Evergreen Teams Gather to Connect and Learn

Diana Price, Tugboat Institute

February 11, 2020

Since 2013, Tugboat Institute has been providing opportunities for CEOs and Presidents of Evergreen® companies to come together to build trusted relationships, share best practices, and celebrate. Last week, we innovated that model by inviting members to immerse their leadership teams in the Tugboat experience.

The inaugural Tugboat Institute Gathering of Teams took place in Dallas, Texas over two-and-a-half days and brought to life the Evergreen 7Ps™ for attendees through “best-of” Tugboat Institute talks, workshops, and evening celebration. 

As curators of this experience, our goal was to inspire, to create community across hundreds of Evergreen executives and team members, to share best practices, and to provide a deeper understanding of Evergreen values and practices. That sharing was evident on Tuesday evening, when attendees gathered for an opening experience led by artist Phil Hansen, who took the group through a drawing exercise that included connecting with other table members. From the outset, the openness and authenticity of everyone set the tone for the gathering and established early camaraderie.

After that festive evening, the talks on Wednesday provided insight into the Evergreen path and inspiration for continued commitment to Evergreen principles. Tugboat Institute Founder and CEO Dave Whorton led off with a deep dive into the contrast between the current venture capital Get-Big-Fast model and the Evergreen path, highlighting the long-term benefit of Evergreen values to employees, founders, customers, and communities. After Dave’s talk, seven members and thought leaders offered stories and best practices covering every one of the Evergreen 7Ps, while exemplifying the deeply held values and personal integrity that have come to define our community.

These authentic conversations were deepened through an afternoon workshop on Wednesday, which brought attendees together by functional role, moderated by experts with deep experience in each functional area. Participants in this session got to know one another, shared their own companies’ best practices, and had the opportunity to engage in an active Q&A session, led by the moderator. While many of those present had attended workshops and conferences around their functional role in the past, there was a strong sense expressed that this was different—that the content was more relevant and meaningful by the value-alignment among attendees and their companies.  

As is the Tugboat Institute tradition, an evening celebration brought everyone together on Wednesday night. Attendees shared great food, drink, and company against the backdrop of exhibits in the Frontiers of Flight Museum, beneath the full-sized model of the Wright Flyer—an enduring symbol of Pragmatic Innovation.

On Thursday morning, an additional twelve members and thought leaders gave talks and participated in two panels. Our team was prepared to see the positive, energizing impact of these inspiring speakers and their messages—ranging from deeply personal learning journeys to tactical expertise—on attendees both Wednesday and Thursday morning. Despite that expectation, the reality of seeing attendees absorb the power and differentiation of the Evergreen path, many for the first time, far surpassed our hopes. It was incredibly gratifying to overhear the buzz of conversations about the speakers and observe new friends discussing the many topics. 

The event concluded on Thursday afternoon with team workshops, in which our members gathered with their teammates and families to share their experiences and take-aways, reflect, and plan how to bring the best ideas into their own companies and lives.

We are incredibly grateful to members and teams who leaned into this inaugural event, diving into learning and new relationships with the generosity and wisdom that characterizes Evergreen leaders and companies. It was our honor to host those who are so clearly committed to growing thriving Evergreen businesses that will continue to provide benefit for employees, customers, suppliers, owners, families, communities, and the world on a long-term horizon. We look forward to continuing to grow this tribe and learn together.

Diana Price is Content Manager at Tugboat Institute.  

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