Playbook 04 - Work

Playbook 04 - Work

September 7, 2021

Communication

Solid communication is the lifeblood of any organization.

Working - Trello

Talking about work - Slack

Keeping all decisions in Trello serves as documentation, provides context, and clarity as we go forward.

Examples:

  • what color should the button be? => Trello
  • What time should we meet for lunch? => Slack
Meetings
  1. Meetings must be kept to a minimum - prefer async communication
  2. Good meetings - sprints + training
  3. Meetings have agenda (including 1:1s)
  4. Group meetings have all participants submit necessary issues to organizer beforehand so meeting can be effectively planned
  5. End with action items - who's doing what, when, and when accountability will happen
  6. Conclusions of meeting shared in Slack
  7. Get feedback on effectiveness of meeting (good agenda, provided value to you, easy to contribute, correct cadence?)
Slack practices
  1. Avoid private dms - make it in trello or channel
  2. Avoid private groups - make a private channel with appropriate context if the context truly should not be shared with all.
  3. Use public channels - Avoid use of @channel and @here to not disturb all.
  4. Use Threads - This prevents excessive notifications
  5. Consolidate messages (ie, not a separate message for every line haha).
  6. Context - Don't just post an article, post it with bullet point nuggets from it for those who don't have the time to read the article.
  7. Async is awesome - there's always something to do, please don't make a conversation synchronous unless it is truly urgent
Zoom practices
  1. Video on if possible - keeps us connected and engaged
  2. Not rude to drop off if your issues are completed
  3. Mute yourself if not speaking
  4. Prefer to use headset / microphone for best experience for all
Other practices
  1. No Acronyms - creates headaches more than it helps.
  2. Separate distinct thoughts - different thread for each to keep topics straight

Impeccable Agreements

  1. Precisely defined
  2. Fully agreed by all relevant people
  3. Written down
  4. No room for error

Examples:

  • Bad: Let's do this again after lunch - what time? I can take a walk right?
  • Good: Let's start this again at 1:00 pm. All will be present prior to 1:00 pm - no room for error.

Okay to not make an impeccable agreement if you can't. Not okay is to make an agreement and not keep it.

Repeated missed agreements will result in feedback, performance management process, and possibly termination. Ultimately, the goal is to help the employee make habits that prevent additional broken agreements.

Feedback

Feedback, done well, improves trust. It removes guesswork as to who's thinking what, enables improving as a group, and keeps transparency high.

We aim to cultivate a feedback mindset which includes the following:

  1. All feedback is personal because work is personal.
  2. We give it as friends, we don't withold it because we want to remain pals.
  3. Tough conversations are the most valuable conversations.
  4. Good feedback comes with practice, so we practice often.
  5. Clear is kind, unclear is unkind. Sharp as a scalpel to keep it exactly where it needs to be. We don't minimize or maximize issues.
  6. Respectful and candid.
  7. Includes both positive and negative, every time, in at least 2:1 ratio. Everyone needs to improve, and everyone does more well than not.
  8. Okay to be wrong, just be honest.
  9. Recieve feedback with gratitude.
  10. Listen attentively when recieving gratitude - avoid becoming defensive, become curious.
  11. Create a resolution together, and do it. This is how you share you care.

To practice, use a thanks for, wish that format.

Good Example:

Thanks for: Being more vocal in recent team meetings. During the last five team meetings, I noticed that you started to speak up a lot more. You’ve shared your thoughts about the status of the OKRs and took the initiative to propose new solutions to hit the targets. By taking that initiative to propose a new approach, it seems like the team will hit their targets way before the end of Q4. I started to see other team members feel more comfortable to share new ideas, great job!

Wish that: You let people finish their full thoughts before replying with your own. I noticed in the last two sales calls with our partners, Fran and Robert, you didn’t allow them to finish their thoughts. You quickly jumped into response mode without allowing them to flesh out their ideas and questions; I noticed that they weren’t as engaged after you did this. I know you are super excited to highlight everything we have to offer and we know you know your stuff! But, because they weren’t engaged, we weren’t able to fully understand their concerns and how best we can solve them. It seemed as if we had to circle back and pull-out their thoughts towards the end of the meeting.

Bad example - note that it sugar coats, is not candid, and tries to add guilt on passively:

Wish that: You were slightly more punctual to our meetings. I know you are busy and it’s ok when it happens, but I’d like us to start on time more.

Decisions

Two-way door decisions means we can revert fairly easily.

One-way door decisions means we cannot revert.

One-way decisions must have manager approval. Two-way decisions can be made autonomously up to the agreed upon limit.

We want everyone to be able to make as many decisions as possible, as that allows us to grow quickly.

We will maintain the following mindset:

  • Speed matters - decisions must be made
  • Decision is better than indecision
  • Have a clear decision maker
  • Break decisions into smaller ones, discussed in smaller teams
  • Listen to data, not the loudest voice

Decision Consensus Making:

Low impact issues - Decision Maker makes the decision, and informs all. Major impact issues (company vision, essence mutation, etc) - dilemma discussed from scratch (no straw man). All share equally. Consensus agreement if possible. In between (majority of issues) - Decision Maker makes straw man (first attempt at answer), shares, gets feedback, then makes final decision.

Major thanks to https://conscious.org for serving as an amazing jump pad.


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