Each Thanksgiving, I take some time to reflect on what I’m thankful for at work.
In the past two years, I’ve been able to share some stories about sprint retrospective process, and how it makes space for people to show gratitude. It’s felt good and true each year to title my reflections “It doesn’t get better than this.”
My experiences in the last year continue to affirm my belief that growing this company, and the team that makes it possible, is a great way to be spending my time.
Building a company is challenging work, and a great team is the key to success. Having talented, committed folks around me doesn’t just make it easier – it makes it possible. At Rival IQ, we’ve been lucky enough to build a team that is highly collaborative and flexible. Either of these characteristics in a team would be a good thing. Having both feels a bit like winning the lottery.
When I examine why I think both collaboration and flexibility stand out, I think it can only be because of one thing: a high degree of trust among the team. This Thanksgiving, I’m incredibly grateful to know I’m surrounded by a team that has a high level of trust.
Collaboration requires trust
When I say that our team is highly collaborative, my guess is that you’re thinking about a single team (e.g., marketing, engineering, sales, etc) that works well together, among their own team. While having departmental teams that function well is something we should all enjoy, that’s not what I’m talking about.
To me, a company has found magic when individuals across different teams work together, consistently, in a low-friction way. When I see one of our engineers sitting with someone in marketing to test a feature we’re building, I smile. When I see a customer success manager working with a developer to resolve a customer issue in a timely manner, I smile. Running a sales training with never-ending questions about ways we can help customers with a new feature makes me smile.
Collaborating closely with people outside your own area of expertise requires trust. With trust comes openness – people sharing ideas without fear of judgement or failure. Watching our team operate with trust is one of the most rewarding things I have experienced as a founder. It is one of the things I’m most thankful for.
Flexibility requires trust
We’re a company that has made a conscious choice to place a high value on prioritizing family. As a team with many parents in our ranks, flexibility, in all senses, is how many of us find success at work. As anyone with any kind of dependent knows, things don’t always go according to plan. I’ve said it in years past, but it bears repeating. I’m thankful to work in a company with a culture that encourages me to ensure I prioritize caring for my family.
Outside of caring for our families, flexibility is the entire company working from home two days a week and not missing a beat. Flexibility is cutting (or adding) large pieces of functionality weeks from a product launch because it is the right thing to do for our customers. Flexibility is stepping up to responsibility because it helps your teammate when they need it. Flexibility is putting our customers before ourselves and ensuring we support them in their work.
Regardless of the specific situation, I believe flexibility works because we have a high level of trust in one another. For this, I’m thankful.
I hope that every one of you, our customers, teammates, and friends, have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.