A team member recently said to me, “I really want to get to a point where I’m thriving instead of just getting through it.”
In difficult times like these, it’s hard to feel good about where you might be. We are far outside our comfort zones, feeling anxiety and uncertainty. We can’t tell if we are doing well, and it’s easy to find signs that say we’re not.
This means how we measure success as individuals and companies needs to be different. The world is presenting a tremendous opportunity to grow and change, and leaders have the opportunity to highlight this to their teams.
To “thrive” is to grow, to develop well or vigorously. Ask yourself, do you see your company and its employees growing and learning through this pandemic? Are you operating differently?
Step back from the day-to-day work of your company and take inventory of all that you are doing differently. Write down each change, no matter how small. Include the personal changes for your team members; their world has shifted. And make sure to include the old things you used to do but had to change or adapt. This list is very powerful because it describes the ways in which everyone has had to grow and change.
Just about everything we do at Atomic Object has changed since we started working remotely in March. We’re fortunate to have the ability to work away from the office and still be productive. However, no one knew how long our office would be closed, and we had to discover how to operate as a remote company.
Adapting important cultural rituals
Both of our offices have daily standup meetings at 10 a.m. Everyone is required to attend. Right now, we’re doing this remotely. As such, we’ve come up with clever ways to keep these meetings engaging for all Atoms.
Our quarterly company review meetings also continue. We now begin the online meeting with a remote CEO update. It then breaks into separate online office-level review meetings.
Additionally, we’re trying to keep on top of team morale, so we started a Friday remote Toast meeting to replace gatherings that used to occur at local watering holes after a long week.
Helping work get done at home
Everyone at Atomic suddenly had to come up with a space at home to work. To help them, we’ve delivered desks and chairs from our offices to those who requested them. This simple thing has made a huge impact.
Other Atoms had to adapt to the demands of children while working. Often this has meant new work routines with breaks in the day to accommodate their family. A few of our younger Atoms made the decision to move back in with their families to get a supportive and caring environment.
Finding new ways to work together
Previously, we had multiple online conferencing solutions. Now, Zoom has become the meeting platform of choice, and we’ve set community guidelines for how we work in Zoom together. For example, every Atom must have their video on when participating in a meeting.
We were big users of Slack before, but it has become even more important. We quickly set up a Discord server for our developers, which has allowed us to continue our important pairing practices. Our developers have found effective ways to communicate about problems they are solving. And we’ve come up with additional ways to deliver projects while working remotely.
When everything is changing, you need data to make effective decisions. We added new meetings — co-CEOs now meet twice a week with Managing Partners, and the sales team also now meets three times a week — and invested time in updating our dashboards. This informed and aligned every leader so we can effectively deal with situations as they occurr.
Our co-CEOs also started a weekly 30-minute update meeting for all Atoms. These meetings adhere to our value of Transparency and practice of open-book management. Our CEOs openly share the state of the business, discuss our dashboards, and take questions from Atoms. This has removed the uncertainty and fear Atoms had been feeling about the business.
Change Is Not Done
I’m sure your business has experienced similar changes. Make a record of these changes and share them with your team. Call out how each has required problem solving and new ways of thinking.
Then tell your team that this is how you are all growing and thriving together. This will help people feel better about how they have been performing on the uncertain road they are traveling.
You grow most from hard experiences. Embrace the challenges. Atomic has, and we are going to continue to thrive in 2020 and beyond.
- Help Your Team See When It’s Thriving – Even in a Pandemic - August 6, 2020
- Encouraging Professional Growth with the “Career Development Manager” - September 9, 2019
- An Infinite Game – How we schedule teams without losing our minds - March 7, 2019
- Why we don’t “delight” our clients – and what we do instead - December 19, 2018