The Magic of Being Together

After nearly three years of not physically meeting together, our whole company recently gathered at the Mission Bay Resort in San Diego.  What a wonderful time we had! Although our entire company meets regularly on Zoom, the leadership team felt it was important for all our associates from around the world to come together in person. We have a warm, inclusive culture at Blanchard, and we wanted to give people—especially our newly hired associates—a taste of that special culture with hugs, face-to-face conversations, and a dance party with an eighties band!

During a Zoom meeting last week, people wrote in the chat box, describing their experience of our Mission Bay gathering. Here are some of the words people used: Energizing, inspiring, uplifting, fantastic, ecstatic, unforgettable, exhilarating, epic, fun, fabulous, and awesome.

“What a huge morale booster,” one person commented. “Even as a wallflower non-dancer I had a blast!” Another person said, “How many companies have meetings like this, where we are all involved with growth, strategy, and transparency? We are all treated as owners here.”

Looking Back and Looking Ahead

I’m amazed when I think about the fact that we’ve been in business for 43 years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, less than 5 percent of businesses last for 40 years. From a financial standpoint, we have had one of the strongest years in the history of our company. This is remarkable, especially after the financial losses we suffered when the pandemic hit in 2020.

On a personal level, 2022 was a special year, as well. In October, Margie and I became great grandparents to Nora Hickok Budnick, the daughter of our granddaughter, Hannah, and her wife, Beth. Another fun highlight for me was playing a cameo role as a priest in “The Mulligan,” a movie based on my book with Wally Armstrong. Finally, my book with Randy Conley, Simple Truths of Leadership: 52 Ways to Be a Servant Leader and Build Trust, was released in 2022 and became the #1 bestseller for its publisher, Berrett-Koehler.

What were the highlights of your year? What did you learn? What brought you joy? These are questions that can help guide your plans for the coming year.

As 2022 comes to a close, I hope you’re enjoying the spirit of the season. No matter what holiday you celebrate, take time to reach out with love to the important people in your life. The more time goes on, the more important it is to keep your I-love-you’s up to date. So, pick up the phone and give those special people in your life a call. You’ll be glad you did—and so will they!