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Marketing Design Dispatch

Would you live with your workmates for a week?

Issue #116

Would you live with your workmates for a week, Reader?

I've just returned from a week in France for the ConvertKit team retreat, where more than 60 members of our remote team flew in to spend time together. If you're curious to know what goes on during an event like that, read on – in this issue I'm sharing:

  • A lowdown on the ConvertKit team retreat & what value I got from it
  • A book recommendation to inspire & motivate you
  • The replay of my Crafting a Personal Brand workshop

The ConvertKit team retreat

Twice a year, the ConvertKit team gets together in person. Not usually in a place quite as fancy as a chateau in France, but it was our ten year anniversary so we were celebrating!

As a fully-remote company (we don't have a 'head office' – or any office – anywhere), spending time together in person helps us to collaborate more effectively when we're back in our home-office's talking on Slack and Zoom. You truly do get to know people in a different way when you hang out with them during downtime, or chat to them over a meal or a glass of wine.

Our retreats include all-team sessions where we hear from our execs about the future of the company, breakout group discussions where we talk strategy and problem solving, individual team sessions where we dig into details with our direct teams, and team connection activities where we just hang out and have fun together.

I've been going to ConvertKit retreats for more than 6 years, and because I'm a manager now my retreat experience looks a little different. Instead of just being a retreat participant, I'm now responsible for planning sessions for the Brand Studio team.

Here's what we did during our three individual team sessions on this retreat:

  • Brand strategy checkin - After learning more about the future vision of ConvertKit in the all-team sessions, we all journaled on what changes we might need to make to our brand strategy so we can have the most impact possible on the company goals. This was a fairly casual session where we shared what came up for us in our journalling time and we distilled our thoughts from the sessions earlier in the week. It was a great chance to get on the same page!
  • Team culture checkin - As a company we're trying to build a culture of execution. We have a definition of this with 6 core pieces, so we did an exercise as a Brand Studio team to rate how we're performing in those 6 categories and write down ideas for things we should start, change or continue doing to performa at our best. This one took a little longer than expected, but it was time well spent as I was able to identify areas where we perhaps weren't aligned. We ended this session by making some commitments as a team for what we're going to do differently.
  • Brand scavenger hunt - After a week of intense strategy sessions and conversations, for our last individual team session we did something a little bit lighter and spent our time collecting examples of our brand touchpoints across the internet and identifying ways we could improve them based on everything we now knew about the future of ConvertKit. It was the perfect session to end on as everyone was a bit tired by this point, but we still ended up with some great action items.

Here's a few of my takeaways from this retreat:

  • Getting aligned in the same room is much easier than getting aligned on Zoom – We really needed to get on the same page as a Growth Leadership team this week (that's the team I'm on along with folks like our Director of Marketing, Director of Sales etc) after months of struggling to align on strategy. We ended up adding on several unscheduled sessions which meant hours more meeting time than originally planned, but it was well worth it because I feel so much more aligned with my fellow Growth Leads now than I did before the retreat. In-person is just better for big picture strategic discussions.
  • Planning the environment for productivity is important – For our first session as a Brand Studio team we met outside on a set of sofas on the terrace. The casual environment lent itself to a more casual conversation, but I knew that for our next session I wanted the team to be more focussed and more in 'work mode' so I booked us into one of the conference rooms. The more formal space led to a more structured session, which was just what we needed.
  • Get out of your bubble – Having been at the company for so long, I have really good friends on the team and it would have been easy to spend every meal time hanging out with them. Instead though I chose to sit at different tables every time to make sure I got to talk to people from across the company. It was great for relationship-building and for learning more about how folks on other teams are viewing our company goals and vision.

As an introvert, spending a week where I'm with my workmates 24/7 was pretty exhausting! But so worth it. I'm looking forward to the work we have ahead of us remotely for the next 6 months before we meet again in Mexico!

Need some motivation? Pre-order this book.

My friend and workmate Isa Adney recently finished writing The Little Book of Big Dreams and I was lucky enough to be given an advance copy.

I read it on the plane home from France this weekend and it left me feeling so inspired and motivated. It's filled with short stories about people who followed a spark and it reminded me why dreaming big and making plans to make those dreams come true is so important.

It will be released on November 7th, so pre-order it now for a reminder on why your dreams are important too.

Missed my personal brand workshop? Get the replay!

On Tuesday August 22nd I went live with a group of 70+ motivated creative professionals to teach them how to build strong personal brands that will help them reach their career goals.

The live chat and feedback I got after the event showed me that my personal brand framework really helps people get clarity over what they want to be known for. It's so fun to see sparks igniting as people unlock their understanding and get motivated to take action!

I will absolutely host this workshop again within the next 6 months, but why wait to get that clarity? You can purchase the replay of the Crafting a Personal Brand workshop to watch the recording on-demand and download the workbook. And as a bonus for buying now, I'll even give you free access to the next live version of the workshop!

If you were one of the live workshop attendees, thank you for being there! I'll be connecting you to your accountability matchmaking buddy later this week.

I'm feeling a mix of "LFG!!" motivation and "omg I'm so tired" overwhelm now that I'm home from the retreat. 😅 Work travel for the year isn't over for me yet. On Sunday I head to London to present a talk at a mastermind session and co-host a meet-up ConvertKit is organising for creators. If you're a London-based creator, you should come! Here's the details.

See you in the next issue,

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