One of our major goals in 2021 was to "increase a sense of individual ownership, belonging and understanding. Ensure transparency and clear communication." One of the ways we tackled this was to create a Woonwinkel Team Culture Guide that holds us to standards for interacting and communicating with each other.
A culture of empathy, support, and respect for each other.
A culture where we value differences to make us stronger.
A culture where goals, roles and expectations are clear.
A culture of open communication between all levels.
None of us will be perfect at upholding this code. We fall back onto old habits, cultural differences, and default modes easily, especially in times of stress. When this happens, we'll hold each other accountable in a supportive way.
CULTIVATE OPEN COMMUNICATION:
- Share positive and negative feedback regularly. Be brief. Share your observations of the situation or behavior, describe the impact, and look for next steps together.
- Example: I’ve noticed you’re always really careful with your web order packing which means we’re going to have fewer returns this season. That really helps our bottom line. Would you be willing to share some tips with all of us in the next training session?
- Example: When you receive inventory that way it not only takes longer but it’s less accurate which throws off our numbers. Let’s set you up for a quick refresher course.
- Giving and accepting critical feedback takes energy so do it when it matters, but don't sweat the small stuff.
- Listen to criticism openly and make changes when needed.
- Positive and negative feedback can come from all levels, to all levels. Feedback for a manager can be given directly, or anonymously through a trusted colleague, or during a bi-annual 360 review. Additional ways of sharing anonymous input are in the works for 2022.
- Investigate neutrally. When you find yourself wondering about someone’s motive, reason, or action, investigate neutrally.
- Seek to understand. Ask questions and listen carefully while at the same time respecting privacy for personal matters. "Tell me more" "Explain..." "Help me understand..." "What's your goal?" “Are you saying…?”
- If you tend to go to the worst explanation for something, question your thinking. Example: “Is Sally really hoarding information or did she forget to tell me? Is Sam really unreliable or do I need to define the requirements more clearly?”
MAKE GOALS, ROLES and EXPECTATIONS CLEAR:
Be clear about what's needed and expected. This goes for small quick instances in the moment, yearly goal-setting, and everything in between.
- Think SMART. Specific, Measurable, Apt, Realistic, and Timebound.
- Identify the owners, contributors, and the approvers. Who’s gonna do what?
- Example: A goal for this year is to ensure 15% or more of our vendors are Black-owned companies. Lori and Kristin will scout together, Kristin will make final decisions by early May. Products will be received and published by mid June.
- When decision-making:
- Bring multiple perspectives into decision-making when appropriate.
- Be willing to compromise when possible.
- Identify the decision maker. Sometimes it's the boss, sometimes it isn’t.
- When there’s disagreement or conflict:
- Be aware of your emotions. Attempt to restore your equilibrium quickly.
- Postpone the conversation till you're either warmed up or cooled down enough to express your thoughts in a respectful manner.
- Stick to the point and share specific observations. "I noticed..." "I saw..."
- Don't expect to win; see disagreements instead as a problem to solve.
- When you cross over the line, apologize and state how you’re going to make amends. Then change immediately.
- When these steps fail, inside or outside meditation can be considered.