Hey; we went to New Orleans! This was our year-end / year-start BNB retreat. We have been aiming to do these 3x per year, as a way to build relational equity among the team and give us some dedicated time to do planning and vision setting. This was... good? fine? I need to poll the team after everyone's recovered.
We asked folks to come in Sunday night. I personally flew in Saturday, and caught a very good dinner and the first parade of Mardi Gras (The Joan of Arc, which was very different and much cooler than I expected). Sunday we convened for a fancy-ish dinner, and then a heritage jazz set at Preservation Hall. Preservation Hall was really great, I'm sure there's less disneyfied jazz to be had in New Orleans, but the musicians were legitimately good and I had a great time. But it definitely speaks to the power of branding: a tiny, inconvenient venue, with no amenities, does 3-4 shows / night at expensive prices. And we liked it! But the place probably prints cash.
Tuesday we toured the Ursuline convent north of the French Quarter, and had our 'looking back' meeting in the Bishop's Private Library. A storm was rolling in, so we got kicked out early, finished up at a cafe, and then had a great lunch at a seafood/cajun dive. Moved to a coffeeshop for the afternoon and did round-robin coworking on whatever projects were cooking. The big rainstorm started rolling in, and it was interesting to see how the city preps for that.
Dinner was a fancy seafood place off Bourbon street (delicious) and then after-hours drinks at a tall hotel bar. It was nice!
For our vision-setting for 2024, we didn't have anything really to announce or plan, so I think that part felt pretty flat. It's hard to communicate 'we did great in 2023 and we plan to do that again', and make it seem exciting. Maybe even harder after travel, and cold/rainy weather, and New Orleans style indulgence? IDK. We met at the WW2 museum - they have a private dining room - for a couple of hours. Then broke to tour the museum and disperse to our travel needs.
Many of us had travel delays coming back, so Wednesday was a recovery crapshoot. We're just getting back to the swing of things today!
Did the team have fun? I don't know. Are we closer as a team? I don't know. Are we on the same page for 2024? I think so. Are we freshly energized to do our work? Doesn't seem like it. Overall it did feel like a lot of travel / hassle / for a lukewarm experience; probably this will spark some discussion about ROI on these. We'll see.