Each year we hold internal competitions to bolster team unity while promoting personal and professional growth in our employees. Team building activities have gone on for years, but this year our organization’s true nature has been shown. It is something that, as the CEO, has made me exceptionally proud to work alongside the individuals that make up this company.
We usually hold these competitions in person while we are all gathered together. In light of current events, our management team had to get a bit more creative and the 2020 Demo competition was born. We divided our organization into two groups, a key point for later in this blog, and provided them a list of use cases. The challenge sponsors spent an hour or so answering questions for both teams, and off they went. We will skip a bit forward in the timeline, omitting the nuances of solution implementation, and focus on the aspects that highlight the culture of this organization.
A few weeks had passed and you could see time spent on the challenge by both teams. Then something exciting happened. I received a meeting invite on my calendar titled “Demo Challenge: Llamas and the team formerly known as Donkeys on the Reg.” As you would expect, this caused me to raise my eyebrow and wonder what I was in store if I attended this meeting. So, I attended and experienced my first moment of ‘proud CEO.’ Even when split into two teams, they realized they needed to tackle the challenge collectively, not in silos, for the overall challenge to be a success.
This consolidation of the teams caused only one issue. How would we award a prize to the winning side if the entire organization was the team? We had recently sent out cookies and monogrammed LEGO® figures to each of our employees to remind them of how thankful we are for their commitment to this company, so we began to think of a way to approach the awards in this same manner. Then I received a message from our VP of Engagement stating that the team captains spoke to their teams and collectively agreed any potential funds spent rewarding them should be donated instead. I’m not going to lie. I teared up just a bit.
Our organization knows how I feel about education, the lack of funding afforded it, and the things we can do to make it better. I often speak of an organization called DonorsChoose.org, where both my family and our company donate to help support teachers in need. When speaking with the team captains, they made it very clear that the teams, as a whole, agreed that the winner of the 2020 Demo challenge should be the teachers in our community. I was speechless, which is not something I am accustomed to, and I believe I sat in that meeting for the next few minutes with a big smile on my face, proud to be associated with these people.
Though we had attempted to divide our teams, made mention of an award, which in fact no one had ever asked about, and pitted them against each other, they refused. But, they declined in the best way possible. As a unified team, they delivered a remarkable solution to the challenge. They grew both professionally and personally, and during times of uncertainty like these, that is priceless. After the hard work they put in, on their own time, they chose to donate any award funds to help teachers in need. That is what makes VectorX the organization it is today.
To wrap this up, I want to thank my employees for being who they are. You all are remarkable people, and as a group, there is nothing you cannot face head-on and tackle with grace. You are VectorX and it is an honor to work alongside you.
If you are looking for ways to help our teachers during this time of uncertainty and change, I encourage you to take a look at DonorsChoose.org. They are a phenomenal organization providing teachers a way to make ends meet when funding is not available. Every child should have the opportunity to learn in a safe environment with the tools needed for success. That is a little part we can play to help make that a reality.