Past Flourishment Sessions
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.
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.
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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