4 Rituals That Help Build a Better Culture

drift-culture

Editor’s Note: This article was first published by Inc. here.

My co-founder and I wanted to establish rituals in our company to help people understand why we do the things we do, and to answer questions like: “How does what I’m doing help the company?” “What are our overarching goals?” “Why do we care about this number or metric?”

Because if your team doesn’t feel centered around a common mission and goals, and if they don’t understand how their job helps or why it matters, how do you expect them to stay focused, motivated and excited?

That said, here are some of the important rituals we have in place and a few ideas to get you started:

Monday Metrics

Our company established Monday Metrics as a place to reflect on the previous week’s progress and align on goals for the week. This ensures we are all on the same page and working towards a common goal. Here are a few ways to get started with something similar yourself:

  • Keep the meeting short and focused — it should center the day, not derail it.
  • Assign someone from each department to present. They should keep the updates succinct, digestible and actionable.
  • Be creative. We also like to use this time to share “Drift Love” — which includes meaningful things our customers have said, posted on social media or emailed us in the past week, and an inspirational quote to close out the meeting.

Show & Tell

This was originally a chance for everyone in the company to talk about what they did that week. At over 300 people, we’ve gotten too big for that now, and so a representative from each team presents on something they’ve worked on, with the goal of sharing how this impacts our customers. I think it’s really important to bookend the week with Monday Metrics and Show and Tell because it allows us to answer the questions “How did we do?” and then “What did we actually make?” Here’s how to get started with your own company Show and Tell:

  • If you’re too big to have everyone speak up, come up with a system to ensure everyone presents. Different teams can nominate themselves, or keep it simple with a spreadsheet that tracks when people have gone and adds new people as they join the company.
  • Make it light-hearted and have judges pick a “winner” based on certain criteria. To remain customer-focused, we look for presentations that demonstrate customer impact. The winner takes home the “golden mic” trophy to display on their desk for the week.
  • Put a time limit on it and stick to it. We have a timer set for five minutes for each person and if they go over, they’re disqualified from winning the golden mic.

Quarterly Company Meeting

This used to be a monthly meeting. But as we grew, we found that in order for it to be the best use of our time, to update the entire company on the overall strategy, this needed to be made quarterly. This meeting is a chance to do a deeper dive into the performance of the previous quarter and what our goals will be for the next. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Consider going off-site. We recently decided to move this meeting out of the office. Why? Because it marks it as a special occasion — one to celebrate our wins and focus on our key learnings.
  • Make it an open forum for questions. Ensure that you leave time at the end for employees to ask the leadership team questions.
  • Find ways to celebrate individuals. We use this time to celebrate the work anniversaries from the past quarter, top performers, and more.

Camp Drift

This is when the entire company going to an actual summer camp to unplug and unwind for a few days. As a company grows, it’s important to continue to find time to not only align on a vision and celebrate your accomplishments and each other but also to bond as a team. If you’re interested in implementing this, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Allow for time of uninterrupted bonding. When we go to Camp Drift, we ensure to have support staff on-call, but inform our customers that we will be unplugging.
  • Ensure new connections are being made. This could mean by randomizing tables, or creating activities with teams. This should be a time where your team is not just strengthening relationships, but creating new ones as well.

If you have your own company, or are in the midst of creating one, I encourage you to think about what rituals you have in place. And if, as an individual contributor you’re ever unsure of where your company is going — or why you do something, take the time to ask your leadership team, “why?”

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