On Fridays, we dress casual. On Wednesdays, we meet. Every Wednesday, at 9:30am, the Biocom office has a stand up meeting at the watering hole- the kitchen and dinning area. The meetings are two steps below casual and the attendance is made up of whoever happens to be in the office at the time. If you missed one, no one would think twice of it. Brandon extended the invitation for me to attend my first stand up meeting. I had much higher expectations of what was gonna take place. The purpose of stand up meetings are only to share general updates on the exciting work of Biocom employees. If you’re gonna be out of the office a day or two, you share that. If you have a report coming out soon and you’re gonna be busy non-stop until then, you share that. Everyone is given an opportunity to speak. If you have nothing to add, then a simple “pass” will do. Being the “new guy”, I didn’t have that option. A casual introduction was given. And given again next week for those who weren’t in attendance at the last weekly stand-up. These stand up meetings really allow for the sharing of individuals personality. When it was her time to speak, one colleague flipped her hair and said “nothing new with me”. She had just had recently had extensions put in and here hair dyed. The crowd loved it. “That’s hard to follow”.
Once a month, the stand up takes on a new form as the “all staff” meeting. A genetically mutated stand-up meeting on steroids, but with food, handouts, and if you’re not in the office or you work from the LA or Bay Area locations, you call in. There is a major jump in attendance. There is a formal invitation shared via email. I was invited personally from a colleague, just in case I didn’t get the message. “You might wanna go in 15 minutes early, there’s food”. I learned my lesson early on: when there’s a food announcement, you go immediately or you risk missing out. “Oh and no phones”. The no phones rule was reiterated on the All-Staff Meeting handouts, along with a friendly reminder to clean up after yourself and, for ladies, that there is no privacy screens under the tables that line the perimeter of the room where we sit. There was also a compilation of the new members for May 2015, 25 in total. The handout had the updates each department would cover. HR, Public Policy, BI, Bay Area, LA., Membership, Purchasing Group, and so on. Although in appearance, the meeting seemed light years more professional than regular weekly stand-ups, there was still a good amount of personality radiating from each group. We got pretty off topic. But the conversation was enjoyable and Pete, a co-worker, provided plenty of comic relief. Once we got too off topic, some would sarcastically yell out the next item on the handout, only to stir up more laughter. Last on the agenda was anniversaries and shout outs. “Oscar Rodarte, three years”. Oscar received an applause followed by an envelopes. Joe Panetta, 20 years. Received an wholesome applause, even in his absence. He wasn’t phoned in that Wednesday morning either- some conference?
Joe Panetta, the CEO, was in attendance at the most recent stand up meeting. Joe got it started- the most senior employee present usually leads the meeting- holding an award Biocom received from a life-science industry leader in Canada. A real maple leaf sealed in side glass. Joe strongly emphasized that the award, waving it around in his hands as he spoke, was for each and every one of Biocom’s employees. He handed it off and suggested it be displayed at the front of the office. Joe also began to speak on how we often overlook our relationship with Canada as a country, because of how similar we may think we are and our proximity. We went around the room, an announcement about Biocom’s upcoming community service project with Ocean Discovery was given. “Pass”, “pass”, “pass”. Brenda, the office assistant, roughly the most important person in the office, began to present Joe his envelope since he wasn’t at the last weekly meeting. He shares a story about when he was hired 20 years ago and was asked to fire half the staff at the time. 20 years ago he called an all-staff meeting. Only five people showed up. He knew then he had problems, when the CEO calls an all staff and people are missing. Joe was informed the total staff was nine at the time. Those in attendance disagreed and said there was only six. Either way, whoever did not make that meeting was let go. Along with the current CEO who he had been asked to replace. Who he found sitting in his office when arrived 20 years ago. Joe Panetta was asked to fire the very person he was replacing… Luckily she quietly stepped aside before he was given the chance to.