Two weeks ago, 150 Phase2 employees—working across the US—came together in one place for P2Con (our annual two-day conference dedicated to celebrating our culture, aligning our activities, inspiring each other, and providing grassroots-learning and knowledge-sharing from across the company). This year, we again made it a destination trip, moving from the hustle of last year’s Big Easy to the restful mountain air of Park City, Utah.
It was a moment to look forward, and as we settle in to the momentum that comes with long-term growth, we need to lean into what will sustain us throughout the journey. Who do we need to be and what do we need to do in order to continue to grow, together, towards something truly great?
Simply put: we need to focus on “Being Here”—in Utah and thereafter. Being is an active state, and one that we take on together. At P2Con 2019, we took this time together to reflect on who we’re being each day, what we need to do together, and what we need to do on our own.
In case any of our clients (or family) are reading this and scratching their heads, let me first say that we make good use of our time while we’re together to truly provide first-class educational (and often entertaining) content.
As is our tradition, I kicked off the event with a keynote to deliver a clear and unifying vision and direction for the company, over the next five years. Getting this right is hard. Very hard. It requires a mix of setting current context (what we are doing right or wrong now) with an inspiring destination for the future (where we can agree we want to be in the future).
We then transitioned into a whole afternoon of TED-X style talks from employees across a diverse array of topics from rants like “HOW TO WRITE A GOOD EMAIL” and “THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF LOSING YOUR SHIT” to more serious topics like “DEALING WITH IMPOSTER SYNDROME” and “BECOMING A BETTER VERSION OF YOU”.
On day two, we had too many great session talks to choose from in each timeframe, but what made the cut were targeted directly at our daily work like “AS OUR CLIENTS GRAPPLE WITH PERSONALIZATION, YOU HAVE A CRITICAL PART TO PLAY”, “DRUPAL, VUE, AND YOU”, and “CONSTRUCTING A CREATIVE CRITIQUE (AKA, HOW TO GIVE GREAT FEEDBACK ON CREATIVE WORK)”. Some of the most helpful insightful content also came from the “softer side” with sessions about “EVERYTHING IS FEEDBACK, IF YOU ONLY LISTEN: CREATING A FEEDBACK CULTURE AT PHASE2” and a negotiating topic on “GAINING TRUST, INFLUENCING PEOPLE AND THE ART OF WIN-WIN NEGOTIATIONS”.
Overall I was blown away at how insightful, participatory and even interactive each session that I attended was.
One of the best experiences of the conference was a team challenge to design a carrier that would protect a single egg against breakage—when dropped and thrown from various heights and positions. Using the same set of arcane materials, teams competed for the best designs and bragging rights. Not surprisingly, engineers, designers, project managers and execs all wasted no time applying themselves to this challenge. But through the miracle of teamwork, we kept egos in check and everyone had fun.
The Great Outdoors
Park City was not only beautiful, but it also provided a full range of group activity options. Before we arrived, we asked team members to prioritize activities from a list that included: hiking, mountain biking, rafting, horseback riding, outdoor survival school, ATV riding, and a distillery tour. There was something for everyone and each activity had enough people to feel like it was unique.
What We Learned
It would be impossible to summarize what each individual got from our P2Con experience, but I believe everyone (at least) gained a better understanding of our colleagues and our shared values. Some of the more poignant takeaways overheard:
“I have a much greater appreciation for what the company and each department does.”
“I didn’t realize going into this, how many people we have focused on such different things and what they need from us to do their jobs well.”
“I can’t believe I work for a company that puts so much into making sure each person is learning new things.”
In the weeks and months that follow P2Con, the trick is always to take our new perspectives, motivation, and confidence back to our “day jobs.” We make this investment not for the immediate gratification of celebrating our successes, but more for the long term motivation it creates in each of us to continuously make Phase2 the best possible place to work.
If you are reading this and feeling inspired to work for or with Phase2, I encourage you to reach out to us and learn more.