At BBVA AI Factory we believe that teamwork is key to success. Furthermore, spending time together outside of the usual work environment creates new bonds and increases motivation. For this reason, a few weeks ago we ran a two day off-site where we engaged in a variety of activities. We also had the task of establishing the specific values that define us as a company, beyond our main values as a BBVA Group company: “the customer comes first”, “we think big” and “we are one team”.
The values are a guide to help us make decisions and face new challenges. They are a synthesis of who we are and determine the way we do things. At the same time, these values can also guide us to decide what is important and where we focus.
The off-site started a few days before we arrived at our lodgings, a splendid country villa which lies halfway between Madrid and Guadalajara. The surrounding landscape is characterized by hilly terrain, deep valleys and calcareous grasslands. As mentioned, the offsite had already begun a few days earlier with individual thinking exercises concerning the values that were most important to us. Upon arrival we split into five teams of around ten people. We then proceeded to seek out all the values, concepts and ideas that our colleague and superb off-site scrum master Bea Cano had scattered throughout the house and its surroundings. There turned out to be over 90!
Once these were all collected, they were grouped into clusters and then debated. As the material consisted of ideas that had come directly from us, we were in a better position to explain their meanings to everyone present. By the end, we opted for five general values that integrated several ideas arising from this first part of the off-site. In a future article we will explain our values as a company in more detail.
From here, the second part of the off-site consisted of turning values into behaviors. This exercise was very useful because values, as with any great concepts and ideas, are perfect and powerful. However, in real life one has to make an effort to adapt them to different case scenarios and deal with contradictions. Each team was responsible for providing meaning and optimal definitions for one of the selected values. The resulting approaches were debated extensively by the group, thus generating new perspectives. It was during these moments that we could truly appreciate the success of the off-site. Some individuals weighed in with nuances that enriched and brought completion to the value; others warned of expectations, hoping that the debate would not deviate too far from a healthy balance between everything we want and what we have in our hands; we also voiced feelings and explored viewpoints. By the end, we had all participated at some point or other.
The application of values to different day-to-day situations, and therefore the expression of these values in behaviors, was put into practice by staging a short informal performance. The idea was simple: each team had to play out an identical situation in two different ways. The first would not apply the value, while the second would take the value into account through drama.
This part was the funniest, and led us to discover some hidden acting talents. We also had a great time during the outdoor leisure activities which included archery, basketball throws, a bike and balloon race, and some croquet games. All were played at our AI Factory level, which was unstoppable! Even though we got off to a strong start, an early break was required -accompanied by drinks-. By the way, we had time to sing and dance in a karaoke where we discovered even more hidden talents.
Before departing our country villa, we convened to present the Off-site Award to the team that had accumulated most points during the different activities (we also like competition). Even so, although recognition is always an incentive, in this case we agreed that the prize should go to the BBVA AI Factory team as a whole. However, if it had to be for someone in particular, it would undoubtedly be for our wonderful scrum master for guiding us and helping us to stick to schedule.
As always, thank you for reading…and happy holidays!