The KnE mid-year strategy day has become an integral Knowledge E tradition that occurs every year at the beginning of summer. The event is attended by KnE colleagues worldwide and is always a great opportunity to meet, catch up, get aligned, and keep connected. After having spent the past year in semi-isolation between social distancing and quarantining, you can only imagine how the whole KnE team was thirsting to reconnect at this fundamental level beyond business as usual. This year’s mid-year strategy day was truly long-awaited by many of us, and we are delighted that it was a success on more than one front.
Keeping an eye on the bigger picture
The list is long and endless when it comes to the fruits that organising such an event can bear, but perhaps one of its most essential benefits is that it allows each of us to take a step back and recalibrate our scope of vision to focus on the bigger image, the shared goals, and the organisational objectives for the current year and even beyond. As brief reports are shared, and as departments detail their accomplishments, challenges and, future plans, every colleague gets to relate to the daily professional journeys of others, therefore, deepening their comprehension of how their own daily responsibilities can promote, delay, facilitate and generally, affect their colleagues’ workflow.
One body, many limbs
Like most other organisations, a single project might require input from different department members; hence, seamless teamwork becomes central to the success of daily endeavours and to achieving goals. The tendency to become caught up in the details of our work is a universal one that almost every single professional faces at one point or another. For this very reason, listening and understanding the mediums in which other departments operate provides a much-needed backdrop and sometimes even purpose to our daily work. After all, no matter how many departments an organisation has, its clients, audience, and partners perceive it as one entity, and preserving this sense of uniformity and general understanding is a necessity that adds direction and fosters consistency among the entire body of colleagues.
The human element
As you might have suspected, an event like this also brings people together on a more individual and personal level. At KnE, we believe that personality and character traits are some of the most invaluable treasures ever-present in human beings. It is what builds uniquely creative dynamics between team members. As part of the mid-year strategy day, innovative and thought-provoking team-building activities encourage light, fun, and humorous rapport between colleagues, leading to powerful connections and sometimes cause unexpectedly deep conversations to surface. Sharing our professional and personal experiences was also a way that helped us appreciate our differences and marvel at our multicultural similarities. With an incredibly diverse team like KnE’s, the potential for cross-cultural exchange is limitless, especially with the record-breaking number of fresh talents that have joined the KnE family this year. In fact, these light-hearted conversations form a warm and nurturing milieu that allows new joiners to develop a sense of belonging – the first step to empowering and retaining talent.
Inclusivity, team spirit, and shared experiences
By sharing top-level company goals and objectives yearly, a company-wide sense of inclusivity is maintained. This inspired sentiment naturally aligns with our organisational values and promotes a culture of transparency and harmony. Acknowledgement is also an omnipresent theme of this day. As different departments list their victories (large or small), individual team members and teams are recognised for their roles in making these accomplishments a reality. Mentioning collective successes and giving credit to those who have contributed to making them happen also reinstates a team spirit and perhaps a mild sense of constructive competitiveness between departments. In turn, sharing experiences and lessons learned among co-workers also helps others tackle potential challenges before they become hurdles.
After every department had shared its updates and teams had bonded through various activities, a brief tonality workshop took place, engaging all co-workers through a creative survey. The workshop allowed everyone to communicate about our current brand identity, and particularly the tone of voice. The survey questioned all participants about possible visual, symbolic, branded, auditory, and elemental representations of Knowledge E. Though varied to a great extent, the responses began to accurately depict a more comprehensive concept of Knowledge E’s conceptual identity. What was exceptionally brilliant about the survey is that it allowed most of us to explain the rationale behind our selections. Many of us chose different answers for the exact same reasons at certain moments, while during other instances, we chose the same responses and gave completely different explanations. We gradually formed a web of mental associations that defined Knowledge E’s tonality by incorporating all our answers and the ideas behind them.
Golfing in the gulf
Once the long and exciting day was over at our office in Dubai, most of us headed out to play some golf, chat some more, and challenge one another. You’d think that by then the KnE team would be tired, but there was still plenty of energy and competition to go around, especially among those of us who took the sport rather seriously. Swinging a golf club, as some of us have learned, was not as simple or as easy as it looked; there was a whole science behind it. We ended up sharing amusing stories, experiences, and golfing tips for the remainder of the evening.
Staying updated about logistical and operational changes, becoming familiar with departmental initiatives, and being informed about new tools available to better manage content, resources and workflow all reflect well on the synergy among various workforces within the organisation. Our ability to communicate and admit our shortcomings, assess changes, and adapt to them are what make KnE agile in the fast-paced era of technological innovation. What makes all of this possible is harbouring and encouraging a culture of commitment, belonging, and transparency on our mid-year strategy day and routinely through our daily interactions and work.