Preparing for Xcelerate on the Road: The adventure leading to the road and the trip of a lifetime
Getting to the RV was its own separate journey, beginning with actually saying it out loud, “We are going on a 7-month RV trip.” Saying it aloud was a huge step in accepting the trip that we knew would be beneficial to us as a family and to Xcelerate. Then, we had to put those words into practice.
We began by putting our trip on our two-page strategic plan (thanks, Crankset Group!) and thinking through how to empower our leadership and team to be confident enough to lead the company without us. So, we did a trial run.
Just for a day or so at a time. Then, a week. Then, a month – and each time, gaps would show up that needed problem solving.
We called these opportunities:
- Proposal writing. Jessica usually did this, and it was very quickly clear to us that we would need to have a team well-versed in writing proposals if the trip was going to happen at all. The proposal is typically the last interaction a potential client has before deciding on joining Xcelerate, so it was important that our team could be effective at it. Upon her return, Jessica created proposal templates based on client revenue that would be easy for sales to deliver to the potential client.
- Team autonomy. We knew our team had to be autonomous for this trip to be feasible. With realizing we needed to focus on business development instead of operations, we handed off all of those operational tasks to our team. We also instituted teams and team leads to create more community, and for training and troubleshooting, since being on the road meant being much less available. In May 2019 during the trip, we also held a Leadership Xcape, where our leadership team met us in Seattle. We reconnected after being on the road, and at that point it had been five months. Here we began to strategically plan for 2020 to avoid being so far behind when we returned in July. Our team leads were crucial in keeping our leadership team free to run their departments; as a result, all our steps were a win-win.
- Company culture. A third opportunity didn’t come from any urgent matter that arose when we left the business, but from our own personal reflection on what kind of company culture we wanted to come back to, as well as live and thrive in, while on the road. We solidified our core values and Xcelerate’s vision, which we call our “Big Why:” Helping Families Thrive.
- Process map everything. A fourth, most-crucial opportunity was to process map everything our company did in order for current and new stakeholders (Xcelerate’s employees) could create the same experience for every client. The process of writing down everything we did to create the overall process, from sales to contract to delivery, took two years! However, without process mapping, which we call “Freedom Mapping,” the freedom to let the process run the delivery would be nonexistent … calling us back to places in the business we should have left while on the road.
All of these opportunities cam about because we had the courage to leave. It’s hard to leave your business and allow areas to fall apart. Yet, it was vital leading up to leaving for 7 months. Our final leave was 8 weeks. We were able to leave for longer periods of time culminating in a substantial 8-week vacation.
Each time we would take a vacation, we rented out our house to become accustomed to the process, which is what we did while on the road for 7 months. Since we knew we were going to be in such tight quarters, 200 square feet to be exact, we knew we also needed to prepare as a family to leave our much larger, less mobile home behind, as well as our friends and normal routines.
We set a specific date and had going away parties. This way, it was sure and clear, and any emotions that come with leaving had to be dealt with openly and healthily. In order to facilitate healthiness and be ready to be in such close quarters, we also did therapy together as a family. As the parents, we took an extra step in hiring a personal trainer so we would be in the best physical shape we could be in for the RV trip, which is much more hands on than typical vacations.
All this preparation took about two years. It was a process we had faith in and took the leap to make being on the road for more than half a year possible. The preparation was an adventure in and of itself, but it paid off … at least, it did after the first week of being on the road. Curious how the actual trip was? Find out more about it!
We are also forever grateful to our stakeholder, Amy, for allowing us to use her 36-foot travel trailer for our journey!