These workshop became the starting point of many discussions, and we pulled no punches as we worked through Proxyclick values-oriented solutions for each "hypothetical" scenario.
Eventually, it opened the door to a one-of-a-kind session in the form of a fireside chat with our CEO Gregory. He extended an open Q&A invitation for everyone to attend and voice their questions and concerns.
(📸: J. Song | Content Marketing Lead | Proxyclick)
It's not every day or in every job that you get to have the undivided attention of your CEO. So it was indeed a highlight of the trip for many of us.
Learn from everyone
For five days, each and every one of us had a chance to share what was on our mind in person, to discuss wins and losses, and to progress on specific matters together as a group. With these rich discussions, we truly learned so much from each other outside of the simple emails or Slack messages we love to exchange.
We were also lucky to spend some time with Andy Cave—British mountaineer extraordinaire. He brought us up to the Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice), the largest glacier in France that happens to be in the Chamonix valley.
His own experiences paralleled ours in many ways: the challenges of aiming for the top, the risk and excitement that accompany such a feat, and balancing uncertainty with intuition to make decisions.
2020 and beyond
While 2019 was about preparing the tools we needed for success (e.g. tangible processes, concrete projects, strategic team structure, and measurable KPIs) and the concepts (e.g. our values for excellence as a team and in business, the ambitions of everyone involved, and internal discussions you have to make time and space for), 2020 will be about something I've always firmly believed in for a long time: This balance between technical skills and human "je-ne-sais-quoi" is the right equation for an enjoyable and successful business.
A company's success isn't just its revenue but the smiles behind the numbers. 😁😁😁 (click to tweet)