Team Work: The Bare Essentials
The email detox experiment we are running generated a very positive response. So, here we share more on our experiments. The focus this time is on working rhythm and the tools we use.
I can tell you: for a bunch of people who don’t like structure, this is as structured as it gets!
Structure for the structure-less
We constantly adapt. We learn from the best, put it to the test, and figure out what works for us. Through experimentation we try to get better at how we do what we do.
Our way of working is not perfect. It never will be. We’re allergic to meetings, email, tools and other shit that makes one feel productive but adds no value. Oh, and we hate lots of structure. Over time, we’ve developed a way of working that looks like this:
1. Monthly rhythm
Every first Monday of the month is a powerful day. For a half-day we sit together as a team (Ellen, Joost, Pim) and discuss:
We use Trello to keep track of who’s working on what. We review last month, and then discuss next month’s goals. It helps to focus on what matters most at a particular point in time. And it helps us to say “no” a lot more!
We initially divided tasks into six categories on which we are focussed: the blog, the book, the movement, research, making money (more on that below), and ventures. Recently, we added one more—experiments. It shows the monthly workplace experiments we’re running.
It’s a great way to create transparency on who does what. It helps us keep track of progress. It’s a simple way to practice result based working.
If needed, we take a moment to reflect and provide each other with feedback. Sometimes we use the simple ‘stop, start, continue’ method that Netflix uses. Other times we follow no specific structure at all.
Celebrate achievements and fuck-ups
We take some time to reflect on the big achievements and fuck-ups of the past month. It helps us to value the cool things we’re doing. While we’re doing this better than before, it still needs improving. We’re working on that at the moment.
Each month we look at numbers that help us know if we’re growing our impact. We use community stats from Twitter and website stats from Google Analytics. It’s a way to check the pulse of community involvement.
We review important financial documents—the income statement and the cash-flow forecast. Everyone is then aware of current finances. No secrets, no surprises.
This is a very basic version of open-book management. But all we need right now.
2. Client week
While a lot of people wonder how we make money, we’re transparent about that. For more, check our earlier blog post “How To Make Money With A Blog (And No Business Plan)”.
We love to share as much free, high quality content as possible. This blog is the main vehicle. There is also the book we’re working on. But that is more an investment than a business line. We believe it will be a good way to increase impact.
To fund that, and make new investments, we recently decided to cluster our client work. Every month we spend one week with clients around the world supporting them to make work more fun. In the other three weeks we focus on non-paid activities like research, writing, building the movement and developing new opportunities.
3. Rebel Day
The last Friday of the month is our so-called Rebel Day. The day is focused on team building, learning, sharing knowledge and helping each other out.
Rebel Days were originally every other week. But since Corporate Rebels and Revolt have split, we’ve changed that to a monthly frequency. The focus has now shifted from decision-making and alignment to team building and knowledge sharing.
4. Weekly kick-start
Last thing on this list is a very lightweight practice. On Mondays we go through the week very generally to share who is up to what. It’s a sneak peak into each other’s main activities—and a great way to anticipate to all the cool stuff about to happen.
Experiment and adapt
For us, this simple combination of practices is the basic rhythm of our work. But what works now will probably be shit in a few months. This makes sense—our activities regularly change.
By setting ourselves experiments on a monthly basis we allow our way of working to adapt to changing needs.