My mother – long ago – worked as a journalist, and growing up I would hear her drop now and again this idea that she learned on the job, which was “Don’t write too much; always leave them wanting more.” Every once in awhile – in different areas of my life – this notion that we should leave people wanting more bubbles up into my consciousness. Often not even when it comes to writing, but rather in random circumstances relating to a hodge-podge of different things.
This notion came into my mind yesterday when I was thinking about our monthly all-company team meeting here at Growmotely – and why the heck we all love it so much. Aren’t we supposed to hate regular meetings? Aren’t they supposed to be a chore that pulls us away from the work that we actually want to be focusing on? Well, this meeting is anything but that – and I thought we could dive in here to see just exactly what might be at play that makes it so special…
Said meeting takes place on the first Tuesday of every month and it is first thing in the morning for our two team members who are based in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico – 8:00am. And on the other side of the world – although ‘only’ separated by the Pacific Ocean – our three team members in the Philippines log-in at 11:00pm and crash over onto Wednesday, as this meeting of ours is 90-minutes long. And sitting nicely in the middle we have our COO in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea who joins us at 4:00pm and our CMO in Bucharest, Romania – who comes to us at 6:00pm her time. Our Founder and CEO Sarah Hawley, you ask? She’s coming to us from Austin, Texas at 10:00am.
The meeting is often kicked off with some casual chatting as people are joining and a number of us enjoy trying out our Spanish greetings and other non-English-language greetings on each other during this time. Our CEO then leads us in taking a few deep breaths. This gets us settled in and prepares us for the next 90 minutes.
Here at Growmotely, we always follow the same structure in this monthly meeting, and for good reason. It has been said that structure allows for more freedom (which can seem paradoxical), and feeling secure within the consistency of the framework of the meeting, all team members are able to prepare for and show up in ways that are productive and that add value.
The first slide we kick off with is our ‘PURPOSE & VISION’ slide. Our CEO reads these out loud to us all – lest we forget:
We exist to support the evolution of conscious culture. To create equality, growth, fulfilment, freedom and empowerment for all.
To become the leading global remote work platform, placing experienced professionals into long-term positions (with benefits) at companies they love.
We do this as a reminder of why we’re here and where we’re going. We sometimes poke at and question these in meetings as we move through our growing pains; we want them – and our relationship to them – to stay alive. To remain vital.
Next up is our sharing of ‘Values Stories’. Our CEO pulls up the slide that shows our values here at Growmotely:
- Stay curious, stay open
- Constant innovation
- Passionately committed
- Transparency and candour
- Empowerment and ownership
…and then opens the floor for team members to share stories about what they have seen and experienced over the last month where these values have been and are being embodied.
This ‘chapter’ of our meeting sets a foundational tone of gratitude for the entire meeting and is one of a handful of ways in which we systemize our expression of gratitude towards one another. (Read here to learn about one of the other ways that we have systemized our expression of gratitude to one another!)
We don’t skimp on this part of the meeting. At our most recent meeting (Tuesday, 5th April), we spent about 20 minutes on these Values Stories and this pretty much is par for the course. To give you a taste, our aforementioned Bucharest-based CMO shared a story about how our newest addition to the tech team (he joined our team in December) – based in Pretoria, South Africa – has been living up to our values of (1) stay curious, stay open, (2) constant innovation and (3) passionately committed. She shared, “He has taken such initiative and has been so engaged from the beginning – helping with the website and also attending our leadership meetings.” Our CEO echoed this sentiment: “Thank you for being so supportive; I really appreciate our interactions. It’s amazing to see someone coming in and helping out in so many different areas.”
Once we’ve given our Values Stories the time that they deserve, we then focus on and discuss any and all topical business for the company. Our meeting this week saw us focusing on a 90-day growth milestone – which isn’t how we always roll (that is, in 90-day periods), but we pull it out if we are wanting to create more collective focus around a common goal – which is the case at the moment. This saw us looking at Q2 2022 Targets and Priorities – and some organic discussion around how we might meet them flowed out from there.
If our monthly meeting were an Italian meal, you could say that the ‘Values Stories’ are the antipasti, the topical company issues…well, this is the primo (first course), and our secondo (main course) is then hearing from all of our team leads. For this secondo, we pass the mic around to each team lead, and that person presents ‘key numbers’ and shares any necessary stories that bring the numbers to life. Here are the areas that we cover, and in this order:
- KEY NUMBERS: Financials
- KEY NUMBERS: Community Growth (Growth + Recruitment)
- KEY NUMBERS: Brand & Marketing
- KEY NUMBERS: Culture Score, User Support Improvements
- KEY NUMBERS: System Engineering
Per our ‘Transparency and candour’ value, we aim to share all numbers (and accompanying stories) with everyone on the team. Whether they leave us feeling proud or disappointed, we’re always interested – and curious about – what is true.
One of our more recent additions to our monthly meeting (is this the dolce…or perhaps the limoncello?) happened a few months ago when our Lagos-based UX/UI team member closed out our meeting with an impromptu inspirational speech including a line that we continue to quote to this day: “We are punching a hole in the universe!” This newest ‘closing ritual’ to our monthly meeting – dubbed ‘Rowland’s Words of Wisdom’ – is indeed the cherry on our gelato that we didn’t know we were missing until we tried it. The cherry is now here to stay.
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We love our monthly meeting and we find that the structures we have in place around this meeting allow us to thrive. We also believe that the cadence at which we all convene (at the moment it’s once a month) is crucial when it comes to our enjoyment of said meeting and its efficacy. This cadence may not always be right for us; at the moment – it seems to be spot on. Our ‘Values Stories’ serve to keep us living and breathing these things that we profess to believe in – these things that have brought us all together…and our transparency when it comes to company numbers across the board allows us all to ‘be in the know’ and therefore give us visibility to lend a hand when we’re in a position to do so.
Is there anything here that you might like to adopt in your company? Is there anything that you are doing in your company that you suspect we might like to adopt? Please get in touch. So we can all – to quote our inspirational ‘meeting closer’ Rowland Okoli – “punch a hole in the universe” together.