How skiing as a team helps us reach our objectives

February 7th, 2019 Posted by alastair 0 comments on “How skiing as a team helps us reach our objectives”

written by alastair barlow [blog]

How skiing as a team helps us reach our objectives ⛷️

Read: 4 minutes

If you follow us on social media you’ve probably seen we recently came back from our annual flinder Takes The Piste! ski trip. It was pretty epic, as you can see from some of the pictures and videos.

Traditionalists may wonder why we take our team skiing.

Well, we do this for many reasons and believe there are many benefits to our approach to culture; some include:

  • Working as a team and bonding out of the office environment;
  • Breaking down barriers and strengthening relationships;
  • Seeing how people react under pressure;
  • Thanking the team in our own way whilst having an amazing time; and
  • Personal development – some have never skied before

You really can learn a lot about a person when you observe them for 5 days solid!


What does this have to do with reaching objectives?

Well, last month, I shared our approach to strategy-setting which is based on the OKR (Objectives & Key Results) methodology. If you missed it, you can read it here.

One of the points I mentioned was around ‘making sure everything in the business aligns’. Well, there are few areas more important than aligning the team with the strategy.

So, now for the other reason we go skiing together – to present, share and discuss our strategy with the team. One of the words I probably overused last week was ‘transparent’ (another was ‘data’ but that’s a story for another time). At flinder, we truly believe in transparency around what we are trying to achieve and how we intend to do that; we want everyone in the team to know, live and breathe our objectives and ultimately know what their role is in working towards them.

At the beginning of the week we spend a lot of time with the team walking them through it top down; from our mission to our 10 year vision to our 3 year objectives and to our near term 12 month objectives. We then distil these objectives down further by each of the functions in our business and map out what we see the key results as and some of the projects to get there. I did mean to say ‘some’ of the projects as some we purposely leave blank for the team’s input on. As well as being transparent, we also want to engage the team and enable them to feel more invested in working towards projects they have co-developed and believe in.

We also make sure the team has full access to this and everyone can see, not just what the business-wide objectives are but, what each function’s objectives are. This also includes project and initiatives to meet those objectives. This is fully open for everyone in the business to see at any point in time. This includes financial, service and people objectives, among others.

I’ve seen many businesses where teams can’t answer what the business objectives are and don’t know how their role contributes to this. I find this lacks trust, alignment and stalls momentum. Above all though, they aren’t engaged and feel like they have less purpose.

In the famous quote with JFK and the Janitor: President John F. Kennedy was visiting NASA headquarters for the first time in 1961. While touring the facility, he introduced himself to a janitor who was mopping the floor and asked him what he did at NASA.

“I’m helping put a man on the moon!”

The janitor got it. He understood the vision, and his part in it, and he had purpose.

My question to you is – does your entire team know, understand and embrace your mission, vision, 12 month objectives, functional objectives, projects to get there and individual objectives?

If not, it may be something worth thinking about…


As always, please give me feedback on Twitter and any other suggestions you may have.

Alastair – Chief Dreamer 💭


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3. flinder Takes The Piste!
Want to see the luxury chalet we stayed in during our ski trip? We recently shot an MTV Cribs styled video in the Alps.
Click here