It’s that time of the year again. We have an annual event where we get together as a business and celebrate the successes and learning’s of individuals and the NZ subsidiary over last financial year, set back the dials to zero, and focus on what we need to achieve in the upcoming year. It’s the seventh ‘kick off’ event that I have participated in. Often friends and family ask what ‘kick off’ is all about, so I thought I’d share a high level overview. The theme and intention of this event is all about connecting with one another, as well as connecting as a team. If we are to be successful as a business, we need to focus on what the required outcomes are individually and as a team.
We often invite external speakers to come in and have a chat, this year we had some excellent ones.
Mark Ingles was our first speaker - Standing on the summit of Mount Everest had always been a childhood dream of Marks, a dream that he thought he had lost in 1982 when as a Search and Rescue Mountaineer in New Zealand’s majestic Mount Cook National Park, had a ‘hiccup’ in his climbing career, stuck in an ice cave dubbed ‘Middle Peak Hotel’ near the summit of Mount Cook for 14 days. As a result of that stay he lost both legs below the knees to frostbite. However, he went on to prove that the only thing stopping you from achieving something in life is yourself.
Bryan Wilshire, CEO of Lifeline, talked to us about the challenges they face as a non-profit organisation, educated us on the type of work they do, disturbing trends in New Zealand society, necessary training requirements, and how technology enables them to serve this country. I could relate a fair amount to this type of work, as my parents in-law are Salvation Army Officers and have dedicated most of their lives to serving/assisting those in need. It is kind of interesting at times, people in life don’t reflect enough on what is really important in my opinion, and should take the opportunity to look outside the box they live in. It’s easy to become self centred and inward focused; it’s a lot harder to think of others... I guess I parallel this a bit to when I was a child, we used to make fun, rather than expect our parents to "entertain" us, often the free things in life can provide the most enjoyment.
I’ve done some pretty naff team building exercises in the past, and I would have to say, this was one of the better ones I’ve done. Picture a very average day in Tauranga, drizzling rain, off and on, and a group of sixteen highly motivated and competitive teams getting stuck into each other. We had a round robin event where teams competed against each other in various outdoor pursuits and at the conclusion each team had to put together a bike and race it around a track before we donated them to Woman’s Refuge – My team ended up third. At the end it was persisting down with rain, however it didn’t slow the teams down!
Last night we had the annual “Stars in their Eyes” event. It’s always a hell of a night with such RAW talent. I enjoy the fact that Microsoft challenges us in our roles, encourages and provides opportunities for people to step up and challenge themselves while at the same time continues to localise and understand issues that face this country and give back in many, often subtle ways. Sure we are here to make money, but as a business and as individuals, we are also here to contribute to this country for the greater good.