What has The Book of Mormon got to do with us?
Well, nothing really. Except that we had a terrific evening as a team at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Leicester Square last week, the evening before our annual company day. For those who haven’t seen this rip-roaring show, it recounts the challenges of two young Mormon missionaries who have been despatched to Uganda to baptise the locals into their faith. And you need to go in eyes wide open. Irreverent, funny, shocking, politically incorrect, outrageous, camp, insulting, entertaining, over-the-top, brilliant, eyebrow-raising…it’s one of a kind, and if you can get past the ridiculousness of it all you might see the serious message(s) that sit behind it.
Anyway, fast forward 16 hours and we are all (minus a few key players who sadly couldn’t make it due to client commitments) back at the theatre standing on what is actually a deceptively small stage to reflect on what had gone on the evening before, marvelling at the complexity of this fast-paced, precise production and the teamwork that exists to make it happen so apparently effortlessly. With Jaime, the theatre’s General Manager, giving us some fascinating insights into what it takes to put on a Broadway show in a London venue, what looked quite simple was quite evidently, er, not that simple. Politics, managing expectations, logistics, teamwork, collaboration, creative interpretation, courage, laser-sharp timing and delivery….well, you might just have been looking in at The Storytellers to see just how our programmes develop for our clients!
Of course there was a serious theme to all this. We had gathered at the theatre to launch our own Story in all its technicoloured glory, and to introduce the business plan for the next year. “We have pioneered storytelling in business…” the Story starts proudly in Chapter One, going on to recount the challenges and opportunities we face as a business, and focusing on what we need to do to grow in what is a challenging and uncertain world.
The overriding theme of the day though, was teamwork and collaboration (now perhaps you are starting to see the relevance of the theatre production). We just cannot exist or do business for our clients without an immense amount of belief and trust in each other. We all bring different skill sets to the business – strategic planning, creative, project management, consultancy, facilitation, writing, relationship-building, administration – and it’s the blend of these skills that makes magic happen. Our Story, which was presented by members of the team at every level, is OUR Story. It belongs to all of us, and without every single one of us playing our part, we are nothing. And we planned the day exactly as if we were planning it for a client. For those about to join the team (and who were invited to participate on the day) it was a remarkable insight into how our clients launch their own strategic narratives, as well as witnessing the amazing culture we have developed as a team. Our Story provides the framework for our business plan, and our business plan provides the framework for the many initiatives, plans and new ways of working we are currently embracing. Our company day gave people an opportunity to absorb some of this, interrogate it, feel proud of what we’ve achieved and excited about the future. Indeed, it’s a future worth being excited about.
I’d like to go back and see The Book of Mormon again, just to see the bits I missed (either because I was laughing so much or because there was just so much going on). Next time though, I’ll look at it through a different lens, with just a little more appreciation as to what it takes to make the complex look simple, and, as always, with a huge amount of appreciation for our amazing team.