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The Corporate Rebels Handbook Series - Rebel Day

Pim de Morree
Written by Pim de Morree July 30, 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, we cover a very special day: Rebel Day!

As a team, we don't meet often. Mostly, we avoid meetings and prefer working asynchronously. However, we do have some important moments to align and connect as a team.

One of them is 'Rebel Day'. It takes place on the first Thursday of every month.

Rebel Day is an important day for our team and our company, as it’s when we meet to share our progress, discuss company-wide topics, facilitate peer coaching, share financials, and a bunch of other important stuff.

The day is divided up into nine distinct steps in the form of a meeting. And here’s how it all works, as per our company handbook.

The basics

Let's start with the basics:

  • The meeting is led by a facilitator. We rotate the role each meeting. The facilitator is responsible for guiding the team through the agenda and sticking to the agenda and meeting format.
  • The secretary (also a rotating role) is responsible for writing down action points. No elaborate meeting notes, just a simple list of to-dos in the form of 'who, what, when'.
  • We talk in turns. To avoid never-ending debates dominated by a few people, we talk in turns. This allows everyone to speak up, contribute, and add to the discussion. It takes a bit of getting used to (for me at least) but is one of the simplest yet powerful ways of upgrading your meetings.
  • Join in person or online. Since we provide full freedom to decide where you work, it's up to everyone to decide whether to come to the office or join online.
Rebel Day is an important day for our team and our company, as it’s when we meet to share our progress, discuss company-wide topics, facilitate peer coaching, share financials, and a bunch of other important stuff.
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Now, let's dive into the day's agenda.

1. Check-in

Purpose: to share how everyone is feeling and see where they’re at while entering the meeting

Run by: the facilitator

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Before diving right into such a big meeting, we first need to simply check in and see how everyone is doing. The facilitator goes around the room and allows each person to state their feelings and whatever else may be on their mind.

2. Peer coaching (three times a year)

Purpose: to help each other to develop and grow

Run by: the facilitator

Each March, June, and October, we undergo peer coaching. This step involves rounds of 1-on-1 conversations to share what you feel someone can stop/start/continue doing to grow—a practice we learned from the pioneers over at Netflix.

After the conversations, each person shares their takeaways.

3. Open agenda items

Purpose: to inform, make decisions, or gather advice on specific topics

Run by: the facilitator + secretary

This is a major part of Rebel Day and is where we get a ton of important stuff done. It helps us to remain aligned on exactly how we get shit done while looking for ways to improve our processes, along with tackling any other pressing issues that need addressing.

Why?

Because things change—we need to remain fluid rather than imposing rigid structures that don’t allow room for improvement or adapting. And over time, we may notice better ways to handle things or notice things others are doing that could be improved.

Here’s an overview of how the process works:

  1. Together with the secretary, the facilitator creates an agenda using the items we’ve all compiled in Basecamp, along with any new ones that may come up on the day itself.

  2. Then, we clarify the goal (inform, decide, gather advice).

  3. Once ready, we work through the items.

Especially point 2 above is vitally important. Before we address a topic it's crystal clear what the person who has added to topic wants to achieve. This leads to highly focused conversations with clear outcomes.

For each of the three options, we have a separate process. And take into account that we always stick to talking in turns.

Inform:

  • Share information

  • Clarifying questions

  • Round of reactions

Decide (consent):

  • Introduce topic

  • Propose decision

  • Clarifying questions

  • Round of reactions

  • Restate proposal

  • Round of objections

  • If needed, integrate objections and go back to “restate proposal”

Gather advice:

  • Introduce the advice you’re seeking

  • Round of clarifying questions

  • Round of advice

  • If not satisfied, we go through the steps again

4. Goals

Purpose: to share what we’re working on and how we’re progressing towards our quarterly goals

Run by: the facilitator

What good are goals if you’re not reviewing them over time? During goal-setting and review, we do the following:

  1. Take a look back at each person's previous month’s goals

  2. Look ahead at each person's upcoming month’s goals

  3. Update progress on “The Wall” in our office. These are the main team goals we set each quarter.

  4. Reach consent on new quarterly goals (Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct)

  5. Reach consent on quarterly celebrations (Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct)

We also use this time to determine the celebrations of hitting our goals… but more on that in a future post.

5. Open book management

Purpose: to share insights into financials and key metrics

Run by: various people

We believe in radical transparency for everything from website hits to finances, and this is where we go over them. In full detail. Various people run the different steps to this portion of the meeting.

1. The first step involves going through community statistics, such as:

  • Social media numbers

  • Satisfaction scores of our courses

  • Newsletter engagement and stats

  • Website stats

2. In the second step, we share the company’s current profit & loss account and financial forecast plus the new clients we'll be working with and/or onboarding to the Academy.

3. Finally, we go over in-depth financials, but only during February, May, August, and November. This includes a full presentation of:

  • Profit & loss account

  • Quarterly profit share

6. Updating roles

Purpose: to create, change, or delete roles

Run by: the facilitator + secretary

As you probably know by now, we don’t use strict job descriptions—people are free to create, change, or remove roles and responsibilities as needed.

We use the consent decision-making process to create, change, or delete roles, which looks like this:

  • Proposal to create/change/delete role

  • Clarifying questions

  • Round of reactions

  • Restate proposal

  • Round of objections

  • If needed, integrate objections and go back to “restate proposal”

“Perhaps the most edifying part of Rebel Day, we love to celebrate successes—but we also love to acknowledge fuckups. You really can’t have one without the other.”

7. Successes & fuckups

Purpose: to celebrate what went well and learn from what didn’t go well

Run by: the facilitator

Perhaps the most edifying part of Rebel Day, we love to celebrate successes—but we also love to acknowledge fuckups. You really can’t have one without the other.

After all, we all openly celebrate achievements, so why not also openly discuss the stuff that made us fall flat on our faces? Better to talk them over than pretend they didn’t happen or that no one noticed.

The process shakes out like this:

We start with a talking round of fuckups and see if we can connect them to our purpose & values. The very obvious question during this portion is:

  • What did you learn?

Since we like ending on a good note, we conclude this part with a talking round of successes, which we also try to connect to our purpose & values. This part simply involves asking people which successes they wish to share or emphasize. And really, it typically feels pretty good to hear about.

8. Check-out

Purpose: to reflect and grow as a team

Run by: the facilitator

This is a meeting, so we need a proper conclusion. The check-out portion closes things out with all of us engaging in a talking round of closing reflections about the meeting and how we can improve next time.

That’s it!

A peek behind the curtain

We hope you enjoyed this behind-the-scenes look at how we run Rebel Day and maybe even took some inspiration from it. It’s worth noting that a lot of our practices have come as a result of us doing the same thing with other organizations, so please feel free to try any of these processes out with your own teams. (And if so, definitely let us know how it goes.)

That’s it for this chapter! See you in the next post: Goal-Setting (and Celebrations!)

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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