Small town values are alive and well in Whistler, the heart and soul of our business. This is a place where there’s always a friendly smile at the grocery store, a flurry of volunteers for any given event, a nod ‘hello’ on your walk through the village — a special kind of place. Whistler may welcome more than 2.5 million visitors from around the world every year, but part of its charm is that at Whistler’s heart there’s a small town community vibe underneath the glossy international resort.
But here’s the thing: doing business, especially big business, in a small town isn’t always easy. Inevitably, you won’t see eye to eye with everyone. Our plans at Gibbons may not jive with someone else’s ideas. The issues get even more complicated when both sides don’t share the same values.
And in Whistler, there’s nowhere to hide, and everyone likes to talk.
The person you’re at odds with will likely be at the next Chamber luncheon, or you could run into them in the parking lot. What do you say when you’re thrown into a social situation and you know you fundamentally don’t agree with the person sitting across the dinner table, and you know they’ve been talking badly about you? These kinds of scenarios used to weigh on me. Truth be told, they used to weigh me down.
Never was this more apparent to me than last fall when Apres Ski hit the air, beaming beauty shots of Whistler into millions of homes in the U.S. Local reaction was swift and varied. At Gibbons we were doing everything we could to show the true Whistler — its beauty, its fun, its sassiness — and drum up good business to the resort. And yet, some people didn’t share our enthusiasm for the project. It would have been very easy to be sucked into a spiral of self-doubt and negativity. We could have tucked our tails between our legs and hung our heads.
And yet, I knew we were on the right path. Apres Ski has been good for Gibbons. It has been for Whistler too.
There will always be people and organizations out there whose way of doing business doesn’t align with the Gibbons way of doing business. At our core, we have built an organization that values trustworthiness, honesty, and integrity.
This is something I hold dear; this is not just lip service. For me to live with 100 percent freedom, I have to be aligned with people who share these same values, in business and in life.
That brings me to my epiphany of sorts: Acceptance. Moving on. Redirecting my energy.
Yes, not everyone shares our values but rather than dwell on the conflict, I’ve actively sought out ways to ease it, seeking out the people we are at odds with and paving the way forward, trying to collaborate rather than compromise. This is especially important in a small town like Whistler. In some cases, our values will be too far apart to ever align. But that’s OK. We move forward and stay focused on our task at hand — taking our small town business ideas and values to the world. Stay tuned. We’ll be giving you more to talk about!
Feature image: Mike Crane – Tourism Whistler