At Phase2, it's tradition to bring everyone together once a year to reflect on the past 12 months, learn from each other, and celebrate with a little karaoke. Once upon a time, this event was no more than a few people eating pizza at my house, but we've come a long way since those days. This year at P2Con, all Phase2 team members gathered at Landsdowne Resort in Leesburg, VA, for three amazing days. The event centered around "Origin and Evolution" -- not only who we've been and where we came from, but where we'll go from here.
One of the best things about P2Con is the supportive and nurturing environment we create there. It is a safe space for people to not only be themselves, but extend themselves out of their comfort zones. I saw so many "coming of age moments" -- times when the shyest among us got up in front of the company to give fantastic TEDx Talks, when unlikely teammates organized a cross-discipline working session, or when a senior developer surprised us all by channeling Michael Jackson in the middle of a dance circle.
We were connecting on so many levels, and these types of connections bring infinitely more value to our interactions on a daily basis. As SVP Nicole Lind pointed out in an excellent talk, P2Con is an opportunity to tell each other how much we appreciate one another. It's also an opportunity to bring that supportive attitude back into our everyday.
Where Do We Go From Here?
In the days following P2Con, the trick is to take our new perspectives, motivation, and confidence back to our "day jobs." In keeping with the theme of "Origin and Evolution," I challenged the entire team to take their inspiration and turn it into action - in other words, to become the catalyst for future evolution.
Evolution starts at the individual level. Everyone - not only at Phase2, but on any team - can evolve personally. There is always something new to learn, whether it's a new technology, an alternative approach, or the background of an industry, client, or client's competitors. I truly hope that, as a takeaway from P2Con, individuals at Phase2 feel empowered to plan for the things they want to change, share their ideas, and build momentum - basically, to add value.
One of the most powerful expressions in the English language is "Yes, and..." This simple phrase can be a tool for strengthening communication, staying in the moment, alleviating conflict, facilitating exploration, and creating supportive environments. It is a starting point for honest, respect-based communication.
In the context of P2Con, "Yes, and..." is a way to translate the safe space we created at Landsdowne to our regular interactions, with each other and with our clients. It's a way to always be asking ourselves: "How can I add value?" Whether it's on our projects, inside our own teams, with clients, within our disciplines, in meetings, while recruiting, at community events... we can always be looking to add value. We can always be looking for ways to support each other in our evolution.