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Aug 29, 2017

Pictured Above: Doug Grimm (far left in the back row) turns on his out of office to enjoy a vacation with his church and break from the office.

Ways to Boost the Productivity of Your Team

I recently had a unique opportunity come my way. As a General Manager, you tend to think twice before taking periods of time away from work without access to email or phone. For me, I’m grateful to have full confidence in my team that everything could be handled if I was out of the office … so I can enjoy a break.

Out-of-Office Lessons

This past month I decided to chaperone a high school youth adventure trip for my church. We set out from Iowa via Amtrak for 26 hours to Montana. The 26 hour train ride allowed us an opportunity to really get to know each other (and you can really do that in a confined space)! We played cards, games, solved riddles and slept a little too. We arrived at camp a bit weary from the trip, but excited for the adventures to come. Every day I learned a lesson that I could apply to work, personal and life in general.


Day 1 Trust is critical.

We drove to the Koocanusa Lake Valley to go rock climbing and kayaking. After some excellent instruction from our rock climbing guide, the youth, chaperones and counselors began to climb. In climbing you have a climber and a belayer. The climber is the person going up the rock, and the belayer is the person on the ground “tethered” via rope to the climber, so if the climber stumbles on the rock, the belayer can hold them on the rock rather than falling. The belayer literally has the life of the climber in their hands. Talk about building trust in a hurry!!! I learned just how much trust you can have in someone… whether it be with your life (the extreme), or that you can leave the office behind without worrying.


Day 2 – To get to the top, we must help, encourage, and challenge each other.

We took part in more mental and physical challenging rock formations. Our group was great at providing help, encouragement and challenge to each other to bring the best out in all of us. Sometimes you can’t do it all alone – ask for help, or ask if you can help.

Day 3Slow down and take time to acknowledge the good in life.

We packed up our gear and headed north to kayak. This was a different adventure – it was not physically challenging, but the landscape was beautiful and serene. We kayaked across Lake Koocanusa, taking in all the beauty and little intricacies. It was amazing! We unpacked our gear, setup camp, swam, played on the beach and hiked to the Canadian border (a rickety barbed wire fence). The scenery was absolutely beautiful. Whether slowing down to take in your surrounds, or to celebrate a win – these are the things you will remember.

Day 4 Work together to overcome challenges.

We kayaked back, and took more time to admire the beauty that surrounded us. We also got a lesson and learned ways to rescue a flipped kayak. This is no easy task, but as a team, we know what to do in the case of an emergency and how to help each other.

Day 5 Rely on experts, their knowledge and experience.

White water rafting! Rafting was awesome. Thanks to our excellent guides, we made it through the class 4 rapids without losing anyone!!! We could have tried searching online for tips and being experts ourselves, but instead we trusted others. Sometimes it’s better to outsource to the experts and rely on them rather than experience the pain of doing it yourself.


Growth Opportunity for Everyone

When I reflect on the trip, more than anything - it was all about people.

It was a tremendous growth opportunity for me, the team from church, and the Collabrance team.

For the church team, it was an opportunity to meet new people and build relationships by working with them, understanding what makes them tick, and building trust. I saw unbelievable growth in the youth on the trip, the mental and physical challenges each person overcame. Whether it be rock climbing and overcoming a fear of heights, or not believing they were “strong enough,” or rafters not terribly confident in their swimming ability, they saw the challenge and overcame it. The look of accomplishment and joy on their faces was priceless! I am proud of each of them.

This trip wouldn’t have been possible unless I trusted the Collabrance team and our ability while I was out of the office. We build the business to run efficiently and staffed the team to ensure continuity. I left for Montana knowing everything was handled. The team at Collabrance continued to move business forward, knowing:

  • We have the right people in the right roles
  • We trust the team will make the necessary decisions
  • We have confidence in great outcomes

The Collabrance team also had challenges and difficulties to overcome in my absence, and each of them worked through issues that resulted in outstanding outcomes for us and our customers. It was an opportunity for team members to develop as well. Again, I am proud of each of them.

For my personal growth, this trip allowed me to step away from the day-to-day activity and stress, recharge the batteries and build even more trust in our team to make the decisions necessary to achieve great results. It also allowed me to think about the world and our business from a “bigger picture” mentality.

Build your business and develop your team so you can enjoy breaks.

The moral of my story is to encourage you to step away, take a breath, and recharge your batteries. You will celebrate the progress and growth you see in your people and the challenges they overcome. You will return refreshed with new views and ways to approach your business and teams.



Category: Personnel

About The Author

Doug Grimm

Doug Grimm, Vice President and General Manager, is responsible for the overall vision, including sales, marketing, operations, strategic leadership and financial performance. Prior to joining Collabrance in 2012 as the Senior Analyst, Doug started at GreatAmerica in 2002. Before working at GreatAmerica, he served in various finance and accounting roles for a publicly traded company in the telecommunications industry. Doug began his professional career with Arthur Andersen LLP. In his tenure with GreatAmerica, he has held various positions within the finance department, and also served as the Director of Sales in the Office Equipment Group. Doug earned his B.A. in Accounting from Luther College and was a Certified Public Accountant.


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