VC HQ Back to Work
Well, here we go... I know it will be a bit of a slow ramp up, but only in workload, not conviction, spirit and sense of team/community, I hope/expect!
As we get back to work, I am thinking a lot about company standards, for lack of a more inspirational word. To be clear, I could not be more proud of the team we have assembled, your loyalty and optimism. This post is meant to support and build on all of the amazing aspects we already have as a team, and to help us navigate this new reality of less time at work, and fewer people having a potentially wider variety of responsibilities.
VC Team Mantra: Customer First. Team Second. Yourself Third.
There is going to be more competition than ever from our competitors, since the shortened/cancelled seasons have resulted in so many less customers (law of supply and demand!). This means we have to be more proactive with our communication, and unbelievably responsive to our valued customers.
This makes sense for the sales team, but it also needs to apply across every individual in our company. That means getting customer refunds processed quickly, fixing production problems with top priority, helping customers track down late packages immediately, etc. etc.
It also means taking the time to "check twice, cut once". We absolutely need to continue our quest to eliminate mistakes.
At every stage of an order cycle, be it a big team order to a single disc ordered in the online store, there is an opportunity to be customer first, and that's my expectation of everyone.
Being responsive to your VC teammates will allow you them to be Customer First. See above as to why this is important. What this means is that no VC team member should have to wait more than 1-2.5 business days, absolutely maximum, to have a response on an email.
To be clear, that doesn't mean that large projects have to be immediately completed, or ideas need to be implemented, but it does mean that you have a responsibility to reply and, if not answer the questions/respond in full, provide a timeline on when that will be done... and then stick to it.
We all have our own work to do, and some of us have less collaborative work than others, I get it. Designating time to get your own work done is imperative, so it's up to you to define it and make it happen.
How do I envision this happening? With communication and discipline.
Simple: tell people when you are in deep work - quick email to let people know you're zoning out for the afternoon or set a standard that your teammates become familiar with (i.e. Orders Due lists go out on Monday mornings or Yocca ordering happens Thursday afternoons).
During your "you" time, or project-based work, you need to be disciplined. Work in bursts - turn off all distractions (personal and work - i.e. phones/social media/TV) and go hard at it for a chunk of time. When you're done, get up, stretch, get some fresh air, move, snack - whatever recharges you.
No business grows without communication and discipline, and without those things we can't expect to see forward movement, creativity or innovation. Only when we're in a flow of this happening, and we're seeing real potential for growth opportunities again, will we be able to increase our work capacity/hours.
If you haven't yet listened to the podcast I've sent out before on Deep Work, I expect you to do so in the coming days.
Some of our team members have fought me on this, but this policy is no longer optional: your inbox must be cleared and maintained.
I don't expect you to sort through 10k emails on your first day back, but by the end of your first week back to work, your inbox must only contain any items that are active To Do's and/or new from the last few days.
If you want to sort your old emails in to folders like Inbox Master KK does, great. Otherwise, create a folder in your email called "Reference" and move them all over.
No negation here; we need a fresh start and this is one of the ways we can do it!
When you come back to HQ, it's imperative that we adhere to some new cleanliness standards. This includes our own work stations - every day.
Our desks should be tidy, garbage/recycling cleared when full, glasses washed and put away and surfaces/phones/keyboards, etc., cleaned and disinfected at least twice a week.
Clutter creates chaos, and this is no longer acceptable in any small (or big!) way.
I know I'm the queen of coffee cups on my desk, and I will work on that ;)
Supporting Your Teammates
Finally, I know that this period of reduced work/income and uncertainty is difficult on so many levels and I want you to know that I'm here to help think through ways that we can support each other. We have a really strong couple of years ahead of us in 2021/2 and I want to make sure we go in to them as strong and optimistic as possible.
I'm here to help - please trust that I will hear you out and want to be there to support you.