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Blog from the Bog

In early October, our Collective Results team had the opportunity to participate in a 3-day team retreat in Callander, ON. We had many great conversations about the business and our visions for the future. We also had the chance to do some really fun outdoor activities together! One of them was picking cranberries in a bog located near Callander Bay (perfect timing the week before Thanksgiving). As our team was scattered throughout the muddy bog picking cranberries, we naturally started to think about all the great parallels that exist between the life lessons and strategies that guide our work and what it takes to effectively pick cranberries. Our Collective Results team wanted to share some of those insights we had with a collective blog from the bog

Lindsay - My takeaway was about the importance of knowing your role within the moment - knowing when it’s time to lead and when it’s time to provide support - that contributes to our overall success. I recognized early that my teammates were much better than me at locating good patches to pick from as they were coming up with huge handfuls of cranberries. I decided my skills would be best used in the supportive “runner” role, moving back and forth between my teammates with the basket collecting their cranberries and applauding their success!

Liz - The bog reminded me that a wonderful state of flow, a state of mind where you become fully immersed in an activity, can sometimes come from the most unlikely of places…even a cranberry bog! During the cranberry picking I drifted a bit away from our group and fully immersed myself in finding and picking cranberries. The experience was surprisingly relaxing and satisfying and I can’t wait to go again!

Michi - For me it was the abundance that can come with teamwork. As I began to pick these mysterious cranberries hidden beneath the bushes, I began with only a few meagre cranberries in my hand. Knowing that we had brought three baskets, I thought, we will either be here forever or leave with only a fraction of what we thought we could pick. But, with the many hands at work and our collective learnings of where the cranberries were most plentiful, we easily filled our baskets! I am grateful for my team and the fruitfulness we bring to all our projects.

Amy - While I was in the bog, I couldn’t help but reflect on the connections between discovering insights and discovering cranberries. Many of the projects we deal with involve complex problems, and solutions are not always obvious or easy to find. The cranberries in the bog were also not easy to find at first. We had to wade through mud, dig through long grasses, and look at the plants from different angles to find the beautiful little red gems that we were looking for. Isn’t it often the same kind of process when uncovering insights or investigating solutions to complex problems?

Brianne - While in the bog, I was reminded of the importance of trusting the process. As we approached the bog, I wasn’t quite convinced we would harvest many cranberries. Despite what you have seen in those colourful cranberry juice commercials, the cranberries are not floating on top of water, up for grabs. I decided to trust the process and get to work. And… voila, underneath everything was an abundance of delicious cranberries. Keeping your trust in the process can keep you on track to unveiling some really great things, even if you have to get a little sweaty along the way!

Auburn - The bog reminded me of the importance of communication and connection in a team. Our team was out on the bog, a large marshy area on the shores of lake Nipissing, amid tall grasses and patches of mud. We easily could have wandered our separate ways and found ourselves alone out on the bog. Instead, when one of us found a large patch of cranberries, we would alert the group. When a basket was full of cranberries, that information would be shared with the group to celebrate success. When one of us came up with some insights about how this activity related to the work that we do, we would share it. The bog was a constant murmur of insights, tips, and interactions. That communication created a collective experience that allowed for team growth and connection, and it is this growth and connection that keeps our team strong both in and out of the bog!

Ishan - My first few minutes in the bog were frustrating, so I wanted to focus my reflection working through self doubt. Like many of my colleagues, I was cranberry picking for the first time. I enjoy dried cranberries, find the juice commercials funny, but have never been cranberry picking. Well, there I am trudging through the mud, revelling in the excitement of a new experience and completely striking out with the task at hand. I was ducking, digging, going off the path to search and coming up empty handed. At the same time I can hear and see everyone striking ‘cranberry gold’, with what I can only imagine are baskets and pockets full of berries. And then it starts... I’m not really good at this… What am I doing wrong? Why can’t I do this? I was hearing that internal monologue of self doubt and impatience that I hear when trying something new or hard and it is not going well. In my experience, this is when I need to stop to assess what is going on in my head. In this example, I was in a bog picking cranberries, but it could have been on my laptop procrastinating writing a report (or blog) or doing a big presentation for clients. An approach that I find helpful is to pause and ask myself why I am feeling the way I am? Is the task too large? Is the bog too big? Am I embarrassed about having found no cranberries? I also find it helpful to remind myself of the task that I am working on and break it up into smaller tasks. So, I took a deep breath and reminded myself I was outdoors on a beautiful day and started looking for berries one shrub at a time. Sometimes if we can step back and reflect on why we are feeling the way we are, we can make sense of it and figure out what to do. I left the bog with a half pint of cranberries, so I think the approach worked this time.

Rachel - As a foodie, I was so fascinated by this bog. I had never seen one before and realizing this is where cranberries came from and how they were picked was so magical! My role at Collective Results is a lot of behind the scenes work to make sure my co-workers have everything they need to be successful. I constantly find myself observing my team and admiring how intelligent and caring they are. They care about each other, about our clients, and most importantly they care about the work we do. That day in the bog was no different. Instead of focusing on how many cranberries I could find (which really wasn't a lot), I found myself stepping back and not only being mesmerized by the beauty of the bog but also by my co-workers. Everyone had their own role and style when it came to picking the cranberries. Some spread out far, some stayed close together, some reflected, and some collected. There were smiles, looks of determination and looks of frustration, but at the end of the day, they were all cheering each other on and working as a team, like they always do. That moment in the bog reminded me of how lucky I am to be part of this team and how much I love watching them do good work.

And thank you Jen, our trusty "picture taker", for capturing our beautiful, magical experience in the Cranberry Bog!

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