The Corporate Rebels Handbook Series: Operating Rhythm

Pim de Morree
Written by Pim de Morree June 17, 2023

This post is part of an ongoing series that gives you an insider’s look at the Corporate Rebels company handbook. If you’re new to this series, we suggest reading the quick intro post that explains why we’re doing this—and what to expect. In today’s post: our operating rhythm.

And now, we’ve reached one of the more mundane parts of the Corporate Rebels Handbook: operating rhythm.

No, this part isn’t as sexy as, say, radical transparency, freedom, purpose & values, but it’s insanely important because it spells out how we get stuff done.

The benefits of a clear operating rhythm

We've learned many things from pioneering firms over the years. Many of these lessons we implement in our own company. Without a doubt one of the more powerful ones has been the introduction of a clearly defined yet simple operating rhythm.

With that I mean a cadence or a heartbeat that serves as the foundation of how we work, communicate and align. It clarifies the daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly activities that create the minimum viable structure we need to self-organize around.

A company's operating rhythm isn’t as sexy as, say, radical transparency, freedom, purpose & values, but it’s insanely important because it spells out how we get stuff done.
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It's what keeps a team of highly autonomous individuals together and focused. Here's how it works for us:

The Corporate Rebels' operating rhythm

We start with more operational elements that have a higher frequency and work our way towards the more strategic ones that happen less frequently.

Daily rhythm

We try to avoid meetings for the most part. At the same time, we love to know what others are working on and how we can support each other. Usually, those two needs don't go well together as many teams try to fix one (alignment) by implementing the other (meetings).

Even a short daily stand-up (popular in 'agile' methodologies) becomes annoying and cumbersome if you don't always want to (or can) be in the same location at the same time.

That's why we use our internal collaboration tool, Basecamp, for a short daily update. Every day at 4.30pm, Basecamp automatically asks 'What did you work on today'.

We use it to share information like what we've worked on, what we've accomplished, and so on. Mostly, they're just a few bullet points. It takes less then a minute and supports in feeling connected to each other and each other's work.

Weekly rhythm

Similarly, each Monday morning at 9am Basecamp asks everyone on the team to share what they will be working on that week. Once again, a few simple bullet points do the job.

It helps us understand who's working on what and how we can support each other. Plus, it focuses everyone to reflect and focus on their most important tasks at hand.

Monthly rhythm

On the first Monday of every month, we have a crucial team meeting we call Rebel Day. It's our only meeting with the whole team.

This meeting is held at our office but can be attended virtually as well (cheers to working wherever you want).

The main goal of Rebel Day: sharing information (i.e. goals, performance, finances, successes and failures) and tackling company wide issues. Even though it's called Rebel Day, we mostly finish these meetings in 1.5-2.5 hours.

A lot goes on during this meeting, so we’ll discuss this in more detail in an upcoming post dedicated to Rebel Day.

Quarterly rhythm

We set our main company goals on a quarterly basis. Joost and I gather input from the teams, propose the main goals based on the input and then we use consent-decision making during Rebel Day to pin them down.

Since there's a bit more detail to this process as well, we’ll go over this more in the upcoming Goal Setting post.

The Corporate Rebels operating rhythm

That’s it! There’s obviously a little more to the monthly and quarterly aspects, but we’ll save that for those respective posts. And now you know what we’re doing during the week.

See you in the next post in which we discuss our infamous Rebel Day.

Written by Pim de Morree
Pim de Morree
As co-founder of Corporate Rebels I focus on: researching, writing, speaking, and building our company.
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