This past Friday morning, the 120 “team members” of the consulting firm Vynamic, in Philadelphia were given a task: take two hours in the morning, when you’d normally be at work, to dare yourself to learn (or do) something new.
They did some pretty amazing things!
A few went to their first SoulCycle class. One woman learned to drive a backhoe. One young father drove his children to school for the first time. One organized a company basketball team. Another learned how to make a traditional Moroccan breakfast.
They reported in with pictures documenting their learning experiences and firsts and then gathered at a company summit, “Double Daring to Think Big”.
I was waiting to greet them and brought in by Vynamic to further inspire and motivate them with an “I Dare Me” keynote speech.
But, I was singing to the choir.
I had to ask, “What happened? How did you feel knowing you were going to do something new this morning?”
“Anyone annoyed?” I asked. A few nervous laughs. “It’s natural to feel a little annoyed if you have to skip your normal morning routine.”
One polled her eclectic friends asking them all “What can you teach me?” She opted for a lesson on precious metals. She was thrilled.
But this exercise isn’t exactly new for Vynamic.
The company encourages their team members to stretch, learn and dare themselves outside their comfort zone as often as possible. It’s embedded in their culture. Not a one day a thing. And twice a year they devote an entire day to play and learning called Summit Up.
The impact on employees is obvious. There’s little turnover in the company.
Over lunch, team members told me it’s like a dream to get into the organization that values their health and happiness. Their happiness produces more creative and productive ideas for their healthcare clients and providers..the Think Big part.
I’ve always wondered what would happen if “I Dare Me like” values and ideas were implemented in a company. What would it look like? Vynamic is the closest I’ve seen; beyond what I’d actually imagined.
I’m not sure how I didn’t know about Vynamic until a couple of months ago, but plenty of others have noticed. The company has been featured on the Today Show and HuffPo for their innovative “Life is Short, Work Healthier” mission.
Kudos to CEO Dan Calista’s vision and his amazing planning team including Jeff Dill, Sonja Rivera, Janet Binswanger, Bruno Stoekl, and Cara Delli Paoli.
By the way, I was just the double daring “appetizer”. The former Double Dare Nickelodeon host himself, Marc Summers, was a surprise treat bringing green slime, cream pies in the face and obstacle courses. (The crowd went wild!)
What would happen if you dared your organization, your co-workers, your employees to do something for the first time?
What would you learn about yourself and each other? Where would it take you next?
I’ll say what I said to the company that lovingly calls itself “Vynation”: I dare you. I double dare you.
All of the AMAZING photographs in this post were provided and are copyrighted by Susan Beard of Susan Beard Design. She does brilliant work and I can’t recommend her enough.