Are you giving your team time and space to reflect and learn from this year before you start planning for next year? Are you even planning for next year?
Ben and Sue detail their team's planning process (that's what the heck Plantopia is..), reflect on how it has evolved, and give their advice for how it can work on your team.
Click the player below to listen to this episode of Awsomology. You can also find us on Wistia or your favorite podcast app.
Some awesome (if a little bit heavy) recommendations:
Annnnd a picture of Sue's Dad's 1931 Model A
Awsomology S4 Ep10
Fri, Oct 28, 2022 2:32PM • 1:21:20
people, decision, planning, team, year, strategic planning, grief, talk, plan, idea, halloween, podcast, happen, thinking, bit, important, super, share, changed, activity
Ben Bauer, Sue Campbell
Sue Campbell 00:09
Hello and welcome fellow Awsomologists to Awsomology. I'm Sue.
Ben Bauer 00:13
And I'm Ben. And in this episode, we're gonna pull back the curtain a little to talk about the unique planning process that we call plantopia.
Sue Campbell 00:25
I am immediately-I realized- I'm going to screw your whole life up here. I realized before we even get into that, and yes, I know I prepared a script. I didn't put this in the script because I'm a monster-
Ben Bauer 00:37
It's your world, Sue.
Sue Campbell 00:38
Speaking of monsters, this is gonna release on Halloween.
Ben Bauer 00:41
Sue Campbell 00:42
So I thought before we jumped into it, I would ask you a non topic related question.
Ben Bauer 00:49
Hit me. I'm ready.
Sue Campbell 00:50
Tell me your fondest Halloween memory.
Ben Bauer 00:53
Man. Well, gosh, that's tough to beat. I mean, it's really tough to pick anything other than our son Charlie's first Halloween just because like, you know, they're cute is ever when you put him in, I think that we had, he had like a zip up sweatshirt that was like a lion sweatshirt and like the hood had like a mane that went around it and everything you know, so it wasn't a costume. It just, you know, it's like, Hey, you should be aligned, because this is really easy for us. And, and I think it was pretty cold that year. So it just like made sense to layer him up in that, you know, and he was, well, let's see. He would have been, yeah, he would have been about a year he was walking. But you know, like walking like a one year old does. I'm sure we pulled him around in a wagon or something. But so as much as this is my fondest memory, I can't remember the details very well, other than the fact that he was stinking cute. And you know, like so many other things with kids. When you do it with them for the first time or, you know, enjoy those life moments that they get to enjoy. You kind of get to relive them yourself, you know, so. So yeah, it's pretty tough to choose anything other than that. We're going to be doing Spider Man themed costumes this year, Charlie got the new Spider Man 2099 theme from the upcoming across the multiverse movie that's coming out in July of 2023 at your local movie theater. But we're super excited about it, actually. And he's pretty jacked about Spider Man. 2099. So Olive is going to be the spider pig from that. Yeah, right.
Sue Campbell 02:47
That is awesome.
Ben Bauer 02:48
Pretty awesome, right? Yeah. So, so yeah. I'm sure we'll be creating some more awesome memories when this one drops on Halloween.
Sue Campbell 02:56
Ben Bauer 02:57
Sue Campbell 02:58
Ben Bauer 02:58
How about you?
Sue Campbell 02:59
Yeah, no similar. I was really trying to think of knowing that I was prepared for this question. I was trying to think of a, like, a time from childhood. But really, the, the core memory that I have would be my middle child. First Halloween. Because I can't remember- what I distinctly remember is it was like 75 degrees that day. So it was this perfect. You know, and our oldest would have been Five? So he was finally at that age where he could really truck. Yeah, you know, so we could go stroller and then a guy really trucking along. And the weather was perfect. And it just was like, we walked miles and miles. And it was so good. So good to finally like, be in that that real kid trick or treating experience where he was walking up to the door and saying trick or treat and you know, doing the things instead of being dragged by me.
Ben Bauer 04:06
Yeah, that's cool. Yeah, it man with kids is just extra special for sure. And I guess on that note, and since we're on the topic of Halloween, because I lost-
Sue Campbell 04:15
Because why not?
Ben Bauer 04:16
Yeah, why not? Right. Another memory that- Maybe it is a little bit of a look into my personality or who I am. I distinctly remember the joy I got out of sorting the candy back in the day you come home with a pocket and then you like put all the things together and then you'd like start bargaining with your siblings. I'll give you these eight Smarties. If I get that one Snicker bar or whatever, right? So that was always really fun. And I've actually like Halloween and I have had a weird relationship. I remember loving it as a kid like dressing up and stuff and then probably when I hit about middle school or you know early high school or something, I was just like, you know, Too Cool For School. little dressing up was just weird or whatever, right? So I remember like for a while being like, yeah, Halloween, I don't care, whatever. But then my wife, she loves Halloween. So we've really like you know, we've not that we've gone all out every year, but we always dress up and do something with the kids, obviously, we're trying to provide the best experience for them. So I love Halloween now. And still love like sorting the candy. And this is a weird- another little weird Ben fun fact - I've recently found, gotten confirmation that my favorite part of carving pumpkins is the cutting the hole in the top and doing that as nicely and neatly as I can. So it sits just perfect. And being mindful of which way the stem curls and all of those things. And the scooping of the guts and the scraping needlessly clean, making a needlessly clean inside of a jack-o-lanter, and like scraping it nice and perfect. And getting all the last gooey, stringy stuff and making it just pristine in there. And then from there, I'm like, Okay, go ahead carve what you want, you know, like, like the actual carving of a jack lantern or face or whatever you're carving into it. Okay, I could do without that. As long as I could scrape out the inside.
Sue Campbell 06:18
As long as it's pristine.That's what matters.
Ben Bauer 06:20
I'm such a weirdo.
Sue Campbell 06:21
You know what you are? You're preaching to the choir there, brother, because that is my favorite. And I've never understood. You know, human beings, especially ones I created that don't get every last string do not have that pristine, perfect inside. What are we even doing?
Ben Bauer 06:42
They're the real monsters of Halloween. People that leave the stringiness inside the jack-o-lantern.
Sue Campbell 06:46
Right? You gotta make that just perfect and white.
Ben Bauer 06:50
Sue Campbell 06:50
Ben Bauer 06:51
Sue Campbell 06:51
Yeah, no, you nailed it.
Ben Bauer 06:53
Cool. All right. Well, I saw a woman do it with a blender. With a hand blender? Genius.
Sue Campbell 07:00
Ben Bauer 07:01
See, I like a good big metal spoon. That helps make it you know, I can dig into it a little bit, you know, get that extra layer off and keep it nice and smooth.
Sue Campbell 07:10
Ben Bauer 07:12
Yeah. So we should probably remind our guests what this podcast is about.
Sue Campbell 07:17
Ben Bauer 07:18
It's not about Halloween-
Sue Campbell 07:20
Even though it's happening on Halloween, it is about this process that we call Plantopia, and probably the first thing we should talk about is that name. And then we can dive into the what, why, how, here, there, whatever, from there. So why do we call it Plantopia? And can you even remember?
Ben Bauer 07:43
Yeah, great question. No, I can't remember. I mean, I remember as much as that, you know, we knew we wanted to do planning and we wanted it to feel different, at least and you know, be different than just gathering around the small, round table and looking at a calendar or something, right. You know, we wanted to be more than that. And so it starts with the name right. So let's make the name fun. And hopefully that trickles into what we're actually doing and stuff but I don't remember like, why plantopia over plan-a-palooza or whose idea it was or anything but also a great name for planning? Right?
Sue Campbell 08:18
It's funny you say that, because I was sitting here thinking like that, that really those are our go-to? Yes, it was either gonna be plantopia or plan-a-palooza.
Ben Bauer 08:25
Yeah, for sure. But hey, plantopia works. And it worked well, but, but yeah, I mean, yeah. Why? Why do we call it plantopia? I think it definitely is to just help set the mood for planning, which is important. But we're going to do it in a way that's a bit more creative, fun, engaging, and I suppose that's what we're here to talk about today is how and why we do that, right. Yeah.
Sue Campbell 08:50
Yeah. Well in future focused and thinking about ideal world and-
Ben Bauer 08:54
Sue Campbell 08:55
-Utopia is the other half of that word.
Ben Bauer 08:57
Sue Campbell 08:57
It just felt really, I think, really futuristic and cool.
Ben Bauer 09:02
And you know, that's probably why we didn't go with Plan-a-Palooza, because everybody probably just would have thought we were like having a kegger or something.
Sue Campbell 09:10
Yeah. You know, which, which Listen, maybe we are.
Ben Bauer 09:12
Nothin' wrong in that.
Sue Campbell 09:13
Ben Bauer 09:15
We want people to know that we're actually working.
Sue Campbell 09:16
Right. Right. Makes sense. Okay.
Ben Bauer 09:22
So anything else about the origin of Plantopia that you were hoping to recall or makeup?
Sue Campbell 09:29
Yeah, no, let's, let's just make up some of the good stuff here. I mean, I so we've been doing it. How long have you been here? Six years?
Ben Bauer 09:38
Six years. Yeah. And, yeah, I mean, pretty much every year maybe. I mean, I started in October, so we probably just did some different version of planning that first late fall early winter just to like get us set for right would have been 2017. But then, yeah, since then, though, for sure. We've been doing some version of plantopia.
Sue Campbell 10:01
Right, and the the scheduling is deliberately sort of in and around but before strategic planning and right-
Ben Bauer 10:14
Sue Campbell 10:14
Right around budget time
Ben Bauer 10:16
Admidst budget time, maybe slightly before if we can help it.
Sue Campbell 10:20
Yeah. Yeah. And deliberately trying to get sort of a jump on any other planning that's happening.
Ben Bauer 10:27
Right. Yeah. Yeah. And there's purpose to all that, right. Like the logical one is budgeting, right? Like, you know, let's get some big hairy ideas out there and planning or, you know, at least be aware of some things that have come to mind so that when we have to submit our budget, or that first draft budget, where, you know, we've maybe got some of those things that we've talked about included in there. And then I don't know, it just feels right to be first. And as far as you know, being out ahead of any other planning, you know, so that when we go into those other planning sessions, whether it's organizational wide strategic planning, or planning with another department to helping them build out their plan, we've got some ideas already rolling around in our head some things that we've talked about. So that we can say, Yeah, we thought of that first. I don't know why else do we want to be first? Right? I mean, it's more than that, for sure. But, but also, there is some value in saying like, Hey, we've talked about that already. So let's go. So yeah.
Sue Campbell 11:22
Yeah, well, I think, What's What's distinctive about what we do with Plantopia, which also, we should probably get into that and explain that, really, is this idea that it's a combination, it's not just strategic planning. It's not just budgeting, but it's all of that in consideration, and then thinking about, you know, what, what are the sandboxes we want to play? And what are the things we want to do as a marketing team? And if we know things we want to try, then it we can connect that to things other people want to do, you know, new ideas, new platforms, you know, those kinds of things?
Ben Bauer 12:05
Sue Campbell 12:05
And, you know, what, what do we want to commit to? For ourselves? Yeah, and, and agree on?
Ben Bauer 12:12
Right. Yeah. So I'd love to talk about how Plantopia is different than planning that you've done before. And you've held, you know, several different positions within the credit union. And, you know, your role has changed, and you've seen different departments and stuff. So we should definitely talk about that. Do you think it's helpful to talk and this is me asking, genuinely, I'm not saying this is what we should do right now. Do you think it would be helpful to talk about, like, what's different about plantopia? Or like how, what our vision for it was and is and how that's changed? Or start with your experience? And it's your call? You can answer that question however you want.
Sue Campbell 12:56
I am going to answer it in Pig Latin.
Ben Bauer 12:59
Sue Campbell 12:59
No, I'm not, that's way too hard. So yeah, let's talk about what it is first.
Ben Bauer 13:06
Sue Campbell 13:06
And then, yeah, then we can get to that poorly placed, but pre-scripted question.
Ben Bauer 13:13
Yeah. So let's talk a little bit about the different aspects of Plantopia, that might make it a bit different than traditional strategic planning, or that like, looking at a calendar scheduling out campaigns, you know, I guess that's another thing we should probably mention, for the sake of our listeners is, we're a marketing team. Right? So, you know, as we look at calendars and think about campaigns and stuff, like there is a scheduling aspect that we always have to be aware of similar I suppose to other departments where there's, you know, ebbs and flows of the seasons. And certain things just logically happened during different times of the year. But you know, in particular for us, when we have deliverables like creative and all that stuff, like we really need to be mindful of the calendar. But yeah, I think one thing that has made plantopia different and we've always, like, we've never done the same thing. We're always like, trying to do something different, or add a little extra magic sauce on but that stuff is the food that we ordered, not just, it's not the food that we ordered, but we you we try to do some kind of brain food sort of thing, right? Whether it's like an experience somewhere, like let's go and learn about this business and what they do and see their operation and maybe it's something marketing adjacent, maybe not, you know, kind of like an off site sort of adventure. Let's go see something that might inspire us, or at least warm up our brains a little bit, right. Sometimes it's something like that where we're interacting with another group and other organization, or it might just be an activity that we're doing during the day. S- same thing, same purpose right to either create some inspiration that we might not get by talking about precisely what we do, or. Or it might be something that just is a warm up for our mind.
Sue Campbell 15:14
Yes, all of that. And I think that really brings us different, a different flavor to what our expectations are for the day, because it makes- I always feel like those kinds of warm ups of brain food or offsite visits, really leave us open to possibilities in a different way. And especially knowing that we go into that deliberately to open up our little fertile brains. And be and be ready for the ideas that that brings you.
Ben Bauer 15:47
Sue Campbell 15:48
Ben Bauer 15:50
So because my long term memory is, I don't know. I don't know what animal in the animal kingdom has terrible long term memory, but I'll compare mine to that. Goldfish. Yeah. So all that I can recall off the top of my head at this moment is what we did, literally last week. Wow. Where we did that cool activity that I feel like you should talk about Can it or Stan it. It was really fun. And lay it out for folks and talk about the why, like, why would we spend time doing that?
Sue Campbell 16:25
So are we there already? Sure. We talked about Stan it or Can it?
Ben Bauer 16:28
I don't know am I jumping too far ahead? I don't know. Well, I mean, it's, it's an example of a thing that makes our planning different.
Sue Campbell 16:34
So yeah. So I made notes.
Ben Bauer 16:37
Yeah. So should I read the notes?
Sue Campbell 16:38
No, you don't have no, I'm saying - so what we did for this- and as I mentioned, it's a little bit different every year, we always try to make it off site that is a that's one commonality. The pandemic was a little bit different. We did it a little differently that way. But we were able to be back together and, and off site this year. And we broke our day out into four sections this time. And those sections were process, culture, output, and goals. And so we tried to start off each half of the day with something that would set us up for success moving into those sorts of ways of thinking and the things we're going to discuss. So afternoon was output, where we're talking about the projects that we did, why did we love them? Why did we not love some of the things we did. And we had this plan to look at the commonalities of the things that we really love to do and that were successful, or the things that we didn't love to do, and maybe weren't so successful. And spoilers, we found some things that lived right in the middle of that we love to do it, but it wasn't successful. So and then to finish off the day with goals. So we did a an exercise that we named Stan it or Can it. It was going to be the love it or leave it. But I did check with one of my professional youths on the team and said, I want to brand this Stan it or Can it. Is that lame? Or is that cool and clever? And Nick was kind enough to say it was cool and clever.
Ben Bauer 17:39
Nice, thanks, Nick.
Sue Campbell 18:19
I'm like, Thank you, professional, young person. So if you're listening to this, and you don't know what it means to Stan something, that means you're an obsessive fan of it, you really, really love it. And Can it just means get rid of it. So before we talked about the projects that were that we were going to either Stan or Can we did a game. Game? Game. You can't you couldn't lose it, which is our favorite kind of game. Where everybody got to write down some of their secret Stans there- things that they were big fans of that they thought other people weren't. And we put two of those on separate sheets of paper. And we lined the rest of the team up behind the person who was, who was sharing their secret Stan. And so we would turn around and show the group what the thing was, and then turn our backs to them and let them choose. We had Stan it on one side and Can it on the other up on the wall, so that people could line up where they were and gave everybody an opportunity to find out who liked some of the things -some of the weird things - we like, find out that we have some convincing to do maybe to like the things that we like. And let me think so some of the examples were pickled eggs,
Ben Bauer 19:52
Pickled eggs, lots of bad foods. Yeah, we did. We had a lot of odd foods, pickled eggs, pickled herring on crackers. On saltines specifically I remember. What else? Cannibal sandwich.
Sue Campbell 20:07
Cannibal sandwiches? It's all I can remember.
Ben Bauer 20:10
Yeah. Well, that's enough. Yeah. But and then TV shows and movies and a certain director that someone who co-host this podcast is major Stan. Yeah, Yeah, it's kind of weird actually like how, spoiler alert, it's Christopher Nolan. For some reason, it's like, I probably will never watch another Christopher Nolan movie and not love it. Because I'm just like that bias, which is probably not fair, I should be a little bit more critical. But I really have just loved like everything that he's put out recently. And going back actually, after knowing who he was, and knowing some of his earlier movies, I like them all. But anyways, that's for another, another episode.
Sue Campbell 20:52
That's the Christopher Nolan episode that we'll do later.
Ben Bauer 20:54
Yeah, but it was really fun and dual purpose, right? Like it warmed us up for the next thing we were going to do, which was Stan it or Can it for real stuff that we were doing as a team, we got to learn a little bit about each other learn, you know about some commonalities that we had amongst each other and everything. And it was just fun, right? And I think anytime that you're doing something like planning, which I don't know, its plan a four letter word, I know it's a four letter word, but is it a word that like people, when they hear it, they're like, oh, god planning? You know, actually, I should say, I was in another strategic planning organization or meeting with for another organization over the weekend, our local community foundation, and one of our board members compared strategic planning to a dental visit.
Sue Campbell 21:35
Ben Bauer 21:36
Right. Which, you know, his, the, the takeaway wasn't so much like, hate it dreaded. I'm in pain, you know, there's a drill or anything like that. But more like, you know, you maybe you do, like, dread it or put it off or not do it as often as you should, and those kinds of things, but every time you do it, you walk away with clean teeth feeling better, you know, and so there is something about planning that I think is like renewing, refreshing and stuff, but I think some people definitely dread it. I think folks like you, and I really like it. No to say that we don't put it off for planning a little late or, you know, anything like that. And I guess I'm certainly speaking for myself on that, but but I do look forward to it. And I always feel better afterwards. Whereas the dentist, not so much. I don't always look forward to I do I do like the idea of having clean teeth. But I that doesn't make me look forward to the visit? For sure.
Sue Campbell 22:29
Right. Right. Yeah, well, you know, I think there is something about and maybe it's not just our jobs. But certainly in our work, there's sort of a chaotic good to everything we do like work, everything's constantly in motion. And we're constantly moving, you know, hopefully moving forward, we're moving, separate little things forward all of the time, and to be able to stop for a day. Or like, in this case, this year, we'll do two days, to be able to stop for that time, and not be thinking about all of the 7 million things that need to be constantly moving forward at different stages, but to really think, big picture, look at the future. Think about the past and, you know, try and reconcile those two things and see how you can get you where you want to go. That's so that is like a dental visit?
Ben Bauer 23:27
Sue Campbell 23:28
-in a good way. That excites me so much. And I think also, you know, there's this thing in me the thing that makes me not able to participate in an appropriate manner in networking events, because, you know, the questions I have for people are not Oh, what do you do? You know, how, how long have y'all been in business? Or those things my questions- Well, you witnessed one of them- right? What's your karaoke song? If you go to karaoke? Right?
Ben Bauer 23:55
Why are you the way you are? She digs right in.
Sue Campbell 23:58
Yeah, yeah. How was your relationship with your dad? But, uh, you know, I'm always so much more interested in, like, the, the roots of things and the, you know, to get into a deep discussion about things. And when I have attended strategic planning that doesn't do that. Because I think we probably, you know, we've volunteered for and, you know, worked for other organizations in the past, and sometimes you go to a strategic planning, you know, like, we didn't really even talk about anything that we could change, we could fix, we could do better, we could improve. We just- people came in- sometimes people come in with anecdotal evidence, biases, you know, and they come in with their own agenda and say, Well, we're just going to increase everything 10% And then we're done with strategic planning, but that's not strategic planning. That's math.
Ben Bauer 25:00
Yeah. And let's be real who likes math? Right? Certainly not us. Probably the CPAs on the team. Yeah. So you mentioned, you know, some of the root causes of things and getting getting a little deeper. And, yeah, I think that's a nice segue into how ours has changed or different things that we've done over the years. And we've done you know, like one tool that you commonly see in strategic planning is a SWOT analysis, right. And we've had that play a role in our day, either by being like, a small activity that's contributing to the other information or activities that we're doing throughout the day. Or, you know, recently we've done a SWOT, and that's kind of been the structure that's like informed our whole day, you know, we really dive into each section of self strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats for people that maybe haven't done a SWOT analysis before. But so, you know, it's just one example of how ours has changed. And we're trying to do different things, every time that we think about what time topia looks like,
Sue Campbell 26:08
Yeah, what, you know, one of the things that I really like, and I think we should right now take credit for saying and say that this is deliberate. I don't know if this is deliberate. But I really feel like every time we go into planning for Plantopia, which also PS for anyone who is thinking, This sounds cool, I should do it, you have to plan for plan topia. It is with the intention of dealing with reality, right of dealing with so it's not this, you know, a template every year that we go through the exact same questions, or we talk about the same things, or it really has been a process of where are we at right now? And what does that mean, our planning should look like? And what are the things we need to talk about? What are the things that we think, are on people's minds? And, you know, what are we what maybe are some of the challenges or barriers were facing, that we need to dig into, and heal for this year? I felt like, you know, day number one, was, ended up being a much more personal sort of experience for everybody. And which, listen, I think we we respond to, we're responding to the team, the world the things that we need to do. And reverse if we reverse justify that, man, when can you find a better time than, you know, hopefully, coming out of a pandemic, you know, just really this time in the world to think about planning from a really personal place. Think about what some of the things we talked about improving processes, getting clarity around roles and responsibilities, talking about culture, you know, and when we talked about goals, we focused, we did a recap of some of our goals from last year, our team goals, but then we talked, we had a really good conversation about personal growth, instead of you know, jumping right to what do we think our goals as a department should be? So I really loved how personal this one was.
Ben Bauer 28:22
Yeah, no, no, I totally agree. And I think like, sure the timing of the pandemic, and everything is really logical, you know, the fact that we had to do was our last planning virtual-
Sue Campbell 28:32
Ben Bauer 28:35
So you know, I mean, just super logical opportunity for us to come together and look ahead. And to do that in person in a really personal way, I think is just really logical made sense for our team might not make sense for every team, but definitely made sense for ours. I think the other, like justification for doing at least the first session that we did is and the way that we did it, is for a couple of years there pre or early pandemic. So definitely before the pandemic, but also maybe that first year when COVID First, you know, hit the world. We worked we had some pretty like mechanical is the word I want to say I don't know if it's the right word, but we just had some stuff that we knew had to happen, right? A merger that was coming up, you know, some like projects or campaigns or goals that the organization had that there was a pretty clear role, how marketing would like fit into that. And so we had to kind of like come to our solutions with some preconceived notions or ideas or outcomes already in mind. So some of our plan, I think, was I don't want to say we were forced into it. Or maybe I do want to say that like, you know, there were just some plans that we had to make more or less out of necessity, and not so much out of personal drive things we cared about that inspire us that we'd like doing. So I think that planning this year really was a first opportunity to balance out some of what we experienced in the last couple of years, which was, like COVID forced on us. And when I say forced on us, like nobody else in the organization said, do your planning like this, or this is what your plan must look like. But we were just kind of like, yeah, forced into a bit. You know, of course, we sure, in hindsight, we could have maybe been more personal in our previous years planning or, you know, trying to have more fun, despite the circumstances and stuff. But I feel like we did what we needed to do with what we had available, you know, and now we've kind of created some that balance with getting back to in person and that personal experience. So, yeah. And since we've done Plantopia for five, six years now, and it's never been the same, it's going to change again next year, you know,
Sue Campbell 30:56
Right. Right. So we should have done this at minute five. But let's talk about what is it specifically, and then maybe dive into some of the specific stuff we talked about this year. And I think we we have an opportunity to tease something for next year that we're going to try here with the podcast. So exciting stuff.
Ben Bauer 31:23
Sue Campbell 31:24
So specifically, it is. Intentionally an off site experience. Through the pandemic, again, we had to go virtual, I guess, technically, we were off site all the time. So we were never on site. And we have it as it has evolved. And we should also talk about why it evolves.
Ben Bauer 31:51
Sue Campbell 31:51
We'll get there, we're gonna get it all.
Ben Bauer 31:53
Sue Campbell 31:53
It's a good time. As it has evolved, it has, every different piece of the day has changed every single time. And how we've handled it has changed every single time. But the things that stay constant are that it's an off site, we try to have the work, part of it, keep engaging, keep it fun, keep people interested, and then also have the brain food, part of it. And to really intentionally make it a good experience for people. We don't want people to dread this thing.
Ben Bauer 32:31
Sue Campbell 32:33
And I think, by and large, we've been successful in not making it something people dread, I think we've had people on the team that dreaded it in the past, but so I mean, that's what it is, it's a day, full day, I think. This is too many details. One year, it was four, half days, yeah. This year, our plan is, you know, we had day one, which was last week, and it was this big, wide open, expand your mind, sort of day, and then we will take what we got out of that day. And, you know, hone it down to plans and what all of that means and what we want to do and, and some of those things, like talking about those personal goals, those will go into coaching for next year. And we'll be talking about those all year long. So that's, that's my explanation of plantopia in a nutshell, right?
Ben Bauer 33:37
Yeah. And you've hit some of the constant some of the like, maybe we call them non negotiables. Like, we're always going to do something off site, we're always going to have some element of brain food. So some of those things have stayed consistent, even though you know, there's some variables there too, right. Some things that have changed, you know, besides like the format, the amount of time we dedicate to it, or if it's four half days, or one full day or two full days, you know, certainly we're, we've seen tinkered with the amount of time. And really, at the end of the day, that's just all about, like, how can we be most effective and we're doing it you know, if, if we need two full days, and to do those too close to each other means bringing people a bunch of stress and wondering how they're going to get their job done. Because they have to dedicate two full days to planning well, then maybe we need to try for half days, which is a thing that we tried and, you know, now we're back to, you know, more of a full dedicated day thing and pros and cons. Right. Another thing that has changed a bit is our like intentional interaction with other teams during planning, right, like, you know, I think one of the first years we did it, we set aside an hour maybe plus with every other department within the organization to kind of like back find and get their goals and, you know, talk about what they want to do next year and how we might fit into that are specific needs from us, right, just a good conversation to have with each team. And then we took all of that and brought it together with our own plans and made a, you know, made a plan out of that. And again, pros and cons, right? There were some things about that, that were great, like the opportunity to talk with every department head, and maybe some people on their team, you know, really valuable conversation there for sure. But really valuable most of the time, because I think that we also found and going back to how we maybe like to do this a bit on the earlier side, you know, ahead of strategic planning ahead of budget, or in the middle of budget is that some of the teams that we met with, like, hadn't really thought about next year? Quite much, you know, yet, you know, so, you know, maybe they've thought about it, but certainly had no formal plans, or were kind of like building the plane as they were flying it, you know, during that meeting with us, you know, so. So again, pros and cons there. You know, it was nice to have that conversation with everyone, but also like, I think we caught some people off guard and, and admittedly, too much information sometimes, like, you know, you're getting that kind of feedback from every single department to try and squeeze that into a plan that's specific enough to us and doable. It was really, really difficult, you know, so there's a sweet spot. And I don't know if we've yet found it, but we'll keep modifying.
Sue Campbell 36:23
Maybe this year, maybe this one, ya know, with that, those earlier ones where we were getting all of that feedback. Not only did we make ourselves a whole bunch of work, I think we ended up frustrating ourselves, because we went in hoping with the intention that people would be- if we gave them some, give them a little bit of groundwork to look at -gave them you know, couched all of that conversation for them, they'd come in ready. And that what they would say in that conversation would happen. And then when things didn't happen, or we had some people that said, no, no, nothing, nothing, nothing at all from us, and then had very, very many things.
Ben Bauer 37:15
Sue Campbell 37:16
I mean, it's, people get to ask for things. That's part of part of the way that we do our jobs. But yeah, we ended up creating, we created that frustration for ourselves.
Ben Bauer 37:30
Yeah, yep. Totally agree. Yeah. Any other big changes that are coming to mind that are worth sharing?
Sue Campbell 37:40
Man, I think the intention of it has always been the same, I think. Yeah, the scheduling roughly, right, roughly, has always been the same. And it really is one of those things. I you know, come to think of it. One of the points I wanted to make sure we talked about was this idea that it has changed every single year. And the reason I think it has changed every single year, besides that idea that we're responding to reality responding to what we need to do in the moment, is that this is one of those ideas that we know is good. And we are continuing to hone it. So it's something that hey, man, if you stick with something, right, and if you if you think it's a good idea, and can stick with it until you can make it work. Kudos to you. That I don't think I think that's something that not just people in marketing people across every industry think they have a good idea, probably do have a good idea. Try and implement it one way doesn't work that way, or there's wonkiness.
Ben Bauer 38:57
Sue Campbell 38:58
Because PS, you know, here we're talking about planning. We're talking about essentially a day of just people. And inherent in bringing people together is always going to be wonkiness. Yeah. So if you just if you say, Wow, that, you know, I was grumpy because the pop was warm. We're never going to do that again. Like you're not giving you're not working through to hone that thing until it's right, you know, doing the thing that you need to do.
Ben Bauer 39:31
Yeah, such a great point in that, like, you know, you can come up with a plan for what plan for the plan, right? Create activities give this off site brain food kind of experience. But, man, if you caught somebody, you know, the the week after their dog dies, like I mean, you know, that's might not have anything to do with the structure you built the plan that you're trying to create or the activities that you're doing and he caught somebody at the wrong time. Right. And so that's an interesting observation that we're kind of aware. I mean, I think we do our best to be, you know, this is empathy we're talking about, right, like being aware of, you know, what other people are seeing and experiencing and hearing. And, you know, sometimes it disrupts our plans, whether we're talking about planning for the year or how a campaign goes, or how it's something that we create is received, you know, like, lots of we should be used to it enough by now that, of course, like that shouldn't surprise me to hear you talk about that. But I think it's an important point to call out for sure.
Sue Campbell 40:35
Yeah. Well, if somehow, and we should talk about this more, as we talk about the next phase of this planning and what we do next year, somehow, this year, I think we managed to not fall into a trap that we fallen into before, which is rehashing a whole bunch of junk. Right? We there was something about the combination of conversations we had the things that we focused on, that we did not end up there was maybe one there were one or two projects where I but we put them in a place like they had that was the these are the things we would can.. So they had their place. And in the past. We have this recency bias, where, you know, if we start we have started the day with brainstorming, and and hey, man, I will take partial responsibility for every single year this happened. Somebody comes in, somebody comes in with a chip on their shoulder about something. And then all the rest of the day is like, oh, yeah, well but people do that thing. Right?
Ben Bauer 41:12
Sue Campbell 41:40
And we somehow this year, the combination of things we did we just steered right around that in a pretty clean way. So yeah, that was cool.
Ben Bauer 41:51
Yeah, that was definitely cool. And I think two contributing factors to how it went this year one, just the structure, right, like the Stan it or Can it activity was an opportunity to say, can it, and then let's move on to the next thing. So we didn't have to dive deep. We didn't have to gripe we didn't have to say, well, that's not going to work because, you know, insert reason or excuse or whatever. The other thing that I think I have to imagine helped was, how personal the day was right? Like the a lot of the day was about who we are as people and how we interact with each other. So like, you didn't have to get stuck on Well, this didn't work because that person this or you know, this didn't work because that thing wasn't on time or you know, whatever. It was just more like, let's acknowledge it, learn. And let's move forward. Because we're all like people that we just talked about, are trying to do the same thing care about each other care about the organization. And so yeah, and kudos to you for putting that together. Because I do think that that, like that structure, and the care behind the day is what made it go the way it did this year, for sure. I hope so nicely done.
Sue Campbell 43:00
Thanks. Yeah, I appreciate that. It was fun.
Ben Bauer 43:03
Two other things that are changes that come to mind that I think are just worth mentioning. One was, maybe it's only one change, I don't know, here we go. We used to just do like, either the like one day or two day things scheduled relatively close to each other, or we did like those pre meetings with departments. And then we wrapped all that up into our one Planning Day. And that was kind of it. I think we've always been a rather agile team. But being an agile marketing team is something we've given more attention to lately, we're learning and trying things and just trying to be more agile. And I think because of that, this year, we did mid year Plantopia, if you remember, right, so not to say that we had never like shifted plans previously or anything, but this was really I think the first time where we scheduled it, like we said, okay, like, we're gonna do like a big check in halfway through the year as a team and cut some stuff that needs to go shift some stuff that is new in our world and just kind of like, you know, check in and move forward. And through what we're doing through some other quarterly meetings and stuff that we've set up, you know, that's really helped us make like an intentional check in because like being agile and like constantly moving and shifting things around to do what's most important at the right time, and with the right people dedicated to it is great, but also like every now and then you can get caught up in that because your nose is an inch from the grindstone. And so it's important to also like, take a step back and say, Okay, are we still on the right track? Do we need to just do a quick temp check? So So yeah, those are I think the that's another big change is the more frequent planning and like that mindful check in as a result of that has been, I think, good and it'll probably continue to change or at least I will be more efficient as we keep calling.
Sue Campbell 45:03
Yeah. Another thing that comes to mind is, as you were talking about that, I think that contributed to really how we feel differently. You know, we talked to as we were planning it about, you know, sometimes we like we are really like, dragging ourselves into plantopia, and it is like us a year has kind of crushed us. Sure. And this year, I think we were excited about it. We were feeling good about what we knew all of that stuff. And feeling hopeful. And I think that that is partially, because we've been way more mindful about advocating for ourselves, advocating for what we do, advocating, you know, and encouraging the team, to, you know, if you're right, you're right. And like, with us to to say, you know, what, this is my opinion, but if you if that's your thing, and that's your responsibility to make that decision, and you're right. Don't let me stand in your way. You know, yeah. So I think having that level, you know, feeling that level of agency, and really focusing on things that you don't like, just thinking about the culture exercise that we did, and talking about culture, thinking about things that not only we want, in as we continue to build a culture around ourselves, but things that we can make practical steps towards, right and feeling really hopeful that, yeah, like, let's pick things that we actually have agency over, right, or that we are going to, you know, we we are going to advocate to the people we need to advocate to and say, Hey, we're going to take agency here, because this is what we need to be happy, healthy. And you want us to keep working. Right?
Ben Bauer 46:51
Right. Yeah, yeah, in for some of the stuff that we don't have agency for or over or, you know, the amount of control we have is on the lower end, you know, at least having a conversation and saying like, this is important enough to us, that's super valuable feedback that we need to share, you know, so and if we never make the space to talk about it, then it's certainly not going to go anywhere.
Sue Campbell 47:14
Ben Bauer 47:15
Sue Campbell 47:19
So how would we suggest that other people implement something like this?
Ben Bauer 47:26
My gosh, that's such a great question. Well, whether it's us or somebody else, like I think I've super valuable first step is like, talk to someone or let someone help you with it, you know,
Sue Campbell 47:38
What if what if they called us?
Ben Bauer 47:40
What if they called us? Then we would say we would love to help.
Then they can call us, so we can help them?
Ben Bauer 47:45
Yeah, right. Yeah. But yeah, I mean, I do think sometimes the outside perspective, or somebody to help hold you accountable, or, you know, give you the nudge to actually do the thing, because this, I hope that this all sounds good to some people, but you know, then it goes away, because you're on to the next thing in your day. And it's like I have that's the thing I wanted to change for this year. Well, let's just do what we did last year, you know, so. So I think accountability. And if that can't happen within having somebody help you with that, I think is an important first step. You know, I think another thing is, one way or another getting a pulse of your team, maybe getting some initial feedback from your team, like, what might be motivational to them? Is there something they're hoping to learn? What do they care about? So kind of doing, whether it's an actual activity or a survey or something, you know, doing something so that you are getting the voice of the people that are going to be participating in this thing being heard, you know, because if you just plan this day, kind of enrolled, or in a silo, you could totally miss the market, or at least, wind up spending time that isn't super effective. And I think that that's why we've made some of the changes we've made is, you know, we've looked back and said, Yeah, we can probably do that better. Meeting with each department is nice, but also is that the best use of our time, you know, etcetera, etcetera. So yeah, what else? What do you think?
Sue Campbell 49:18
I think, I think it's important to think about this, think about something like this planning as separate, but wrapped around and wrapped into budgeting and strategic plan. And I think, you know, thinking back to when we started this, maybe there was some concern that this was a little bit redundant for us to do our own planning, and then there's strategic planning and sure, etc, etc, etc. But I've never felt like it was redundant, right? Especially when because it gives us an opportunity to you know, really turn to everybody on the team and say like, what do you want? What do you want to do? What do you know? What are the big projects that you want to try? Or what's a new skill? That, oh, by the end of the year, you could have, because we will have tried something that helps you build it? Yeah. You know, and that's absolutely, you can't even measure the valuableness of that.
Ben Bauer 50:22
Sue Campbell 50:24
And to have to give everyone on the team the opportunity to say that out loud and then get supported. Yeah. And you might need to dig that out of some people, or it might not ever, totally come out or come out at all right. And I think that's something you got to be comfortable with, to at some, you know, there's, there's things you can do to make sure that everybody has a voice and everybody has to contribute. Sometimes that can feel super forced. But if you create the environment where the expectation is you have to share and they're actually doing that, where they feel welcomed to, and empowered to, or confident, you know, whatever. That's really important. But also, everybody's different, right? So like, you're not everyone's going to be the star contributor, that, you know, when you do the activity with the post it notes, you get 50 post it notes, like some people might give you a three, you know, whatever. But that's just either who they are, or like we were talking about earlier that circumstances around them have put them in a place where they're just not feeling it today, or whatever. Not to say that's an excuse, or anyone should feel left behind. Because we definitely want to try and make sure everyone's contributing, but also, like, you gotta be comfortable that it's going to be at all kinds of levels. Right. So right, well, and it was helpful for us. We already know that there are some people in the team who and you know what, none of them listen to this podcast. So we can say whatever.
Ben Bauer 51:49
You want to call them up? I mean..
Sue Campbell 51:52
We should. We'll include their pictures.
Ben Bauer 51:54
Sue Campbell 51:55
There are some people on our team that we know are more introverted, that we, you know, we are watching during meetings, because we know, you know, for whatever reason, something's going to come up that we know they have an opinion on. Yeah. But we have to draw it out for sure. So, you know, we were lucky that we go into it, because we work with them and do that thing. All the time.
Ben Bauer 52:19
Sue Campbell 52:20
You know, that we have that awareness. So you know, I guess that that is good advice. If you're thinking, if you're listening to this as an HR person, or a training person, or someone who is saying, oh, there's a team in my organization that should do this. And I think I would like to, I would like to present that for them. I wouldn't, you know, I would like to handle that for them, too. We, you know, we go in with innate awareness to these kinds of things. So that's something to be super mindful of.
Ben Bauer 52:47
Sue Campbell 52:47
Because exactly to your point to do it in a ham handed way, or when it's gonna make them uncomfortable, or, you know, something that's going to make them close down-
Ben Bauer 52:57
Sue Campbell 52:58
Can be really damaging.
Ben Bauer 52:59
Sue Campbell 52:59
To the trust.
Ben Bauer 53:00
Yeah. Yeah, with that person, and then they're put in a position that maybe show a side of them that they really aren't or that other people might experience and be their only experience with them, or what have you. And now that somebody's putting a bucket, right?
Sue Campbell 53:15
Ben Bauer 53:16
Yeah. Another thing that I think would be helpful for anyone wanting to get started, is get some permission, or maybe maybe a better word is buy in, right, because this is a time dedication, it's a resource dedication, and, you know, it's at least time but you know, you're also like maybe buying food or maybe renting a place, you know, paying a little bit of money to have a space or something. Of course, there's ways around that you can get super cheap food or you know, you can maybe find a place that will give it to you for free or super cheap, or even if it's just in your same facility, but just somewhere that you've never hang out or meet, you know, like, just go somewhere different. But, you know, sometimes there's a cost associated with that, or the food or, like I said, at the very least the time so you know, if there's someone that you know, needs to be aware of that, make sure that they know that you're doing it and not just for permission. So I'm actually like, really regretting that permission is the word that I use, but you know, buy it, like let them know why you're doing this and you know, the value that it will bring to your team. And at the end of the day, the whole organization, you know, and you know, then then you've got support from people that are going to wind up interacting with what the outcome is of your day, the plan or you know, the conversations that you've had, so don't hide it, don't hide, right that you do it because it's, yeah, important.
Sue Campbell 54:42
And also PS if you are willing to dedicate the time and capacity to do something like this with your team, and you're going into it with an open mind and empathy and you know this, you should be proud you're doing this for your team. You really, really should.
Ben Bauer 55:01
Sue Campbell 55:01
Because people, I think it's a common issue with employees that they don't feel heard. And that, you know, every time every time we do a survey, communication comes up, right. And so this one on one opportunity is, you know, it's really, really important, and it helps people to be heard if it's done well, right. And plan it, man, I think we have every year we've planned it a little tighter. And I think we are, we're just getting into that sweet spot where we know where the bumpers are in that lane.
Ben Bauer 55:45
Sue Campbell 55:45
Right. And you want to plan but with without being rigid.
Ben Bauer 55:53
Right, right. Planning to create an outcome. Right, right. Yeah.
Sue Campbell 55:57
Yeah. But to know, like, here's the time we need to use this, we're going to do these activities. We're not going to, we've definitely had sessions of this where, where we've spent a lot of time trying to pull information out if people are, I don't know, sort of poking at that same rotten tooth. Until we didn't even like it.
Ben Bauer 56:22
You shouldn't you really shouldn't use the tooth or dental analogy. It's not helping our cause.
Sue Campbell 56:26
No, no, no. Sorry.
Ben Bauer 56:28
I get you. I hear you. I hear you. Well, if I do say so myself, lots of great ideas there. Yeah, I'll get started. feeling really good. Pretty good. Yeah.
Sue Campbell 56:43
Yeah. So the one thing we did not talk about, which now we're running out of time, right? So we'll-
Ben Bauer 56:51
Rapid fire this. Let's go.
Sue Campbell 56:53
We're gonna rapid fire this, and we're going to talk about the oh, now I have to remember the name of it. What's, what did I call it? It's the decision matrix, we should talk a little bit about the decision matrix because that people don't know what but that's gonna.
Ben Bauer 57:07
Sue Campbell 57:08
That's gonna inform 2023.
Ben Bauer 57:10
Sue Campbell 57:11
Here on the podcast.
Ben Bauer 57:12
Sue Campbell 57:12
A little bit.
Ben Bauer 57:13
Yeah, we should. So yeah, I'll just, I'll kick us off, you can get into the details of what it is how we started that activity, and maybe what we plan to do with it, but I'll just say, like, common challenge, and I think any team, our team isn't huge. But it's also not like a two person team. But I think on any team, two person teams two hundred person team, there can be plenty of opportunity for confusion about who's you know, where's the buck stop, or whose decision is to make and, you know, we're, we usually find that the further down decisions are pushed, the more shared ownership there is, you know, amongst the team, and the more efficient the team runs, the more stuff they get done, as, you know, there's more decision makers that are truly accountable for things that, you know, contribute to the whole team by the decisions that they make. So we've experienced this challenge, where it's like, is this a Ben thing? Or a Sue thing? Or is this something I can just decide by myself, so to know that this was going to be part of our activity for that day to you know, kind of get to that? I was gonna say, root, but now I'm thinking I'm just only thinking of teeth and dental. But you know, to get to that, you know, clear answer of who's the decision maker who owns this thing? Or if they own the decision? Or not? What level? Do they need to be engaged? Do they just need to be aware? Or can these decisions to be made completely without them, you know, and so, really, really valuable stuff. Even if I don't think this will happen? I certainly hope it doesn't happen, because it'd be a bummer to look back at that activity as being wasted time. But the worst case scenario is we talk about these things, and we at least get a little clarity on what people care about or what they feel they should be making a decision on. A perfect scenario, right, is there's clearly decision makers accountable for certain things throughout the whole team. And so yeah, tell us more maybe structure and how to do it.
Sue Campbell 59:21
Yeah. So we, we stole this idea from a book. And I will link to it because now I can't right at this moment. I can't remember the name of it, which I should have written down. But it is this process to build an accountable team. And the idea behind it is that there there are very few or no really high performing teams that are not accountable teams. And accountable teams know what they're doing when they're doing it, who's responsible for it, and are able to it are able to self guide and are able to help each other and are able to talk about real issues and move things forward. And we, this is a process that we are going to work into over 2023 and beyond to try and get us to really feeling like we're an accountable team. There are a lot of moving parts to do it. And the very first one we chose to do was to look at this decision matrix. And, and it can't we know it can be confusing, because we have a team of six, and of the team of six. Two of us are leaders. And the whole creative team reports to me, which makes everything but obviously everything that happens on the team is Ben's responsibility, if we screw everything up the buck stops with him so. But it's not fair.
Ben Bauer 1:00:46
What if everything goes really well? Does it still stop-
Sue Campbell 1:00:50
There's possibility of that. Then Ben gets all the credit.
Ben Bauer 1:00:54
Yeah. Okay. Perfect. Yeah. Just wanted to be sure.
Sue Campbell 1:00:56
Yeah. So, you know, this is the thing that Ben and I have been working on, for, for now, like a little over a year. Because we had to, when I was promoted to oversee that team, we had to start dividing responsibility. And I had to take some, some of that stuff off of Ben's plate, and start making some of that makes sense, at least in our world. So what the decision matrix does is it takes all of the decisions that we do, ultimately, we haven't gotten there yet, you have to finish it. All of the decisions we make and like, down to pretty granular decisions, what we're going to post on social media, what are the pictures we use, you know, those everyday decisions, up to budgeting, hiring those really high level decisions, and puts them in black and white. And we're able to say, Who's responsible for those decisions. Of if it has not Ben or I that are responsible for the decisions, how involved we have to be. So you can rate yourself, rate your involvement on a four point scale. One being, that's my decision to make, and everybody else can go pedal your papers, to being it is someone else's decision to make. But you'll make it with my input three being, it is your decision to make, but I want to know you're making it and for being Do your thing, use the picture of the funny dog, I don't need any of that stuff. So it was really interesting and enlightening to me to see some of the things I you know, you don't really ever think about how many decisions people are making, and what is on their mind as far as decisions. So that was cool. Because we had the team bring all of the decisions they could think of. And some of them brought like hyper personal examples, some of them brought things that we're really, you know, company wide decisions. And we just listed them all out. And we talked and we put them on that matrix. And we talked about who owns them, some of them, you know, either Ben or Iown. And that's it. And that is the heavy, hang heavy hangs, the head that wears the crown. Others are team decisions. Others are, you know, we found a few that aren't even really our decisions, but they come out of our department. Right. So it, it was interesting to see it all in black and white, we have to continue building that matrix because we ran out of time. Yeah. And actually, after, after the day, I went look back, I page through the book again. And he says suggest you take three hours to do it. So that would explain why in that hour. We didn't get done. Yeah. But
Ben Bauer 1:03:55
Yeah, my favorite part about it was honestly some of the probably not the right word, smaller decisions that we make that for us to just go through the exercise and say, yeah, that is your decision to make, I don't even need to know about it, how that was simultaneously like a weight off of our shoulders, and also empowering to the person who gets to make the decision now, right? So like, both sides, like really win like, Oh, cool. I know, I can just make this decision now. And then others are like, free me of that thing. You know, not, not because you hate it or anything, but just like-
Sue Campbell 1:04:31
They take time.
Ben Bauer 1:04:33
Why- Why do this? Yeah, right. Exactly.
Sue Campbell 1:04:35
Right. Yeah. Yeah. So the interesting next step will be once we have it all worked out, get everything on there is to talk about the accountability behind those. Yeah. So you know, really to start to have what can be hard decisions, which is, you know, when something doesn't turn out the way that we want it to. And if we have said like that's your decision to make, make a good decision, make good choices. And it doesn't turn out the way we've expected. Well, that doesn't mean that decision reverts back to me.
Ben Bauer 1:05:07
Sue Campbell 1:05:08
Because you made a poor choice. That means you learn from each choice-
Ben Bauer 1:05:11
An opportunity to talk, coach.
Sue Campbell 1:05:13
Yeah, yeah, we keep to. We keep learning and growing. So-
Ben Bauer 1:05:16
Sue Campbell 1:05:17
Very cool. Very cool. It's something you'll hear more about.
Ben Bauer 1:05:20
Yeah. So speaking of that, we are very much running out of time.
Sue Campbell 1:05:24
We have ran out of time.
Ben Bauer 1:05:26
Yeah, we are. How about can you give the elevator pitch for what we want to shift for the podcast for next year? And that?
Sue Campbell 1:05:36
That's like a commitment.
Ben Bauer 1:05:37
Well, maybe tease it. And we'll we'll maybe use a first version of that episode to explain more dive in. Because honestly, we might need that.
Sue Campbell 1:05:48
Yeah. So here's the teaser for this. Building an accountable team is a process. And you don't go overnight, being a regular team that you think is high performing, until you look at some of the bad habits you have, or some of the things that you're not succeeding at, to suddenly being you know, the most highly accountable high performing team in the world. It there are a lot of habits you have to change. Some of them are very scary habits I already mentioned. You know, one of the things that accountable, highly accountable teams do is they deal with real issues together. So that is saying like if someone's not doing their job, that's the whole team. Being comfortable that we have a conversation that you're not doing your job together, it's not, you know, one coworker going to another coworker, and saying you should go talk to sue when they should, and tell her that this person should be doing that thing. That's that's not how an accountable team does it. So the decision matrix is a place to start. And there are a lot of other conversations we have to have. And what we are talking, what we're thinking we're going to do is we're going to expand, we're going to share some of that journey with our podcast listeners throughout the next year. And have special episodes. I'm so scared to say this out loud. I'm so- we're gonna- accountability. Okay, here we go. So we're gonna do, we're going to move from one episode a month at the end of the month to doing two episodes, one of those episodes early in the month, and we will have to tell you, when that will, we have to schedule those? Yep. We'll be all about building our accountable team. And we don't know, it's a new idea so we don't know what form it's going to take. We know we'll be talking about it. We know we'll be talking about our successes or challenges or barriers, things. But if you don't talk about the things you intend to do, especially if it's a good idea, right? You don't hold yourself responsible to do them. So that is how we're going to in public hold ourselves responsible.
Ben Bauer 1:07:12
It's Okay, do it. Yeah.
Sue Campbell 1:07:53
Sometimes I think we're a little too transparent.
Ben Bauer 1:07:55
This is good. Oh, it's good. Now our audience have been voluntold. To the accountability partners with us here.
Sue Campbell 1:08:05
Yeah, I love that.
Ben Bauer 1:08:06
And hopefully, see all seriousness will be on the journey with us, right? Maybe learning with us, maybe we'll be learning from them. Like saying, hey, that's the thing I tried. And here's how it went. So we'd love to hear some of that feedback, for sure. And yeah, like you said, we'll see what shape it takes exactly how things time out. But we've just committed to it. So let's do it. And I'm excited. It's gonna be good.
Sue Campbell 1:08:33
I think that'll be fun.
Ben Bauer 1:08:35
So more to come on that, we need to quickly shift into our closing segment where we share something awesome, which is our opportunity to share recommendations for things that happen, things we've heard, watched, experienced, et cetera, et cetera. And I will kick us off by sharing. Well, first off, kind of a double recommendation or double share here. I started listening to Smartless which is a long running podcast now with Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes just started listening to it like a couple of weeks ago, which one benefit to being well, one driving as much as I am nowadays and to being behind that really awesome podcast as you can just listen to it all the time. So I've been listening to it a bunch. So plug for that one. I absolutely love it. It's super hilarious, so much fun. And, but the one I actually want to talk about is something that I stumbled upon in listening to the Smartless episode where Anderson Cooper was the guest. And he, you know, you'd get to learn a lot of cool stuff about him and his family, which is absolutely unbelievable, and I knew none of it about his mother being a Vanderbilt and just this like fashion icon. Just unbelievable story that Anderson Cooper has that I knew nothing about. But he also talked a little bit about a new podcast that he was starting called all there is, which is all about grief. And actually, for some reason listened to an episode this morning, we're recording this on a Monday and I listened to it, like, while I was getting ready this morning, after most of the family had gotten out of the house, and it just, I don't know, grief is this weird thing that, you know, like we don't talk about or fully experienced as Americans, because we're like, afraid to talk about it and stuff. And it's weird and like, so I lost a brother in 2002. And, you know, my experience with grief around that has like, changed over the 20 years that he's been gone and will probably change until I die, right. But just hearing Anderson Cooper talk about his grief and his experience with the death of his dad when he was young, a brother when he was really young. And just some of the like similarities of like, these milestones and moments that happen in your life when something tragic happens, whether it's death of family, or you know, anything else that might put someone through the experience of grief. It was just really interesting to hear some of the similarities and like, oh, yeah, I totally experienced that thing, too. Or so like, one example is he talked about? Actually, no, I'm sorry. On that episode, he was talking with Stephen Colbert, who also has some interesting, previous experience with well, current experience, right with grief and losing some, he lost his dad and two brothers. Really, suddenly, everyone really young. And he talks about how life before that moment, is kind of difficult to remember, like, all of his memories are kind of like pieced together, like I kind of remember that part of my life or whatever. But it's just not a clear vivid memory. Like everything that's happened since then, you know, and so just really interesting, because I totally have that too. Like, I actually like kind of struggle through remember things that happened in high school in middle school and stuff in sure that was 20 years ago. So I'm sure that's part of it. But also, you know, there was this big thing that happened in my life that gave me a new perspective and awareness of my emotions and the world that I think has changed the way that my brain remembers things. You know, so just one experience that he shared that, you know, this is we're talking about grief here, which, like I say, we don't really like to talk about because it can make us cry and make us sad and stuff. But it's also like, super interesting. And just something that, you know, easier said than done, like we need to be comfortable with and like it needs to be a part of our life. It's part of the human experience. And so anyways, if you've experienced some grief, it's probably a podcast that you get some great value out of. And if you're a, I don't know, I don't even want to say lucky one. Because I think, like I said, grief is part of the human experience. But if you haven't experienced anything huge like that in your life, maybe listening to it to prepare you for when something does happen, because guess what, it's gonna, something's gonna happen in your life that's gonna just crush you. Maybe listening to the podcast, prepares you or at least gets you in a spot where you're willing and open to accept grief, because it's just an important part of life and being human. And it's, it's beautiful. That's the thing I think is it really is beautiful. But it takes some time and awareness to get to beauty with grief, as opposed to hating it, or drying it, you know. So I went way deeper on that, but I really wanted to, but all there is with Anderson Cooper will share a link. It's awesome.
Sue Campbell 1:13:50
Very good. Very good. Another thing, if, as long as we're thinking about this is that this was not the recommendation I planned. But just wait until you see how this all ties together. A book that I read over the summer, called The Orphaned Adult, if you are if you've lost a parent, or both parents, it was really eye opening for me. So I would definitely recommend that it's a super short read. But if you are still sort of working through that grief, it's a tough one. Okay, but yeah, but really, really good. The Orphaned Adult. I'll share a link to that and speaking and it really does. So. I usually try and recommend something that people can actually get involved in like a book or a podcast, but this time, I had just a very exciting moment, but it actually does relate to grief because my dad is has been a hobbyist with Model A Fords like my whole life, and I'm gonna keep it together here, I'm okay. So he has, he has three, he had three of them sitting in his garage, and in various different states of disrepair, and my mother passed away. And when she was sick she apparently they had a conversation. And she said, Whatever you do, you don't get rid of those cars. Right? But for- so she passed in March 2021. And for 18 months, he didn't touch them. And they were, I mean, and he has, he actually built a whole other part of his garage, so he would have room to have four cars in the garage. So they weren't really in the way. But yeah, he didn't, he didn't touch any of them for like 18 months. And one of them had been running, had some problems. He was frustrated, he was depressed. He didn't want to do anything with it. And finally, he started to have a little more interest in life, you know, things. He just started to get a little, like puttery with things. And we kept encouraging him. Work on the car work on the car, because the one was so close. Yeah, there was a problem with the rear end and the steering, and the radiator, but it was fully assembled. The other ones aren't fully assembled. And we finally convinced him because I think he I think he felt like number one. What's the point of anything? Number two, there were just enough things wrong with it. That once you start, he's just gonna get frustrated and depressed and not want to do it. Yeah. So we offered to buy him a new radiator. For Father's Day. I think it was. And PS radiators for new radiators for Model As? Very expensive. But and that ended up being backordered. We didn't have to buy it anyway. But that's not the point. The point is this. We we did we help them my brother and I and my husband helped him a little bit. Like taking the rear end off of a car is a little bit of a project. Yeah, he's 78 years old and yeah. And he puttered around with it all summer. And he finally you know, I, I gave him, we give, we give each other a lot of grief in our family. And one of the things I gave him started giving him grief about was that he always let my brother drive his cars. And I never got to drive one of his old cars. Now, I am a chaos goblin. I understand why when I was a teenager, he didn't let me drive his car either makes total sense to me. But I'm not a teenager anymore. And it was always like one of those things that I regret and I you know, for the last couple years is like Yeah, that's probably done. I'm not gonna get a chance because he's, the cars aren't gonna- it's not gonna work on him. Yeah. So on Saturday, he got that one- It's a 31 Ford touring incase you wondered -And he got the final things done on it. He put radiator fluid in it, he put gas in it, he started it out, there was a tiny little leak, which he fixed. Yeah. And I got to drive it Saturday, just to put it away to store it for the year because now we got it running now. It's too late to do anything. So that was that was a long journey to get to there. But that was my experience to get to. And they're super hard to drive. Compared to there's nothing about a
Ben Bauer 1:14:28
Got it. Is it like like no power steering or any -
Sue Campbell 1:19:02
No power steering. The brakes are ...casual.
Ben Bauer 1:19:07
So you got to like stand on them?
Sue Campbell 1:19:08
Yeah, you have to really stand on the brakes. The the pedals are different mountain that I see I drive standard transmission, my own cars standard transmission. So that I'm used to, though what I didn't know is that when you shift so this is a three speed when you shift, the transmissions are just made so differently. Every time you go into gear, it grinds the gear.
Ben Bauer 1:19:34
Sue Campbell 1:19:35
So every time was rrrrrrrhheeerggggeeeeerrrr..
Ben Bauer 1:19:41
Takes some getting used to.
Sue Campbell 1:19:44
But we topped out at 35 miles an hour.
Ben Bauer 1:19:47
Sue Campbell 1:19:48
I know. So-
Ben Bauer 1:19:50
Sue Campbell 1:19:51
That was my experience. It was great.
Ben Bauer 1:19:53
Yeah, super cool. That's That's great. So maybe we're gonna get like a picture or something.
Sue Campbell 1:19:58
I did take a picture before we put it away. So I can share that picture.
Ben Bauer 1:20:01
That'd be super cool.
Sue Campbell 1:20:01
It's a beautiful car.
Ben Bauer 1:20:03
Yeah. Awesome. Okay, well, friends, thanks for hanging in there. This was a long hour. But all good, we hope and really excited to see how this planning conversation and what we have in store for next year helps guide some new episodes into next year too. So yeah, stay tuned for all that.
Sue Campbell 1:20:27
And speaking of the picture that I'm going to share and some of the links we talked about, and information on the books, which I poorly remembered, we will share all of that. And you can get that wherever you get your favorite podcasts, because we hope that we are one of your favorite podcasts. So go to your podcast app, or you can always check out all of that information and a little blurb about every podcast and other things that we have going on right on our blog, and that is exclamation cuso.com/blog.
Ben Bauer 1:20:58
Very nice. Thank you Sue and thank you friends for tuning in. These are your self proclaimed professors of Awsomology. Ben and Sue reminding you that life's awesome. If you make it awesome. We'll see you next time.