After finishing all 1-1 meetings with my team members, I scheduled our first team meeting. To be more precise, that was the first meeting of that team led by me. And it was totally unpredictable.
Defining the mission of our Customer Happiness Team
I opened our first team meeting with a simple question:
Why our team exists at all?
Following questions helped to get deeper into the topic.
If tomorrow we stop existing as a team, what would happen with our users / company / product?
How everything would look like if we double our team?
If only one of us remains working here tomorrow, what would be the main thing to focus on?
After short brainstorming process and discussion about these questions, we came up with the following conclusion:
Customer Happiness team makes the experience of our customers the best possible and proactively improves our product according to that.
Defining the vision of our team
When having clear team mission, it is important to define a vision – our strategic goal measured by time. I started with a question:
If we as a team exist in order to make the experience of our customers the best possible, what are the things which influence that experience? How can we measure each of these things?
We brainstormed and came out with 9 separate metrics which can help us in measuring the customer experience. After having all these metrics on our white board, I asked my team members to rate their importance (the exact question was – Order these metrics by their influence on customer experience).
The result that we came with was clear answer to many misalignments in our team. Some members rated an issue with 1, while others rated the same issue with 9 (remember the story of Vectors).
How does it look like in reality?
I am working on X, while you are working on Y.
Both of us work a lot. Both of us think that we are doing our best and that the other one is not.
Why is that? The answer is very simple – We are not striving for the same goal. While X is the most important thing from my point of view, Y is from yours. I don’t appreciate Y and you don’t appreciate X (it doesn’t mean that X/Y are not important, but we never talked about the connection between these things).
How did my team accept these topics?
At the very beginning, it wasn’t accepted at all. I was leading the meeting (or at least I was trying to do that), but people were not willing to participate. Maybe the biggest mistake that I made on that meeting was actually described in my post “All about leadership“:
When talking to others, explain everything in such a way, where you can see from their perspective, to have them better understand yours.
First of all, this meeting was a huge shock for each of my members, not because of me personally, but because of my completely new approach.
Second thing, people don’t like theory, they want concrete things and outputs, as well clear direction. Not everyone wants to participate in the brainstorming process (and I wanted to create the culture of involvement).
So, how I handled this? I started to talk from the perspective of my team member. I remembered the time when I was feeling the same, and offered a concrete example how it would look like if we had the output of that meeting back then.
Defining our team values
The last part of our meeting was dedicated to our team values. What is acceptable and what is not?
Imagine a football team, even though all of us want to win (which means that we share the same goal), I wouldn’t be able to play with someone who is completely fine with injuring player from another squad (which means that we don’t share the same values). – Difference Between Groups and Teams
This wasn’t the best meeting ever, definitely. As I mentioned before, it was a huge shift for each of my members, with completely new approach. Brainstorming process made a conclusion that the meeting wasn’t prepared well before.
However, the game changer of the meeting was the moment when I gave a concrete example how we can use the output in the future. And more importantly, that example was explained from the perspective of my previous role, when I was in the shoes of my team members.