I smile when I think about the letter I’ll receive at the end of this Thanksgiving week.
Some years it comes on Thursday. Some years, later. Regardless, every year I am surprised by this letter, without forgetting its on its way.
Once a year, on Thanksgiving, a friend of mine from grade school sends out a letter to her friends. In it, she shares her thanks for their presence in her life and shares details of her year. Her letter is brief yet thoughtful, and it reminds me that there are people out there who are thankful for me.
Thinking about thankfulness makes me consider my fortune in life, family, and career. As an entrepreneur, I have incredible flexibility in the work that I do, and with whom I choose to do it.
In the last four years, my co-founders and I have tried to create a workplace at Rival IQ that fits our lives and our values.
We are not a win-at-all-costs shop, and we appreciate family, transparency, and openness. My hope is that our attitudes and actions reflect these values to our employees and customers.
This Thanksgiving, as I reflect on the year, I want to share two cultural points I’m thankful for at Rival IQ. I hope I am not alone among our staff in gratitude for these things, but if I am, I hope someone pulls me aside to share.
A Sprint Retrospective That Makes Me Proud
Every two weeks, on Wednesday morning, we have our sprint planning with the whole team. We spend the majority of this meeting on reflection and retrospection.
The floor is open for each team member to reflect on the last two weeks. We focus on what went well, potential improvements, and team acknowledgments. I don’t know how all teams work, but ours has a strong bias toward the acknowledgment of others.
I love these acknowledgments. Listening to my team recognize their peers is a special part of my week.
I’m thankful for collaborators that are aware of the successes of others.
I’m thankful for thoughtful colleagues that are confident enough to share their admiration.
Though I love the praise, hearing the team take accountability for issues makes me most proud. The openness with which my team discusses failures of execution is refreshing. It takes a great deal of trust in your team to admit fault.
I’m thankful that our team feels free to accept responsibility for things that didn’t go well.
I’m thankful that CYA and blame games aren’t a part of how we do our thing.
The Room to Handle Whatever Life Throws at Us
You never know what kinks or blows life is going to throw you. From the mundane to the major, you can tell a lot about a person or organization by how they handle the unexpected.
As a parent of two small children, I can tell you that life throws me lots of unexpected situations. I’m sure that my teammates with children would all agree. The randomization from sickness, school closures, and nanny drama isn’t good for your focus.
I’m thankful to be a part of a company whose culture encourages putting family first.
I’m thankful for teammates that offer support and not judgment when things go sideways.
Whenever I’m home with a sick kid, I think about how lucky I am to be in such a supportive environment. I also find myself thinking about those in less flexible workplaces.
I’m thankful my job is secure while I tend to my family.
What Are You Thankful For?
This Thanksgiving, take a few moments to be thankful. Your family, friends, and personal wellbeing are so vital to our success. We often take for granted these pillars of life in our quest to achieve ever more.
Pause, reflect and think about how you can improve the lives of those around you, even in small ways.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone, from our team to yours.