Haven Staff Day

Haven staff retreat and planning zoom

Each year we take a day to have a great time together, thoughtfully plan for the next year, and celebrate our accomplishments.

The form is like this:
1. Day before fill out two sheets which are full of questions designed to make you think.
2. Day of go do something fun together , then plan for next year.
3. Later that evening celebrate with our families.

Let’s start with the two sheets we use to prep for staff day.

Sheet one is about your individual life and for your eyes only. It's a time for you to reflect on what's going on in your personal life and how behind you are at getting anywhere mentally/physically/spiritually/romantically.... Usually I end up crumpling this one and then smoothing it out and then taking deep breaths and then staring out the window for a while.

There’s a lot of boxes

There’s a lot of boxes

Sheet two is about working here. Same sort of reflection but all business, it's about how can we serve our customers better, how we can work more efficiently, what things worked, what projects we want to start etc. The sheet is laid out in that classic "SMART" form you know Specific...Measurable...Actionable... bla bla. Every company I've worked for has tried to force goal setting in this form with futile results so it's nice here that we mostly just use it as scratch paper for our ideas.

> > >

With this thinking time finished we met on retreat day and hopped in Sean's EV for an ice-cold ride to our destination. Sean had the heat off to keep all our senses really sharp and because using the heater decreased the the range we could travel. At times we breathed too much which fogged up the interior and so he rolled the windows down to make it even colder but defog stuff. I tried to breath as little as possible to maintain some warmth in the car.

First first order of business was some coffee. Americano for me, chai for Sean - childs temp, something mocha sprinkles for Amy, shots espresso for Brenda, and she brought her own mug. They gave me an extra paper cup under mine to cancel out Brenda's environmental attempt.

We traveled into Canada for some team building.

I really wanted a white helmet but the buckle wouldn’t stay buckled which I guess is important

I really wanted a white helmet but the buckle wouldn’t stay buckled which I guess is important


Well I guess we were really good kids because Sean-Santa took us Go Karting! I had my heart set on wearing a sweet racing jumpsuit which were available but the attendee warned me away from it by subtly saying she's seen the laundry room and would never wear one herself. fine.


Went down to the track and started our engines. It was so early there were just the four of us which made it pretty good. Sean set the tone of the first race by bumping me on a corner (although he claims I did this first). After that the gloves were off. The cars were so fast and the track was so wiggly that it was hard to avoid smashing the others on corners because I wanted to win so much. Everyone was sore the next day/hour.

Brenda took this photo because there’s not a “4” spot on the podium

Brenda took this photo because there’s not a “4” spot on the podium

It was so good.
It was so good.
It was so good.

Next we went to a cafe to eat and plan. Sean wanted to charge the car so we could make it home so he dropped us off so he could charge it and walk "a block or two" back. After waiting 45 minutes for him we started googling things and found that the charging station was at a Nissan dealership 3 kilometers away across an interstate. Here in USA we’re not as good with the metric system but I know that kilometers are closer to miles then to blocks. It was pouring rain so when he finally returned he was soaked but as always in good spirits. We ate some lunch and did some great planning together. I appreciated how collaborative the process was and how everyone was involved and heard. What resulted was a list of goals separated by quarter which we will work to implement.

Later that evening we met for dinner with everyone's respective partners at Bellingham Cider Company and enjoyed bowling afterwards.

That's how a Haven staff day goes. Pretty good. We're looking forward to this next year and all that it has in store. Best wishes to all for 2019!