Anyone who has been to the Enliven office knows it’s far from the typical setup. With custom murals, work ‘pods’, and tons of foliage, it’s a cool place to come into every morning. Even so, the Enliven team enjoyed a break from the office during our 2017 Strategy Retreat in beautiful Pomona, Illinois.
We stayed in a stunning converted barn, surrounded by woods. Throughout the week-long retreat, we rotated between walking in the woods, team-building activities, and strategic business planning to get excited and organized for 2017. Our whole team was able to make it (which is kind of a rarity, with Chris and Mike working remotely), so we really got a nice blend of ideas and outlooks.
We enjoyed hiking around in the surprisingly pleasant warm weather. Ian, our in-house hiking expert, and Chris, our survivalist, lead the expedition and took us a bit off the beaten path to some really cool spots.
While hiking, we made some beautiful discoveries like this Pomona natural bridge, as well as several waterfalls and caverns.
We ate well during our retreat, sometimes going out to local breweries or restaurants and others cooking at the house. We ate especially well with Mike in the kitchen - who knew we had a chef on our team?
And we managed to fit in some work, too. This was my first time seeing the whole team in action, and it was an impressive display. A single question would sometimes spark side conversations and debates, and others, several seconds of thoughtful silence. Decisions were made quickly and purposefully, and without ceremony it was on to the next challenge (or dinner, depending). There was no apparent hierarchy within our conversations; everyone was encouraged to speak freely with no single person structuring the conversation. With my corporate background, it was by far the most respectful and productive way I’ve seen a team work to launch a new project. And as the newest member of the team, it absolutely demonstrated to me the commitment our founders have to the company, to innovation, and to us.
This retreat is an absolute reflection of the Enliven culture - we work closely together to get a complete picture of an idea, rather than sectioning off into ‘tech’ vs ‘marketing’ vs ‘whatever’. The change of scenery allowed us to connect better as a team, with opportunities to collaborate in a different way than you typically do in an office. The benefits of a retreat like this are tenfold - we fit in hundreds of hours of work into a short week, and came back the next week refreshed, rather than exhausted, from our progress.
We look forward to the changes and adventures 2017 will bring!