May 26, 2017
I love it when I check for upcoming activities and see an “All Hands” event on the PointSource calendar. Said another way, I love it when I see a half-day work meeting on my schedule. And yet a third way, I love knowing that I’m spending hours listening to our Execs and hanging with my co-workers. This is not sarcasm.
Are you asking what’s wrong with me? I get your skepticism; believe me. I’ve worked at companies before (ok every company I’ve worked at before) where an All Hands meeting meant new rules, worse benefits, endless tirades on all the areas we should all improve upon or die trying… At PointSource, that’s nothing like what our All Hands are, but let me set the stage for you.
Scene: The day of First Quarter All Hands. A sunny Spring morning in NC. So early that not all the building lights are on yet at PointSource. Enter stage left – me. (I have no clue if I’m using these screenplay references correctly but I highly doubt Hollywood types are looking at me for their next big blockbuster.)
I digress… Stage left – me. I arrived at my desk to find a little note that read, “You are what makes these values come alive. Looking forward to celebrating a great first quarter at our All Hands today! #listentoyourweird”. Underneath the note was a custom notebook with PointSource’s six core values artistically designed on the cover. Now before you go thinking that I was being singled out for my awesomeness, I should disclose that every single employee got one – not just me.
Noon o’clock came. Vans were outside. Transportation was provided to and from our destination – Boxcar Bar & Arcade in Downtown Raleigh. I walked in. Crowd went wild. But nope.
We were all ushered in (minus the fanfare) to enjoy our catered lunch, two ticketed beverages and have a seat for the Executive presentation. We ate and we listened and then we were given a coveted bucket of golden tokens. Then, folks, then… We played. Pinball, skeeball, arcade games, air hockey… Oh, how we played! A company full of adults suddenly given permission to act like children. Glorious!
But… Remember when I said several of the Executives spoke on behalf of the company? Let’s circle back to that presentation. While the rest of the day was a blast, the true focal point of the day was this presentation. They told US what the company was making. They told US profits and goals. They told US we are doing a good job. In other words, the Executives were transparent.
As a company, transparency gives us buy-in. It makes each and every employee a stakeholder because it exposes the numbers that give us motivation to improve. We want those numbers to go up. We want the profits to increase. We want our goals to be met then exceeded each quarter. And we want all of those things because we now feel that this company is OURS too. And with its success, we can claim our own success.
The Harvard Business Review explained this quite concisely:
“It’s surprisingly easy to generate this kind of engagement among employees when you make the economics of the business come alive by sharing some key financial numbers. It’s an open-book approach: people begin to watch these indicators. Then they figure out how to move them in the right direction.”
Maybe this gives a little insight into why I love seeing my calendar with an All Hands on it. At PointSource, I get professional satisfaction, personal accomplishment and an afternoon of fun mixed with camaraderie during an All Hands. We do the hard work while still striving for balance so that at the end of the day we ALWAYS remember to laugh.