How we do things around here

Garfield How we do things around here

I’ve often written about six of the most dangerous words in business:

We’ve always done it this way

Taking to a granular level, today am sharing one of Seth Godin’s recent posts, called “How we do things around here”.

I love this list, and reminds me of a few thoughts first on how I do things, and how teams I’ve worked on do things:

  • How you do anything is how you do everything
  • Email me and I will always answer you within one working day, even if simply to say I’ve received it and will get back to you.
  • Take responsibility. Yes, others may have a part in why an error was made, a deadline missed etc, but always look first to what your part was in that. Oh, and apologise.
  • Acknowledge others for their part in your success.
  • When you don’t know, say so.
  • Be Vulnerable.

That is a quick instinctive list from me of how I do things, and also therefore what I expect of others.

What’s yours? Comparing lists of “how we do things” is a great way to support collaboration at the start of a project.

Some overlap of my list here to Seth, for sure, though I LOVE cilantro (fresh coriander, for those outside the USA). We’d need to talk about that one 🙂

How we do things around here

by Seth Godin

When you’re beginning a new engagement, a new job, a new partnership, it might be worth agreeing on a list in advance. You don’t have to include all of these, and you don’t have to agree with them (because you can always take the other side) but here are some to start with:

  • We always answer emails to each other within a day, even if it’s just to say ‘got it’.
  • You’re invited as a guest into a purpose-built room in our Slack.
  • We’ll pay your invoices before they’re due.
  • We agree that all of our interactions are off the record, unless we agree otherwise.
  • We’ll never use legalese or intentionally trick you with loopholes in our agreements. Instead, we’ll be as clear as we can and honor what we said, and expect that you’ll do the same.
  • If we’re not sure, we’ll ask each other.
  • We don’t miss deadlines.
  • We don’t sprint at the end, we sprint at the beginning.
  • We don’t make compromises simply because bad planning means that we’re running out of time.
  • We eagerly highlight the potholes ahead, but spend no time casting blame after something fails.
  • We are intentional and specific about the work. “Who is it for” and “what is it for?” are the two key design questions.
  • We don’t use semi-colons or animated emojis.
  • If it’s not working, we’ll say so, and do it with specificity and kindness.
  • We’ll pay a lot but expect to get more than we paid for.
  • No cilantro. Of course.

Also published on Medium.