I am a firm believer in the power of starting over — even multiple times in a single day. I also realize that a big chunk of people rely on a change of date, or some other milestone, to start over. 2015 was a rough year for me personally [read here if you want to know the gory details), and it also impacted the SoapBox staff.
From their perspective, we were rapidly scaling a brand new startup (maybe too fast for our own good) and BAM I was gone. I was physically and mentally taken out of the game for months. They were left to fend for their own – to keep the company running in the absence of a very hands-on leader. Not only did they succeed in keeping things going, but they managed to grow the company and just not a little. We grew by 50%.
As we kicked off 2016, my goal was to reset the team. I had spent a significant part of 2015 dealing with my grueling recovery. I wanted to convince the team that the year of hell was over – or at least was not going to repeat itself. I had to get everyone moving from defense to offense and inspire positive thinking. Everyone was tired. And am I not talking about missing-a-few-nights-of-sleep or had-too-much-to-drink-last-night kind of tired. I am talking about the kind of exhaustion born out of an impactful, unplanned life event. The kind of tired that makes you question why the hell you are hanging in, and start to think you should just walk away.
I am a tangible, action-with-a-purpose kind of gal. I kicked off the year asking each member of the team (regardless of tenure and seniority) for 2 things each:
- I would like each of you to think of ONE word to describe 2016 for you. One single word. We will use this word for a fun exercise.
- I would like each of you to send me an email asking what you would like most from me in 2016 to help you have a successful year – this can be professional or personal goal related.
This exercise yielded a few key things:
- The awesome word cloud that we have framed on everyone’s desks, and pictured above. It makes me smile.
- The ability for each team member to connect, and ask me for something specific to them.
- The opportunity for me to get to know the staff better – most of the staff asked for help with personal things. I love that.
- Me trying to find ways to support everyone and wish I hadn’t asked – I’m kidding. Sort of. Mostly – but how about that WORD cloud?
What word would you use to describe 2016 so far? Tweet me @jax_rosales #leaderlessons