Past Flourishment Sessions

September 2019: “CREATING WORK RHYTHMS THAT HELP YOUR TEAM TO FLOURISH, AND BECOME MORE PRODUCTIVE”with special guests, Mark Johnson & Paul Johnson, founders of Pathwright

Paul Johnson and Mark Johnson are the founders of Pathwright, a tech company right here in Greenville that is one of the leaders in providing online learning software. Their team is flourishing in some unique ways, and one of the reasons is that they have done a lot of thinking and innovating around the way they schedule projects, and the rhythms of work.

They shared with us the growth path of anything - whether it be a business, product, or even team culture. Moving from Functional, to Fun (and beautiful), to Fast (scalable). Additionally, they spoke of how they have had to think about stages of growth, from a team of two, to a team of several, to a “team of teams” and how each stage represents its own challenges. They shared lots of practical ideas for paying attention to rhythms and seasons, from SCRUM, to Pomodoro, to taking walking meetings as a team. They even pulled back the veil and shared their own secret to keeping their team from burning out on projects. Hint: it involves Pathways.

The collaboration time was some of the best we’ve had, and everyone walked away with a commitment to try their One Thing this month.

August 2019: "No one teaches you how to work well on a team"

Dr. Will Gray and Chris Cloud have been helping leadership teams get strong and healthy for more than a decade. They shared the good, the bad & the ugly of what they’ve seen. They provided an overview of the “5 Functions of a team” (the opposite of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team).

They included “10 Common Traps” that people face on a team:

  1. Terrified of making decisions as a team

  2. Don’t know how to make decisions as a team

  3. Dominator in Chief

  4. No forgiveness

  5. Defensiveness

  6. Attacking the person, not the idea

  7. Operating from different pages

  8. Cynicism

  9. Trash talk behind each other’s backs

  10. Misunderstanding that leadership comes naturally, and so does serving on a leadership team

They recommended solutions to each, and how you can take Jason Bourne baby steps on making progress on a team.

Multiple companies brought their entire leadership team, or part of their leadership team. The emphasis was on the workshop collaboration at the tables, where each individual identified areas where their own team could improve, and where would like to grow next as an individual team player. Everyone walked away with their key One Thing Commitment for the month. Remember, this is a Lunch and Do, not a “lunch and learn”!

July 2019: An interview with Equip Studio, who is turning the typical industry norms on their head, and people are flourishing as a result.

Sims Key is the President and a Partner in Equip Studio, a nationwide architectural firm that brings the stories of churches and businesses to life with architecture. He was joined by Elisa Sowell, one of Equip's newest hires. 

Architecture is one of those industries (like stock trading or healthcare) that is famous for burnout. 

But not Equip. The four partners behind Equip Studio started their company because they knew the culture of an architectural firm could be different. It could feel like . . . family.

We heard the story of how this company is turning established industry norms on their head, and bring your own questions for the Q&A part of the interview. Sims shared how the partners set out to start a different kind of company, one leading with values first rather than values last. One with a culture that people want to be a part of, where work-life wholeness is encouraged. Elise shared her experience of looking for searching for a company after graduate school, and what attracted her to Equip Studio.

As we always do, we took time for collaboration with fellow business leaders, and everyone walked away with a One Thing commitment to try this month. 

Sims Key, President of Equip Studio

Sims Key, President of Equip Studio

Elisa Sowell, Junior Project Manager // Associate AIA

Elisa Sowell, Junior Project Manager // Associate AIA

June 2019: an interview with Rick Hubbard, founder of the “Starbucks of Dhaka (Bangladesh)”

Rick Hubbard and his wife, Chris, founded North End Coffee Roasters in Bangladesh in 2011.

Bangladesh is the developing world, and not for the faint of heart. In spite of many obstacles, including one of the worst terrorist attacks in history that happened just down the street from where the Hubbards were living, North End Coffee has gone on to become the Starbucks of Dhaka, a city of over 17 million people. They currently have 230 employees, 9 shop locations, and supply coffee to 250 other shops & restaurants. They have also helped to start 50+ local coffee shops and trained over 400 baristas. They are also helping around 300 coffee farmers and their families to grow quality coffee and build their businesses.

Most importantly, Rick and Chris are building a flourishing organization with the gospel at the root. People are flourishing at North End in amazing and counter-cultural ways.

We were so inspired by Rick’s story, and all the lessons he is learning in the process. After the interview, we worked through a From/To statement: “moving from top-down leadership (authoritarian) to servant leadership (Christ-like, transformational)”. We collaborated at our tables, and discussed with our groups the implications of this shift in our own lives and organizations.

We then had a drawing for a bottle of Napa Valley wine - congratulations to this month’s winner Bernie Anderson who walked way with a fine Charles Krug Cabernet. Not coincidentally, Charles Krug is the older winery in Napa Valley that is still in operation.


May 2019: “how to raise up and unleash leaders who take ownership” with Tim Whitmire

We had our best group yet! Over 30 incredible leaders in Greenville joined us. Tim Whitmire, the co-founder of the largest free-fitness movement in the United States, and OKR consultant to one of the fastest growing tech-startups in the country, shared some key insights:

  • He shared his lessons from his time on the Harvard rowing team, about moving from “Orsman to Coxswain”

  • Must have a clear mission in order to row together.

  • Must have goals with metrics, and hold accountable to those (“Measure what Matters” by John Doerr, 2018).

  • “What’s love got to do with it?” - Tim shared how love is imperative to making any “boat” or organization go faster. There are two types of critical love in an organization: First, “Philia” (in Greek) which is affectionate regard, friendship, usually between equals, most famous expression is “brotherly love”. Second, “Storge” (in Greek) which is the natural empathy that parents feel for their children. It is also used to express the acceptance or endurance of certain situations or individuals. “Storge” love is absolutely critical to the success of an organization so we have to cultivate it.

  • During the workshop we collaborated on our own “OKR’s” (Objectives & Key Results) and developed our inidividual “One Thing” commitments for the month.


April 2019: “what are the core elements of a flourishing business?”

We heard the story of Pete Carroll, the legendary head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, and how he is building a flourishing organization that is completely different than the typical NFL organization. We then collaborated and workshopped out various elements of flourishing, and One Thing we can each take back to our organizations to implement. Some of the elements of flourishing are moving “from X to Y” such as:

  • From Immobile (lacking leadership/destiny) to Mobile

  • From Micromanagement to Empowerment

  • From “What Happened” to Proactive

  • From Stagnation to Fermentation

  • From Mediocrity (resting on laurels, status quo) to Excellence

  • From Management to Servant Leadership

  • From “My way or the highway” to Everyone has a voice

  • From Hiding & Manipulation to Transparency & Trust 

  • From meeting goals/deadlines to An environment of succeeding (not just managing tasks) 

  • From Success as measured primarily by revenue or size (wealth) to People are made in God’s image, and success is holistic 

We have also been working on a longer list of elements of a flourishing organization:

  • From competition to be crushed to competition to be celebrated because it makes us stronger

  • From short-term gains to long-term cultivation mindset

  • From Exploitation (of people and resources) to Investment mentality 

  • From Fortress mentality (personal kingdom) to building partnerships (seeking The Kingdom of Jesus)

  • From Fixed mindset (people don’t really change or grow) to a Growth mindset (we can all grow and should) 

  • From Scarcity mentality to Abundance mentality

  • From Profits over people, to People over profits 

  • From only looking at my corner of work, to considering other factors (such as environmental, political, sociological, cultural)

  • From values-last to values-first

  • From “Business as usual” to “Business as calling” 

  • From business for self to business to serve God & others (stewardship) 

  • From relationships for gain to relationships for love (love your neighbor)

  • From “giving is the exception” to “giving is the norm” 

  • From sacred & secular divided, to sacred & secular united (sacred infiltration) 

  • From copying the competition to leading and innovating

  • From mimicking or avoiding popular culture, to creating unique and intentional culture

  • From “driven by the winds of the market” to “driven by mission"

  • From risk-aversion to faith-driven risk

  • From disdain for this world, to engaged with this world

  • From bowling alone to accepting community

  • From Christian superiority to God can work through whomever He wants 

  • From anemic companies to healthy & flourishing organizations (health is the goal, not the byproduct) 

  • From cynicism to choosing to focus on what is redemptive and good 

  • From Transactional to Relational 

  • From hiding behind “professional” to genuine and authentic 

  • From top down leadership (authoritarian) to servant-leadership (Christ-like, transformational) 


March 2019: “how to build a better community through business”

Chris Cloud shared 2 powerful stories of companies he has worked with, who are literally changing the world through business as the platform, in Nepal and other places. Here are some of the takeaways from the discussion:

  • It can be easier for us to identify “needs” and challenges in another culture, then in our own back yard.

  • We spent time workshopping, “What are some of the challenges in the Upstate?”

  • We then turned those challenges into Opportunities and explored was that each of our organizations could make an impact on one or more area.


Flourishment March Presentation

Chris Cloud shared his heart for business as mission.



We had an incredible time collaborating on how we can each apply these principles from missional businesses, into our own organizations locally.


February 2019: Will Gray presented “how to win customers for life using the Ritz Carlton way”


We had a great time in February!

An incredible group of leaders gathered to meet and hear about the Ritz Carlton way of creating customers for life. The feedback we received was that the most exciting part was the collaborative/interactive part of the session, with actionable takeaways.


Wine Giveaway

Each month we give away a bottle of Napa Valley wine, as a reminder to each of us of how collaborating and sharing ideas and resources will make us and our organizations stronger if we show up with that intent.


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