First off, let me thank all of you out there who attended the recent 20th anniversary of The Gathering of Games in St. Louis. It truly was our best celebration yet. Getting the chance to learn from our keynote speakers, Kim Jordan of New Belgium Brewing and Brian Scudamore of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, as well as our breakout session leaders, panel members and newly crowned All-Stars, truly made for an inspiring couple of days.
The theme of the event was 20 years of looking forward and I came away from the event amazed at all the astute business people that were in attendance from just about every kind of organization and industry you could think of. In particular, Alan Kent of Meadows Regional Medical Center, a rural healthcare organization in Vidalia, GA, comes to mind because he not only runs a hospital, it’s also a not-for-profit organization that is thriving thanks in part due to their implementation of Great Game principles. How inspiring is that?
Everyone I spoke with seemed to think his or her organization was moving in the right direction and, beside their collective uncertainty about the upcoming election, are generally optimistic about the future.
A lot has changed in 20 years. There was a time not too many years ago where many of those attending the Gathering didn’t have the same solid understanding that this is really about building a system of learning and a culture of success and not just about sharing and understanding numbers.
But, by playing the Great Game, the dark side has been lifted. By working on their strengths year after year – while also having the courage to work on their biggest weaknesses – those companies are now stronger. And when you bring all those folks together in a single room, you create a community of practitioners who help validate everything they have accomplished. The success becomes contagious.
When you have someone like Kelly Parsons of Mears Floral Products in Springfield, MO., get up in front of the crowd and thank the Great Game system for helping turn his family’s business around, to literally bring it back from the brink, it’s hard not to get emotional. It’s moments like that when you appreciate how hard it is to work in the dark, how the fear of the unknown can crush you, and then how amazing it can be when someone turns on the light for you.
Attending an event like the Gathering also serves as a reminder that there are a lot of great people out there doing great things who don’t get a lot of recognition on a daily basis. It’s easy to get depressed listening to all the negativity out there these days, so it’s so refreshing to come to an event like this to celebrate the good things that are going on at organizations like Mears Floral.
Thank you all for your support and we look forward to the next 20 years!