Insights from Owner Camp 012

Anyone who knows me knows I loved summer camp.

It was the best part of my youth- a bunch of kids who get to hang out once a year, free of parental rules, sharing unique experiences together. Camp for me was about building a close-knit community of friends that I would have forever.

Owner Camp is kind of like my ‘grown-up’ summer camp.

As Owner Camp 012 came to an end, it was a bittersweet feeling- much like the last day of camp. When you are part of the Owner Camp family, you develop a rich network of friends who are true peers in your industry. You are all taking time out of your busy schedules of running a company to hang out for the week. Your days at “camp” are spent having fun, learning from each other and inspiring one another to grow as bosses and as people.

This recent Owner Camp was particularly special for me because it took place in my hometown of Montreal. In addition to participating, I also put on the host hat and toured the campers around some of the city’s best spots. We walked around the city’s trendy Mile End neighbourhood and visited Old Montreal. We hit up amazing restaurants like Manitoba, Pied de Cochon and the legendary Moishes. There were many highlights, but my coup de coeur (French for “my favourite”) was a very special private performance by The Barr Brothers that Plank helped organize. Having an intimate concert by one of Canada’s hottest bands was much like the camp dance at the end of the summer. Magical.

Barr Brothers @ Owner Camp 012

At the closing of each Owner Camp, I always come away knowing more about myself and about how I want to run Plank. After learning my lesson that there is no way to make 75 changes to Plank like I thought I could after my first Owner Camp, I now aim to set a series of realistic and achievable goals after each event.

So, quite simply, I’ve set 10 goals for the next year that will make Plank a better company.

Drum roll, please…

  1. Keep launching small but effective side projects – by exploring our creative sides on non-client work, we can engage different audiences and even encourage more leads and revenues possibilities.
  2. Create a more effective internal weekly check-in – develop a system that is more specific and provides better direction for management and production teams.
  3. Organize an HR system that works for us – create a pay and raise structure that ceases to be arbitrary and inconsistent.
  4. Set and communicate Plank’s vision, goals and direction for 2016/2017 – I often have a tendency of keeping this in my head for too long. Get the direction set and moving so that we can realize these goals.
  5. Increase differentiation from other similar companies – emphasize some of our specializations and areas where Plank really is a unique digital agency.
  6. Increase “Peacefulness” and clarity in our communications – declutter our process, declutter our day-to-day and make every interaction as crystal clear as possible, both internally and with our clients.
  7. Refocus management and empower the team to make decisions – Plank hires smart, talented people. Involve the team sooner and more deeply in making decisions about how projects are scoped and produced.
  8. Encourage collaboration with other like-minded teams & companies – if there’s something we can’t do alone, find the people who can partner with us to make it happen. Bringing great minds together can open up new doors.
  9. Integrate our clients more in our process, when appropriate – determine where we can increase our transparency to help projects be more efficient across the board.
  10. Make financial decisions backed by our own statistics – Plank has almost 20 years of information and data that we can apply to better plan as a company from a financial perspective.

Even though summer is just kicking off for everyone else, I’ve already had my camp fun this year. Now I’m back to the grind and ready to make things happen.

To all my Owner Camp friends – see you around the next campfire!

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