The Fifth Reforestum Team Gathering: Highlights of A Successful Alignment with a New Vision
I realised that Reforestum's fifth team gathering was a reality when I was in the car driving with part of the team towards Frómista (Palencia, Spain). Specifically, it was during a conversation about one of the random topics that we unconsciously chose to entertain ourselves during the trip (perhaps it was about ChatGPT, jiu-jitsu, or the etymology of the word "Palencia") that my brain made a connection, heightening my sense that the event had begun and that this particular moment held special significance.
On the one hand, we had started to spend time in person with the people who we always work with remotely. Although nowadays we are supposed to be used to living a digital life and switching to the analogue world easily, I am still amazed by the warm effect of adding a third dimension to what I normally see on the screen. What I found even more precious, though, was perceiving such a level of trust and naturalness in our conversations, something that usually happens when people who like each other and have shared meaningful moments get together.
With these scattered thoughts flying through my mind, Alex, Pablo and I arrived at our destination: Eco-Hotel Doña Mayor, where Elena, the owner of the hotel, was waiting for us smiling and expectant. A few minutes later Diego, Alban, Javi and Pablo showed up and we all happily greeted and hugged each other. As the time available for the event was limited and the relevant topics to be discussed numerous, we tried to have lunch quickly and get into the meeting room to connect with Ulysses online as soon as possible. Having recently made the leap to our new vision marked by the launch of the VCM Navigator and the incorporation of all the MITECO projects on our platform, the team gathering’s main objective was clear: we had to strategically align on what we call now Reforestum 2.0.
The best way to get into it was to watch Alban rehearse his pitch to investors, after which, apart from a few role-playing questions, we had no choice but to admire him for his enthusiastic and convincing talent. Following that, we had the session to catch up on the profile of our customers and their pains. All of a sudden, we were in a meditation led by Diego that gently took us to project ourselves into the future each of us wants and to forge it into an image to which we were invited to rekindle at any time during our days together.
Right after that, we unleashed the conversation in the garden. By then, some of us had already taken off our shoes, an evident sign of how at ease we were feeling. As our words and laughter dove into the water of the Alberca, my mind wandered to reflect on why the energy of these people was intertwining so prettily. And it dawned on me the importance of the venue. We had decided to come back to where we celebrated our first team gathering, a cosy hotel that we already knew and loved, where we felt like at home. This place was generously providing us with confidence, certainty and beauty that reinforced the space of intimacy that we had built.
Just like that, the day ended and Thursday dawned with an agenda packed of key content: a review of the competition landscape, analysis of our unique selling proposition, business and product strategy, product roadmapping, and setting the goals for next quarter. Although each of these topics deserved a whole day, we managed to concentrate them into a single day, which most of us were able to endure thanks to an exquisite menestra at lunch.
Following this intense day, we took our bikes and cycled by the Canal de Castilla. It is a very important hydraulic work carried out in Spain more than 200 years ago, which is flanked by riparian forests, ponds and wetlands that form a gorgeous ecosystem of great ecological value. During the cycling, small groups were spontaneously formed and varied along the route until the sun went down, which made our conversations with each of us deeper.
On Friday we woke up very excited: it was Earth Day and we were going to visit our forests! Before that, we finished a couple of sessions, including a first joint review of the validity of Reforestum's mission in taking into account our new direction. Once Juan Carlos, the engineer who manages the development of Reforestum’s projects, joined us, we headed north to Quintanilla de las Torres forest, where we met Agustín, the president of the neighbourhood council. We were pleased to see that the saplings were in good health despite the high temperatures and little rain last year. We then visited Génesis, the forest that gave birth to Reforestum.
Provided the imperative need for efficient action to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, I am sure that all of us would have preferred to find magnificent trees on this site. However, being in direct contact with these small trees has the extraordinary power to spark absorbing deliberations and to remind us that nature has its own rhythm, much slower and more precise than the speed of human endeavours.
After the forests visit, we gathered for a closing dinner at the Hostería de los Palmeros. Once again, in a great place and with great people a safe space was opened up that allowed us to discern how much we value being together and the relationship we have built. To close up, Diego taught us a Chinese proverb, which encouraged us to wait for the future to judge good or bad what happens today, as only will we have all the necessary information. It seemed to us to be a spot-on lesson to help us relativise the many critical challenges we are facing and the uncertain and promising future ahead.
This meeting, taking place in mid-April of 2023, may not have had much of a breakthrough in terms of location, activities and sessions. Perhaps that is why it will not go down in the history of Reforestum as the most memorable. Nor was it intended to be. What we needed and wanted was fulfilling the overall objective of alignment and a bit of serenity and time together to anchor ourselves in who we are and where we are going.
Or, in light of the events to come, it may become the most unforgettable one of all. We do not know yet. Let the future tell us.