If you were in Creekside Park early on August 14, you probably saw quite a spectacle: a flock of PNI employees, dressed in matching rainbow shirts, congregating in front of five colourful posters.
A year after PNI announced its new Mission and Values, we were there to celebrate those values in all their glory. The plan for the day was simple: all the employees were split into five teams, each associated with a value.
Those values are, of course:
Orange: We before me.
Green: Leave it in a better place.
Red: Move fast, plan well.
Blue: Fueled by passion and fun.
Purple: Our partners, our business.
Within each team, there were three different activities to compete in: Mega Jenga, litter picking and dragon boating. The workforce was here to work together, have fun and celebrate the values that make PNI unique.
Our CEO Simon kicked things off with a short motivational speech emphasizing the power of teamwork.
“Getting the best from oneself is not about being the smartest in the room,” he said, to a field full of employees wearing sunscreen and shades. “Being one’s best self is, in the truest sense, being the best team mate you can be… When you recognize within yourself that you are willing to take that single extra step to help someone else out, at that moment you are truly at your best.”
We had a more sombre moment too: earlier this summer, PNI lost a friend when David Lin of the Product Services team sadly passed away. In his memory, every shirt had his initials printed on the sleeve, as a reminder to bring his spirit into the activities ahead of us that day and every day.
PUT YOUR PRIDE ASIDE IN MEGA JENGA
What’s more tense than a game of Jenga, where one wrong move could bring a tower crashing down on you? How about a co-operative game of Jenga, where you have to put your team first and work together to snatch the crown?
If that wasn’t enough, PNI’s Mega Jenga also featured fun or silly tasks on each brick. Every task was unique, and worth a different amount of points from 2 to 10. Whichever team amassed the most points by the end of playtime was declared the winner—but beware, toppling the tower came with a 40-point penalty.
After a fashion show, human pyramids, dance-offs and sack races, cup-stacking, puzzle-solving, water-balloon tossing and flossing, the Blue team were declared victorious. Clearly they were the most fueled by passion and fun.
PICK UP LITTER TO KEEP THE COMMUNITY CLEAN
For the more socially-minded, picking up litter was a sure way to get a feel-good factor. Community work is embedded in our core values and culture as we put on regular donation drives and fundraising events for local organizations.
The clean-up crews circled much of the False Creek seawall, picking up litter and debris to make Vancouver that much more beautiful. The winning team was whoever picked up the most trash by weight.
Appropriately, the Green team took the victory here and left the community in a better place. They picked up 111lbs of trash, rendering themselves the clear victors. Overall, the teams cleared 320lbs of rubbish away—including a broken bicycle and office chair—making our city 320lbs tidier.
FEEL THE BURN IN DRAGON BOATING
The true competition of the day, however, was reserved for dragon boating. Fitted with paddles, life jackets and professional steerers, the most intrepid PNI’ers left the comfort of dry land for the thrill of shallow ships.
After some practice paddling on solid ground, the teams transitioned into their boats. Water was splashed, arms were worked out, and finally it was time for the dragon boaters to spread their wings and row like their lives depended on it.
All five teams were ready to take home the prize, but a steering mishap took out three of the boats—unfortunate for the paddlers, but amusing for the assembled crowd of employees watching from the Creekside Park waterfront. The Orange team emerged victorious, edging out the Red team’s boat in a tight finish. Paddles aloft, the team chanted the value on their shirt that perfectly encapsulated the whole day’s events: We Before Me.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS…
For our team in Austin, temperatures hit a sticky 39 degrees. Sunhats and shorts were the order of the day as our brave American crew had their own teambuilding activities. From the time the team heard about Mission and Value day, asking “How can I help?” became a common theme in the office.
The Texans teamed up with the Keep Austin Beautiful Organization to do Lake Travis clean-up activities in Cypress Creek Park. After a morning of wholesome cleaning, the crew headed to play a memory-based card game that encouraged them to move fast and plan well.
And much to the envy of their northern team-mates, the American crew then got what everyone dreams of on a hot summer day: a boat party. According to Product Manager Ankur, “We had many co-workers who were afraid of water or didn’t know how to swim, but everyone encouraged each other and gave them confidence.”
No matter where our teams are, they know how to celebrate. Here’s to our first full year working in line with our values! May we have many more.