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SPI 535: How to Craft a Team Retreat That Achieves Great Things with Matt Gartland

Our vision every year is to bring Team SPI together in the fall to think about the following year, source ideas, have conversations, and arrive at a strategic plan the whole team feels empowered by.

We lost the opportunity to do that last year at the height of COVID, but 2021 provided an opportunity to “reboot” our in-person team summit—especially since there were some new folks on the team that many of us hadn’t even met in person yet.

I shared a lot of the behind-the-scenes of our trip on Instagram and on Twitter, pictures of the conference room that we were in, and some of the fun things we did together. But we weren’t there just for fun and games, obviously. We were there to get down to business.

In today’s episode, I wanted to take you behind the scenes to help you understand more about exactly what we did in Denver, and how it’s guiding the direction of SPI in 2022. To help with that, I invited my co-CEO and chief operating and financial officer, Matt Gartland, back on the show. Matt has been on the podcast a few times before, and he’s here to give us the lowdown on how we approached this trip.

There were a lot of hands involved with helping put it together, but Matt was the one who constructed it and rallied the troops. He got us together and he developed this retreat in a way that was so helpful and so valuable for our company, and I wanted to bring him on to share exactly how this all went down.

If you have a remote team but have yet to meet them—or maybe you do meet every once in a while and are planning on getting together soon—this will be a hugely helpful episode for you. It will hopefully provide some structure, motivation, and inspiration for what you can create and achieve in your next in-person team meeting.

And if you don’t have a team yet, well, this episode will give you something to think about and maybe even strive toward.

Today’s Guest

Matt Gartland

Matt is a partner at SPI, as well as COO, CFO, and head of innovation. He is a servant leader whose greatest joy comes from empowering other leaders, teams, and organizations to achieve their potential through sustainable growth. Above all, he’s a father and husband who will never relinquish his Pittsburgh roots.

You’ll Learn


SPI 535: How to Craft a Team Retreat That Achieves Great Things with Matt Gartland

Pat Flynn: You may have heard that I was in Denver earlier this year, and you may have also heard that I was in Denver to meet the rest of my team. Now, a lot of the team, you have heard from before, a lot of the team I have met before; however, since the pandemic started, we actually hired quite a few new people on the team, and this was going to be the first time that we would’ve ever met each other. On Instagram and on Twitter, I shared a lot of the behind the scenes of that, sharing some pictures of the conference room that we were in and some of the fun things that we were doing together. But we weren’t there just for fun and games and to get to know each other, we were there for business and to get down to business.

Pat Flynn: And in today’s episode, I wanted to take you a little bit behind the scenes to help you understand more about, well, what exactly did we do in Denver? And what came out of that? And to help us with this today, I’m inviting my co-CEO and Chief Operating and Financial Officer, Matt Gartland, back on the show. He’s been on the show a few times now, recently, to give us the lowdown on exactly how we approached this day, because he’s the one who constructed this event. There were a lot of hands involved with helping put it together, but, really, he rallied the troops. He got us together, and he developed this retreat in a way that was so helpful and so valuable for our company that I wanted to bring him on to share exactly how this all went down for you.

Pat Flynn: And if you have a team and you have yet to meet with your team, or maybe you do meet with your team every once in a while to plan and to get together, this will be a great one, because it’ll provide a, perhaps, new structure and inspire and motivate new things that you could do the next time you meet with each other. Maybe it’ll inspire you to meet with your team for the first time and how to run that. And if you don’t have a team yet, well, this is something that you could strive toward and you can pull a lot of lessons in into your own stuff, even if you’re a solo entrepreneur right now. So here we go. Let’s cue the intro.

Speaker 2: Welcome to the Smart Passive Income podcast, where it’s all about working hard now so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, even today he still gets nervous before getting in front of a crowd, Pat Flynn.

Pat Flynn: What’s up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to session 535 of the Smart Passive Income podcast. This is the second to last episode of the year. This is a great one, because I know a lot of you who are listening to this are in planning mode right now, and you’re also scheduling things that are going to happen for 2022, and this will be a great one. We’re going to take you behind the scenes with the team, we’re going to bring Matt on. Let’s just do it right now. Here we go, Matt Gartland, everybody.

Pat Flynn: Matt, welcome back to the Smart Passive Income podcast, my friend. Thanks for being here.

Matt Gartland: I am so glad to be back, buddy. Thanks for having me.

Pat Flynn: I think you’ve become, maybe at least as of late, the guest that has come back the most. We’ve had people come back on the show before, but obviously now that you’re co-CEO, there’s reasons for you to come back on. And we got a great one today, because we’re going to be talking about our retreat that we ran as a team in Denver recently. Set the stage for us in terms of, let’s say, what was this retreat? What was the purpose? And why is it so important?

Matt Gartland: Absolutely. The vision has always been to bring our team together at this point in the season, in the Fall, to think about, then, the next year, and to source ideas, to have conversations, and ultimately arrive at a strategic plan for the next year that then our team can feel really empowered by, that they have had a voice and have participated in creating, right? We certainly lost out on that opportunity last year, at least to do that in person, so this year was a refreshed and almost a reboot moment for us, especially with some new folks on the team that we haven’t even met in person yet, to come together and just really foster that sense of internal community, if you will, within a company. And then ultimately, yeah, do the good work on the business side of thinking critically about, what’s working in the business? What’s not? What is the vision of the business going forward? And then, let’s get to some concrete outcomes that we can really rally behind as a team that will lead us into the new year.

Pat Flynn: Yeah, a combination of, obviously, getting business decisions made, and we’ll talk about how we approach that. I love the approach that we took and the way that you situated each day. I want people to come across and come away in this episode with very strategic things that they could run with their team, no matter how big their team is. Ours is 12 strong, and it’s pretty amazing to be able to coordinate that many people in the same room and the brain trust, working all together, to accomplish the same goals, which is really cool. We’ll get into those details in just a minute, but I’d love to also give a shout out to Sara Jane on our team, who definitely helped with a lot of management and the operations of this event here.

Pat Flynn: From that perspective, in terms of putting this on, what would you say are the most important things for people to consider? Because we could easily say, “Yeah, let’s all meet together,” but then there’s obviously decisions that have to be made around that. What are the big decisions that a person needs to make before gathering a team together, operationally?

Matt Gartland: The list is probably infinite, but thinking about, yeah, maybe some really big ones at the top, location and venue, hand in hand, is critical. And I love that we did, in fact, choose to go to Denver this year, because it was more centrally located for us as a dispersed remote team. We actually have team members in every time zone in North America, so thinking about people’s time and energy is really, really important, of course, going into one of these. So finding a more or less geographically centered destination was really helpful. You had a direct flight. I had a direct flight. We were at an optimized time. That all goes into number one around location and venue, certainly, if you have a remote based team like we do.

Matt Gartland: And then two is to think very critically just about the composition of the time, and I know Pat, that we’ll go into this more in depth in a moment. You don’t want to just rush a lot of people into a lot of hard business conversation, a lot of, maybe, numbers and analytics, even though that stuff’s really important. But how do you think about the whole arc of the experience, from the creative side, to decision making, logic-oriented thought process? How do you empower others in the room to potentially lead different segments of that versus me just running it all, or you running it all? So thinking about how you want to, almost like a performance. Okay, you have a three act play, how do you want to govern those three acts? And then step within that framework to then inform agenda based decisions, almost time block by time block.

Matt Gartland: One, location and venue; two is just, what is your framework around the composition of the time and energy that you want to maximize for the time that you’re together?

Pat Flynn: Yeah, and that’s really key, some programming of sorts, because I think maybe there is a case for this of just telling your team, “Hey, let’s all meet here. I’ll tell you what we’re going to do when we get here.” But I think for the most part, people do want to know at least from a high level, what are we doing each day and what do we have to prepare for? We had to consider things, also, like weather and what people should pack. So we didn’t just want to say, “Hey, meet here at this time, and then we’ll take it from there.” There could be a case for that as far as making it more interesting and adventure-like for some reasons. But a part of programming is not just specifically what we’re going to talk about business-wise, there’s some other components that one should think about to take advantage of the fact that we’re all together. Is that right?

Matt Gartland: Oh yeah, absolutely. There’s different ways to approach this, again, in terms of, yeah, the programming nature of this, how you use that time, how you situate the team and focus the team’s attention on day one to day two to day three or whatever time span you have. I wouldn’t say, maybe upfront, not a right versus wrong way to think about this. There’s different ways to approach this, but I agree with your assessment that the new model that I brought to the team this year seemed to really work. I was a little nervous on the front end, I’ll admit, but I think that, after the fact here, more than I think, I know based on our conversations and feedback from the team that this has really resonated, and I have high confidence we’ll replicate this model going forward.

Pat Flynn: It has definitely resonated, and it is something that the team continues to use in, even, their own meetings. And I know Jonathan, who’s on the marketing team, and I, we work together. We’ve used the same language that you’ve taught to us to help us understand what’s going on here? And then what we could do moving forward. And so, we’ll get to the specifics in just a minute, because we’re beating around the bush, but I also want to make sure that people understand that you need to program and schedule time in for specifically non-work things. You need to include time for the team to bond with each other and you, and this can include certain meal times we had reserved.

Pat Flynn: Our schedule was, people flew in or came in on Monday, and we had a dinner together that Monday. A casual dinner at a food hall just to meet each other, and chat, and not make it super formal. We had two days of business chat. At the end of each of those days, we definitely came together, sat together, and broke bread together at a nice restaurant. And some people stayed up late to hang out and continue chatting into the midnight hours, and others went to bed early. And then we reserved Thursday before people flew home on Friday.

Pat Flynn: So this was a five day event. We went hiking. And so we had a team day where we didn’t do any business and we got to enjoy nature because we were in Denver, and we went to the Rocky Mountain National Park, and a couple of our team members were very familiar with that park, so we felt very confident that, no matter what we did there, it’d be a fun time together. And it was.

Matt Gartland: Exactly right. Yeah, just to echo the connection space for the team and to do bonding stuff. Sincere stuff, not just trust falls, because that’s, I don’t know, you read that in a book. But yeah, genuinely trying to think about the chemistry and the spirit of the team, understanding people’s motivations and people’s personal interests and hobbies. A lot of us on the team do really enjoy the outdoors, and being in gorgeous Denver lent itself to that activity by design, that was a purposeful decision. So it was real; there was depth to it. It wasn’t pretend, oh, we go through the motions and we do some cultural thing just to check a box. It was fantastic, and everyone, I think, came out of that just with an extra sense of connectivity to each other, and an extra sense of, I think, just motivation coming out of that, now back into the work.

Matt Gartland: Since then, everyone’s still buzzing positively about the experience, and that’s a key quality to pursue, I believe, in terms of how you want to organize and execute these sorts of events, so that the knock-on effect really continues in the weeks and months after.

Pat Flynn: Yeah, exactly. The team has definitely felt, and I know I felt, a lot more connected to everybody. Just the way the conversations are had now in our meetings virtually, have gone up a level as a result of meeting in person. So doing this once a year, even, could be a really amazing cadence.

Pat Flynn: But let’s go into the structure that you helped bring to the table, Matt, as far as our business working days and the approach that you took. This was, I know, inspired by somebody who you had read or another person who you had learned this from. Why don’t you go into the origin story and tell us how this is all done, because I definitely think people can utilize this.

Matt Gartland: The origin story really begins with, maybe, the prior model, even before the new one. So just as a point of contrast, I’ve done these for years for us and even for some of my past ventures. And for right or for wrong, or better or for worse, I suppose, I’ve been really at the center of most of it, personally, doing a lot of the prep, and then really leading most of the different sessions that, at different points in time within the state of a company and in its lifecycle, maybe the leader of that company, if you as a creator and business leader, if that’s true for you too, that’s maybe required. But certainly with where we are now, having grown and we’re more mature and we’re trying to level up in different ways, being overly centered in most of the material and a lot of the planning didn’t feel right anymore.

Matt Gartland: For me, I felt like it was beginning to suppress other things in terms of empowering certain team members. And it’s a ton of work and time on me. And I know that in the past, I’ve really put myself into a bit of an energy and even mental health divot there. So I was trying to optimize for a collection of different things around how we approach, still, the same purpose for our time together. I did, then, row it out, so to speak, and restudied, and went back out there and started to discover other sorts of models.

Matt Gartland: One that really resonated the most came from Dave Bailey, who folks can find just on Search for Dave Bailey and his stuff will pop up. He’s the founder coach. And he had a really great synthesis that really spoke to me in terms of other things that I find really important in entrepreneurial life, and that has been true for me for, my goodness, years. And I know, Pat, for you too. So even thinking in the way, way back to when Dan Pink’s original books around a whole new mind, and thinking about different head spaces and different modes of creativity, how can we harness a lot of those very inborn natural qualities to who we are as creative professionals? And how do we, especially in a group setting, in a group setting to the tune of 12 people, how can we harness a lot of that creative energy and firepower in a productive way, in a way that actually produces quality outcomes?

Matt Gartland: So Dave’s model really aligns with that brain power notion of right brain and left brain, where the right brain, the creative side, is very chaotic, but there’s a good use case for that. Being in a brainstorming phase, considering new possibilities, and being very imaginative, that’s all right brain. The left brain being very logic based, looking at data and analysis, and then ultimately exercising really good judgment in making decisions, even hard decisions, and bringing a certain sense of conclusiveness to the thought process. I don’t believe it’s necessarily Dave’s language, he’s harnessed this into his model, which is that the divergent quality, which is the right brain that’s creative, is this, boom, everything goes expansive, and we talk and explore all these possibilities. That’s on the front end. In the terms of how we architected it, that was day one.

Matt Gartland: And then, day two is focused on, okay, you’ve done all the brainstorming. Now we need to take all of that great work, and now we need to switch that cognitive model completely. We need to literally reenter through the room with a focus on convergence, which is left brain. So it’s the same people in the room, but being able to think ahead and situate people’s awareness to, okay, this is how I need to show up in this space. Show up with energy, show up with mindset and participate in discussions, and then have, essentially, an evening in between. It’s not necessarily a hard and fast rule, that’s what I chose to do has really, really helped. So it’s divergence, day one; convergence, day two. Should you, for some reason, even want to do four days worth, you may do two days’ worth of divergence, and then two days’ worth of convergence.

Pat Flynn: It was such a beautiful model. And to see it unfold in real time, I know you were nervous, but it worked brilliantly, Matt. So thank you for bringing that to the table for us, and I wanted to pass it on to everybody listening. We came in all on Monday. We got to see each other, meet each other, some of us for the first time. And then Tuesday, it was really down to brass tacks, but, again, it wasn’t like, hey, today, we’re going to worry about making decisions. No, today is about brainstorming. It’s about divergence. It’s about, number one, understanding, well, what are the struggles and challenges that each of these parts of our business have? And, let’s all collectively come up with ideas, knowing that, yeah, some of those ideas might not be great, some of them might be awesome. Who knows? But let’s just utilize this right side of our brain right now, all together in this room while we’re here, and lay it all out on the table.

Pat Flynn: So we had post-it notes, we had large pieces of paper. Each team did a little presentation about what the challenges were and then led the conversation about, well, what are some ideas that you might have around this? And knowing that it was going to be like drinking from a fire hose, I think that’s one of the things that you have to really expect is that, especially if there’s a lot of excitement or interest in a particular topic or problem that we’re trying to tackle. You might get fed 50 ideas, and that could be very overwhelming. But knowing that you, then, as the team leader in that particular department have the agency to make decisions based off of that, all aligned with the mission and the values of the company, obviously, then you can definitely make some headway and move forward, and we definitely did.

Pat Flynn: I will say, before we get into even more detail about that, Matt, that even before we got into divergence and convergence, we started off on Tuesday with divergence. But even before that, we laid some ground rules. We laid some ground rules and a foundation as far as, okay, well, how do we as a team best utilize this time, and what are the rules that we set in place to make sure that we utilize this time and keep it a safe space for ideas to show up? So can you help set up how you set us up for success there?

Matt Gartland: Yeah, absolutely. There was some front end education just on this model and concept that I did even before we arrived in Denver, at least at a high level. And then in one of the initial time blocks on day one, went a little bit deeper into. And then, yeah, complemented that with your point, just around setting very intentional ground rules, almost like social contracts for the room such that there is psychological safety and permission structures in the room that people can speak freely and be respected and not find themself in a position where they might feel like they have to be defensive to get a point across. So setting clear social contract guidelines and rules and whatnot in advance, it probably doesn’t bring some of these risk factors to zero, but their intention is to very much try to defuse, in advance, defensiveness and combativeness, and, essentially, counterproductive forms of participation in a group setting.

Matt Gartland: So, yeah, that was very important, and it’s important to get everyone to buy in to these things. So even sourcing these things, I didn’t come into the room with, hey, these are the seven things we have to follow; because that would be me on some overly high tower doing that, and that’s not good. So I had some examples, but then we discussed as a team and formulated our own intentions. So if anyone listening has an appetite to explore and implement a similar framework here, you absolutely also have permission to think about, what’s unique to you and your team? And then foster that sort of a dialogue on the front end, so that everyone’s participating in the exercise of this social contract, and how you’re going to govern the time.

Pat Flynn: Yes, yes. Very, very important. There was one particular construct in particular that I remember discussing, you even had a slide for this, is this idea about the fact that sometimes we just might agree to disagree and just move on and how counterproductive that actually is. Can you explain a little bit more about what you meant by that? Because I think that’s going to be a common thing that oftentimes, especially team members, and every team is different. Some teams just happen to always agree with each other, which may or may not be the right thing, because some disagreement is actually really great; but disagreement, and then just not really making decisions out of those disagreements, is not going to be really healthy either. Can you share a little bit about that, and maybe one other particular rule that we set in place to make this experience great?

Matt Gartland: The notion of disagree and commit has become reasonably popular, or pronounced in startup culture and online, I’d say, over the last couple years. To be honest, I don’t even know who gets credit for creating the concept, though, I do believe Jeff Bezos gets some level of credit for popularizing it, because-

Pat Flynn: Disagree and commit is what we’re discussing?

Matt Gartland: Right, disagree and commit. In recent years, and this is actually the positive side of this notion of, how do we respectfully and professionally, yeah, participate in conversations where we’re not going to all agree? So getting to a spot where whatever’s being discussed… Let’s say, Pat, for you leading the session on marketing, okay, you’re the authority figure in that space, and you’re holding that space for this broader conversation where all of us are participating. But especially, then, on convergence day, where we need to arrive at decisions, you’re the final authority figure. So if, say the room is split on something, you have the empowerment to make the final call. And if I disagree with you, I need to feel safe enough to maybe say so, and not say so because I want to be just, again, combative or unhelpful, but I want to register my disagreement, and not feeling safe is, again, very counterproductive.

Matt Gartland: So we need to be able to participate that way, but then, ultimately, okay, I respect and I acknowledge your authority for marketing. So I disagree with you, but I’m going to commit to helping. I’m going to commit that, hey, this is what you’re going to do. And to the best of my ability in whatever my role is, I may need to support you as a stakeholder in the company, so I’m going to commit to supporting you in that regard. So that’s where disagree and commit comes from as a concept.

Pat Flynn: I like that.

Matt Gartland: And again, it’s the positive side. The negative version of this is more the colloquialism that’s probably been out there for gosh knows how long, which is just, oh, we’ll just agree to disagree. That’s actually counterproductive, even toxic, in that, oftentimes, and a lot of people may not even consciously be aware of this, it can be very subconscious, is, they’re going to root against you. If you just agree to disagree, there’s actually not a commitment structure there for support. You may be secretly rooting against that other person to fail, because, hey, that wasn’t my idea. I disagreed with that.

Pat Flynn: I told you so.

Matt Gartland: I told you so, exactly. So it’s all of those very negative patterns and behavior structures that, when you think about a team as large as ours, and 12 can be large or small depending on who’s listening to this, but 12 is substantial. If we have a culture that’s unfortunately rooted in agree to disagree terminology and in head space, which I don’t think we do, but if we did, then that would be a problem. That would be a risk, because we wouldn’t have individuals within teams, like our CX team being our largest right now, or even cross team, marketing plus CX plus operations. If we’re not supporting each other and we’re not committed to doing that work, then we’re going to have problems. So that’s this, yeah, that’s the very stark contrast between, again, these, I guess, statements of disagree and commit versus agree to disagree. They could not be more different.

Pat Flynn: And then the final thing to chat about with regards to this structure and the retreat, and we’ll talk a little bit about what we got out of it as a team and a little bit about where we’re headed next year as a result of this is, you can have a very amazingly productive time together, and then go back home and then nothing changes. How does one’s company ensure that decisions that were made at a retreat such as this are actually implemented and things are followed up on?

Matt Gartland: Yeah, I’m glad we’re ending on this point, Pat, thank you. Three interconnected things come to mind. One is prep on the front end of the summit or experience itself. So every team did prepare for their different departments. So you for marketing, Sara Jane for production, for example, the key areas of their teams that they needed help solving. The purpose of this event, and we should have maybe said this earlier, is to solve problems. And the thesis statement is, how do you, with a team, when you have a team, how does the team solve critical problems together? That’s the core focus.

Matt Gartland: So getting on the front end, this is still number one, each authority figure for the different teams to work with their teams and consolidate a short list of, these are the key problems that we see and feel within the team that we need to solve for, and we want to tap into the collective brain power of the whole team to do that. So the prep on the front end is really important to understand, what are those problem zones that we want to try to solve for when we do, in fact, get into the room?

Matt Gartland: And then number two is, once we do complete the experience together and, again, that terminates or concludes with the convergence work, at least for us, on day two, then each of those, again, team leaders are making commitments to the room verbally, out loud, that, okay, these are the 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, the number doesn’t necessarily matter, but these are the things that we’re going to commit to as the potential solutions to our identified problems that we’ve been discussing for two days. To register those commitments, it’s a bit of, again, a social contract pattern, then everyone gets that socialized. Around the room, they’re written down. In our case, we had those on slides, everyone had slides. So that is essentially the artifact, number two, here that helps to move into action. These are the things that we’re going to do.

Matt Gartland: And then number three is, because we have that artifact number two coming out of our time together, then we need to start breaking those things down into, essentially, projects. Okay, this is a big thing that we want to do. And I know Pat, you’ve taught this in different ways for years, about how you take something and you got to chunk it down into more manageable pieces, and then you got to put that, eventually, on the timeline; and okay, this thing is going to take a quarter, it’s going to take three months to do, or this thing is massive. It’s going to take a whole bloody year to do, so I might need some tent poles or mile markers, milestones throughout the year to make sure that I’m making the right progress towards completing this thing.

Matt Gartland: So that’s how you go from, again, pure, raw, right brain creative brainstorming through to really empowered decision making through cognition, through convergence, into, then, an action plan that makes sense and is manageable.

Pat Flynn: I love this. It reminds me of advice that I once received about going to just events, conferences, and going in with a certain set of understanding of what you might need help with, going in finding the right people to connect with and build relationships with, the right sessions to go to, and then collect that information. And then go back home with an understanding of, okay, what are the projects that are now going to happen as a result? I think a lot of us can, perhaps, even better relate to the idea of going to an event, coming back home, and then everything is the way it was. And for something as big as this, it’s definitely really, really important to understand, so I’m so grateful that we were able to capture these thoughts here soon after our event has just ended.

Pat Flynn: And that’s not to say that this only works for large teams, this can work for small teams, and it doesn’t even have to feel as formal. I think there was something to be said for formalizing this and bringing people together and having nice dinners and whatnot, or whatever’s possible. But, at the same time, just providing a space for you and other leadership in your team to have similar discussions, and approach problems in a divergent and then convergent way, and then break projects down into whatever you might need to do to move forward, is going to be really smart. And I think that this episode is going to provide a lot of inspiration for people, Matt. Again, I appreciate you bringing this to our team and having us utilize this and understand the language, and, hopefully, people listening here could either utilize it with their team or bring it to their higher ups to potentially use as a starting point for how they work.

Pat Flynn: Awesome stuff. Let’s go really quick here. What the one big thing that came out of the event for you as far as a change or project that SPI will now move forward with? And then I’ll finish with one as well, and then we can call it. I know it’s the holidays right now as people are listening, so we wanted to just hit you over the head with some major value here. But as far as SPI’s future and what’s coming in 2022, what’s one thing that is now going to happen or is a project for us as a result of what we’ve diverged and then converged on during the summit together?

Matt Gartland: I think it’s impossible to not just highlight community. We’ve been investing into that for two years now and have had preliminary vision and certain, I would say, thesis statements just around how important community would be for the business in the future. And this was a time in Denver where we met some of the community team that we have hired recently that we haven’t met, Tony from New York and Jillian from Breckenridge, Colorado, actually, talking about not just what the CX team that our community experience team is looking to do, but how important community is to the entire business model.

Matt Gartland: And on the business side, I’ve been saying maybe for at least a year, potentially longer, that our increased intention is to put community at the center of the business model. This isn’t just an add-on thing. It’s not just another way or a different way to build a audience. I know that you and I, Pat, see audience and community like they’re overlapping circles, but they’re distinct things. So it was just tremendously validating to see so much energy, not just from the CX team, but community was discussed in many different ways, really, across every department, every team.

Matt Gartland: So that has empowered even further discussion and decision making since Denver, even in the few weeks that it’s been, to think about, yeah, how much can we really double or triple down on community in terms of new projects that inform new programming, potentially new tiers of membership for our community, et cetera? So it’s a really rewarding tailwind, I think, that we have now in terms of the team’s buy-in and the aligned thinking to what community can be for the future of SPI.

Pat Flynn: So good, so good. That’s influencing a lot of our decisions, even on the marketing side of things. And the big thing that came out of the retreat for us on the marketing side is, oftentimes people are coming to the website and they’re a little bit confused in terms of where to begin and where to start. So we’re really going to focus in on helping you understand where you’re at with a very specific process to help you go from… Whether you’re just starting out, literally, scratch, or you have a business and you want to grow it, we want to help you on your journey and help you find the things that are going to be most helpful to you much more quickly. And that may involve something like a quiz or some sort of questionnaire to help place you. The benefit being, then, you’ll be served the right things as opposed to, hey, here’s our library of 1800 articles and 1600 podcasts, go find it.

Pat Flynn: We can take a little bit more proactive approach of providing a little bit more of a personalized experience, which then leads into SPI Pro, which then leads into offerings of specific courses that may be just right at the right time for somebody versus shouting from the rooftops and just going, hey, guys, we got a podcast course. Anybody who wants a podcast course, come on in, and that’s how it’s felt for a while. And we want to change the story, and we want to tell more story with relation to that as well.

Pat Flynn: So that’s what I’m most excited about, obviously, being on the marketing team, but there’s been so many decisions like this that will impact, truly, the future of the business in such a positive way, and we’re so excited to continue to take all of you on this ride with us and share with you while we’re building, what’s working and what’s not, and take you along the ride. So, Matt, thank you so much for coming on, and dropping this knowledge for us today. I think it’s going to be very inspirational to people. Happy holidays to you and your family, and just thank you for being an amazing partner.

Matt Gartland: Always a blast to be here. It’s great work, and excited to see and hear feedback from those creators and entrepreneurs out there that, yeah, might start to harness this stuff. So, yeah, it’s a great time to see this, and just to be grateful and thankful for what we have, but feel that motivation to continue to work hard and help others through this work. And I know very much that this way of thinking and collaborating, whether it’s just you and a business partner, or if you have a team also, yeah, this will help you very, very much.

Pat Flynn: Awesome. Thank you, Matt. Everybody stick around, I got a few more announcements, but, Matt, we appreciate you.

Pat Flynn: All right, I hope you enjoyed that episode. It is always a pleasure to have Matt on, and Matt is just a wealth of knowledge when it comes to team and operations and helping me take all the vision that I have and all of the crazy ideas and the creative, and actually help put them together, and actually help manage them, and actually help build the team behind it. And this team retreat that happened in Denver was so, so important, and it’s going to be hugely important in the history of our company. And hopefully, this episode will be an important history moment for you as well.

Pat Flynn: So I hope you enjoyed that episode. Let us know what you think. Hit me up @PatFlynn on Twitter and/or Instagram. And you’re always welcome to send us an email as well. But we are so, so excited for the new year because we have a lot of things coming that, again, came out of this Denver conversation with the entire team, and we’re here to support you, and we cannot wait to work with you even further. We’d love for you to, over the holidays, check out SPI Pro to consider it as a part of your 2020 education and community, to help you and your business move forward. So if you want to check that out,, and happy holidays to you and yours. Stay safe, stay well, and look out for next week’s episode to finish off and cap off the year with an amazing episode, amazing guest with some new language that you may not have heard of before with relation to your business and your life. Thanks again, I appreciate you. We’ll see you on the next one. Cheers. Peace out. Team Flynn for the win.

Pat Flynn: Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income podcast at I’m your host, Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is Sara Jane Hess. Our series producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. The Smart Passive Income podcast is a production of SPI Media. We’ll catch you in the next session. (silence).

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