Insights on business,
life, and leadership —
right in your inbox!

Making Memorable Moments

December 8, 2020

In a normal year, this is the time that our calendars typically fill up with celebrations.

From company parties, to church events, to gatherings with friends, we’re used to being busy the whole month of December. 

Unfortunately, this year is anything but normal. Most of us won’t be able to celebrate in all the ways we are accustomed to, and without the gatherings, some are finding it hard to get into the “spirit” of things.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve received more than a few calls from friends and fellow business leaders. The situations are different, but their goals are ultimately the same: They are looking for creative ways to honor, celebrate, and unify their teams. They recognize how hard it’s been, and they want to do something impactful. But they can’t have their traditional parties in the middle of a pandemic, and they don’t know how to plan effective meetings to kickoff 2021.

Some of them represent large organizations, and they are asking how ADDO is advising our clients in this season. Others come from small businesses, and they are asking me what I’m doing with our team. 

If many of my friends and fellow leaders are having this challenge, maybe you are, as well. Below you’ll find our recipe for creating moments that are memorable and impactful. They work for any group. And yes, they even work during a pandemic. In fact, we utilized each of these elements when we put together our ADDO retreat in August of this year.  

1. Personalization
It’s important to provide a personal piece to each member of your team. At ADDO, we send our team a culture survey. In it, we ask questions that range from the number one place they want to travel, all the way down to their favorite drink from Starbucks. This helps us know them better. How does that play out in creating a personalized experience? When we have a bag of candy and snacks for each person at the retreat, it’s not the same for everyone. Instead, each team member gets some of their favorite candy. It’s small. It’s inexpensive. But it shows we care.  

2. Surprise
Surprising is all about doing something unexpected. At our August retreat, our team knew we were going to see a movie. But what they didn’t know was that we were leaving to see the movie at 9:30 a.m.! Instead of finishing the full day of meetings with the movie, we flipped the schedule and sat in a movie theater with popcorn and cokes in hand at 10:00 a.m. Surprise can involve an unexpected space, an unexpected schedule, or even an unexpected way to deliver a message.

3. Wow
My Co-Founder, Garrett Gravesen, always reminds us, “If it’s now WOW, it’s not worth doing!”

What can you do that will make your team say “Wow”?

Going to a movie in the morning: Unexpected. Walking outside to see limousines waiting to take us to the movie: Now that’s wow. But wow doesn’t always have to be expensive. When we were forced to have our retreat in our regular office space, it could have easily felt like another day at work, but our team added extra decor and a balloon arch outside of our door, so we could change the space and make it feel different. 

Alright, I’ve got to share one of my favorite ways these three elements came together to create some truly memorable moments for our team. At every retreat, we give awards to members of our team. They are nominated by their fellow team members, and each award represents one of ADDO’s values. To honor our award recipients this year, we utilized Cameo—a service where you can request videos from some of your favorite celebrities!

Noel, who won our Purpose award, has a guilty pleasure of watching The Bachelor. Check out her award shoutout from Bachelor host Chris Harrison.

There were 5 others, but my favorite was for the Passion award. This one might be the most cringe-worthy, but the message to Aaron, from Carole Baskin of Tiger King was priceless!

A surprise announcement with a personalized celebrity shoutout. That’s wow. 

Why do we focus so much on moments like these? Because people don’t remember days, or even hours, they remember moments. Employ these elements when you are crafting memorable moments for the people you care about.


Insights on business,
life, and leadership —
right in your inbox!