At the end of the year I seldom hear entrepreneurs and companies go beyond the evaluation of what needs to improve and setting goals for the future. Kristin and I wished for a deeper understanding of what happened in the first year of Go Mad and here is what we did. (wink wink: it's a simple exercise you can do with your team, yourself, even with your life partner. All you need are post-its, pens and an hour of your time.)
We invited our dear friend Wieneke from Do Love Design (an awesome branding company) to guide us through a session to help us understand what Go Mad is becoming. We can feel it is its own organism with its own unique character and we wished to acknowledge what this toddler of a company is trying to communicate to us.
Wieneke challenged us with a tough reflection. We took postits, one color for Go Mad and then Kristin one and me another.
The instructions were the following:
-On Go Mad color write the pivotal moments that shaped the company to what it is today.
-On your own color post-its write the moments when you think you shined and contributed with your talents. Where you felt you were completely free to be who you are.
When we were done, Wieneke invited us to present the moments to each other post-it by post-it. The feeling of connectedness I felt to the company and also to Kristin during that sharing was simply magical for me. Almost cathartic. I want to share some of that magic with you here.
One of the post-its Kristin put on the Go Mad line was about Laura leaving. It was a pivotal moment when we decided to take Go Mad further with the two of us and started thinking what dreams we have for this company. And here it is - Go Mad is determined to change the face of how business is done today. We wish for people to work feeling free to use their talents and passions. Training people in different ways of working became our main focus.
One of the post-its I put on the chart was the talk we had about taking holidays. Yes, you read right. I knew I needed to go abroad for a longer time and Kristin couldn’t understand my need for rest. Being persistent in finding out what really was underneath that resistance of hers, we discovered that she wasn’t really sure what her way of doing leadership looked like for her when I am off to India (so yesss, I booked my ticket).
In this moment simply acknowledging her doubts and fears was what was needed.
Another post-it that told about a crucial moment for us as a team was when Kristin gathered the courage to tell me that she misses me as a friend. That I was getting “very businessy” and that the only genuine connecting moments we had were at our check ins. It was a slap in the face and I am so extremely grateful for her honesty and willingness to connect to me on such a vulnerable level.
That helped me to realize a pattern of “I need to get things done no matter what” attitude I picked somewhere along the way. But the friendship with her is so important to me I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to work in a company where being friends can cohabit with business partnership.
After that we decide to have “dates” for ourselves. Going to yoga (scheduled in 2 days, yess) or to a restaurant together. Having a walk and talking about guys and fashion :)
Now why am I sharing these moments? Because I deeply believe we cannot go on without acknowledging and celebrating our achievements no matter how small they may seem. And this year was a grand one for Go Mad.
- started the company in May
- delivered our trainings and other programs to over 200 people
- went to Lithuania to speak on a conference for social entrepreneurship
- built sustainable partnerships with Knowmads and The Hub Rotterdam
- applied for 2 EU international projects
- and had fun doing it
We could not have done it without you! We are proud of our tribe and love to see it growing as we speak.
So as you do your own reflection and evaluation for 2014 we challenge you to acknowledge and celebrate all the highs and lows of your business or year. They're now part of your (business) DNA and they'll help shape all the awesome madness coming your way in 2015.
Love and madness!
Neža and Kristin, Go Mad team