Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Brooks tapering camp: Day 4

Early running for a few but tapering for most of us this Sunday morning, as we prepared to leave after these vibrant three days at Crystal Mountain. Exchange of emails at breakfast and promises to stay in touch via our various electronic channels: Brooks’ websites and newsletters, our ID Yahoo! or Facebook groups, blogs, emails. I had brought my laptop to the lodge to show the pictures of the third day. Apparently, looking at some tired faces this morning, I had captured some of the excitement of the first part of the night, but missed some as I left the party around 10 pm to blog and upload my photo album. Maybe it is better this way from a privacy standpoint… ;-)
It is time to thank Brooks for such an amazing event, perfectly organized and offering so many activities over 3 days. Like someone said to Jesse and the team: “you guys are so detail-oriented, you injected in this event the same professionalism and passion as you put in your running shoes!” Indeed, the level of detail and personalization Brooks’ Marketing offered us at this camp surpassed what you find in the best and costly professional conferences. What stroked me the most is this constant balance between information sharing and feedback gathering, in a relaxed and playful environment. The Brooks team kept providing us with information on the products and corporate directions, while seeking feedback and new ideas at the same time. A nice give-and-take and win-win exercise.

It was particularly enlightening to see the variety of experiences and profiles within our group of “ID campers.” This illustrates the difficulty a running shoe and apparel company faces when having to design products to cover all the needs, preferences and wishes. On one side we had ID’ers representing the track, who participated for instance in a focus group on spikes. On the other side, a few ultra runners. A few very competitive triathletes. Fans of cross-country. And many racing on roads, from 5K to marathons. Across these different types of running, we had other dimensions represented: coaches, personal trainers, athletes of all abilities, medical staff, event directors, writers. And, on another dimension, anyone from the very vocal to the more quiet ones, yet everybody remained involved and engaged throughout the camp. A great demonstration of management of group dynamics by Steve, Jesse and the team; kudos guys!
As an inaugural camp, Brooks set the bar very high for the upcoming ones, another proof of the dedication of the brand to running and being a visionary and leader in the industry. The success is visible, more and more people are adhering to this vision and it is going to be exciting to see Brooks preparing its 100th anniversary in 5 years. I wish to other members of our Inspire Daily program the opportunity to participate to such a camp. To participate to Brooks' "Symphony in Blue!"I got some nice views over the Bay Area on my flight to SFO, before getting back home for a nice Father's Day celebration with a dinner prepared by the boys.
While I was having a great time in Washington, although the opposite of the required heat training for States, Agn├Ęs has arranged our plans for my upcoming “Track Meet” (that’s how Andy Jones-Wilkins likes to call Western States as we finish on the Auburn High-School track). We’ll be leaving on Wednesday then, as I will be on the panel of Interfrench's event on the topic of Leadership during mergers and acquisitions this Tuesday evening.

Talk to you later this week, from Squaw. In the meantime, go Farther, Faster... in Brooks!

PS: like for my previous 3 posts, more pictures can be found in my Picasa album.


Anonymous said...

Wow!!! Thank you for the summary of our 4 day camp. I had a great time and learned a lot. You are a great person and runner. I have added your blog to my favorite and I will be checking back to read all of the interesting things you post.

Tammy Lifka

Jean Pommier said...

Thanks, Tammy! Was great to get to know you, the other ID campers, and the Brooks gang, in person. So many fascinating stories around one common and healthy passion! Let's keep the Brooks running spirit high! ;-)