What do you talk about after ten years?
A couple weeks ago Trek Travel held its year end meetings in Santa Barbara. At the close of our tenth year in business, nearly thirty guides and office staff gathered to recap the year, examine our processes, celebrate our successes, and brainstorm ways to further improve our product and our company as we move forward.
I have participated in our year-end meetings in each of the eight years I’ve guided with Trek Travel, and I will admit that some years are more productive than others. While I still believe that the 2011 meetings were the best we’ve ever had, this year’s meetings were great for a couple big reasons.
This is the first year that we have taken a really big picture approach to the meetings. Everything that was discussed was looked at from an overarching department level and how that affected the company on the whole. Gone was the bickering over the wording the reports we have to fill out at the end of the trip, replaced with discussions of changes we have made or have to make and how they relate to the culture and vision of the company for the future. For those of us who have been around for a while, it was a great reminder of what we’re trying to provide, and for those hired in the last year or two, it was an opportunity to understand the culture and goals of the company and how the decisions made by the office and the president of the company fit into that vision.
In stark contrast to 2011, when we had barely a dozen people at the meetings, this year we had better than half of the company in attendance at the meetings. It’s a pretty rare occasion that we all have the opportunity to get together in one place. Usually when we do it’s at a really busy time with a really packed schedule, either at return guide training in the spring or at the Tour de France. Even in those places, we don’t often all get together. Our fall meetings were an opportunity to get together, talk a little business, talk a little personal life, go for a ride, cook together, go to the beach, go out to dinner together, have a dance party, drink some beer (margaritas, wine, whiskey), and generally enjoy each other’s company. We had new guides in attendance, and we celebrated the guides who have been along for the ride for every one of our ten years. It was a great reminder that we work with an amazing and fun group of people. We all work for the same company, and we interact all year long, but our paths seldom intersect en masse.
This year’s meetings were an awesome reminder of the great group of people we have working together toward a goal of providing cycling vacations of a lifetime. Our smaller size over the years has allowed us to be much more selective about who we hire to work for Trek Travel, and this gathering was an amazing demonstration of the top notch group of people we’ve managed to hire – and more importantly retain. With this group we can continue to put forth a great product that we can all be excited about and proud of, but never truly satisfied with, as we’re all driven to make our product better than the day it was before.
It’s been fun to be a part of this company for the last eight years, and as we celebrate our first ten years in business, I look forward to what we can do in the next ten.