TBM 44/53: What Is Your Team Stubborn About?
What is your team (and company) stubborn about?
Like really stubborn about — as in words AND actions?
What rituals do you keep doing, even if it means saying no to other things? Even if it means having to defend the practice to each new hire who says it is irrational? Even if it feels inefficient in the short-term?
I spoke to a VP of Product recently about the unique onboarding program at her company.
I'm stubborn about onboarding! Too often, product managers get thrown into the fray. So for sixty days I have our new product managers do a full rotation across the various departments. They are on customer calls for up to three hours a day with support, customer success, sales, and marketing. It is crazy...I know. But the results have been very positive, so we keep doing it. Even after the program, we still set aggressive goals for customer calls.
Consider teams that have a zero known bug policy. Or that do learning reviews every other week without fail. Or that prioritize amazing documentation. Or that do a well-facilitated blameless post-mortem when something goes wrong. Or that do moderated usability testing every Thursday without fail. Or that commit to DEI goals.
I worked at a company whose founders had a successful exit, but learned the hard way about losing connection with customers. So they were stubborn about everyone connecting with customers. And that's how it often goes. Someone with influence and power draws the line on something...even when it seems inefficient or irrational.
It's the difference between people who read a book and believe there's one way to do something, but fold quickly, and those who have been through the wringer.
With great teams, I often notice a mix of pragmatism, mixed with (what some consider irrational) selective stubbornness. That may be the lesson. It is less about what they care about, and more that they give themselves permission to care unequivocally about something. Some teams are stubbornly pragmatic...that's a thing too.
Habits related to short-term and immediate benefits are easy to be "disciplined" about. I dare say that isn't discipline. It is opportunism. Heroics are easy. We feel worthwhile and, well, heroic. Habits related to things with longer term benefits -- that materialize over time, that don’t feel so heroic, that may even be….boring -- are much harder to stick to.
So, what is your team (and company) stubborn about?
HERMANN G. SIMON - The Stubborn Mule (1881)