We’re taking the whole company to Lisbon, Portugal. Yes, 100+ team members at SDI are grabbing their passports and heading to Lisbon for 8 days. Why??? Well, I’d like to start a multi-part blog conversation to answer just that and to chronicle our adventure.
The genesis of the idea starts where all our ideas and cultural values begin: With our people.
At Search Discovery, our values aren’t just wall art—we work hard every day to demonstrate an ideology that promotes greatness. In fact, even our wall art seeks to demonstrate and challenge this commitment. Our goal is to show, not tell, our employees, our industry, our partners, anyone we do business with that we’re going places. Literally. We’re going to Lisbon. We’re going because we want to provide our people with every opportunity to grow, bond, and feel deeply proud of their work.
Our team, distributed across 19 states and 4 countries, is great and has embraced an ideology of greatness. At SDI we focus on teaching the benefits of planning, scheduling, and the value of deep work for optimum performance. We provide opportunities to do work at the cutting edge of the data industry. We ensure that our employees have enough time, support, and education to work and think creatively to solve rich problems that create positive change for our clients. This is both how we recruit and develop happy, loyal employees AND how we give clients innovative, standout services and products.
As a distributed workforce we have a competitive advantage of finding the most talented and ambitious people anywhere in the world, not just near our offices. But being distributed comes with its own unique set of challenges, most notably, maintaining our culture. Culture for a company like ours requires more education, more trust, creativity and honesty, more advanced technologies, better communication, elbow grease to keep the teams feeling close and connected—and, of course, lots of airlines miles.
One of the most important arrows in our culture-building quiver has been our bi-annual company on-sites. Twice a year we fly everyone to our main office in Atlanta, Georgia for a week of work, education, bonding, amazing meals, and some sort of big bash, like our annual lake party.
Here’s footage from SDI Summer Superweek 2017.
This year, as we considered the idea of cramming our growing company into our office one more time, we decided it was time to take our on-site to the next level. Not just because of space constraints or the fact that we could, but because we needed to keep pace with the company’s growth, the needs of our clients, and the need to continue to push ourselves intellectually as an organization.
As an avid adventure traveler with the belief that wealth should be spent collecting experiences, not things, I’ve noticed a couple of realities about travel that I’d love to share with our team. First, the more new places I engage with, the more new people I meet, the more unusual the experiences I collect—the more intelligent I get. Travel opens up new pathways in my thinking that I never knew existed. New places have a way of changing me. Once I incorporate the stories, landscapes, and culture of a new place, not only is my appreciation for that place and people enhanced, but my perspective on “home” changes, too. When I travel, I learn to see at least two places differently. These lessons can only enhance the intellectual capacities of our outstanding problem solvers, creative thinkers, and highly skilled professionals.
Second, I don’t know anything more humbling (Humility is one of the SDI Core Values) than walking about in the history, landscape, and culture of a different country. In an industry where our customers are global brands, we’ve become used to being anywhere anytime, digitally. But it’s important to remember that our world—though increasingly connected—is a big, complex, unique, diverse place, and our partners and customers across seas are individuals living in nuanced socio-political, historical, cultural moments that don’t always come through via email, Slack, and Zoom. Putting oneself into another culture bursts our own bubbles and reminds us that we are a part of, not the center of, a wide, vital world.
At Search Discovery, people are at the center of our enterprise. We appreciate our fantastic team. We value pioneering, intellectual pursuits, as well as humility, as core cultural concepts. We believe that enacting these values will help us think deeper and go further than all our competition.
As a company with an ideology that promotes greatness, we’re committed to giving individuals the time, support, and education they need to feel refreshed, free of stress, and ready to reach their potential to solve rich problems on the cutting edge of their field. We think that traveling together is a way to give our team an extraordinary professional and personal opportunity AND to showcase our commitment to our people and everyone we do business with, across the globe.
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.
Stay tuned for Part 2 – “Why Lisbon”