Stop focusing on communication!

Stop focusing on communication!
Photo by Alex Gorbi / Unsplash

What's the biggest obstacle to growth in a company?

Human interactions 🙋💁‍♂️🙆‍♀️🙇🤷‍♂️🤦‍♀️

It's just Mathematics

It's easy to coordinate a group of 5 people. Try to coordinate a group of 50 people... That's another story

This is caused by the exponential growth of possible interactions (n*(n-1)/2 for the scientists here haha).

Add on the fact that each human is unique (bloody hoomans as my 🐕 would say)

All that, makes it impossible to create a system of communication that is efficient at scale.

When starting Sparkmate we knew it would be an ever-ending battle, for once in our life we gave up this fight before we even started it...

But instead, we decided to create a special organization:

Human-sized "hubs" and small project teams.

Organised like warriors

As I said before, it's a lot easier to coordinate 5 people than 50 people.

We have a lot of differents project, trying to coordinate and communicate with everyone in the team would be a nightmare.

So we build small teams that have full freedom to organise themselves for effectiveness and efficiency.

Each team has a project; a challenge; a product to build. Each team is judged only based on the result of their work.

Each team should expect to have the tools and ownership to achieve their goals.

Therefore in the end, they do not need to follow any rules about meetings and communication.

This system already enforces ownership. Let the builders build!

We've eliminated almost all "forced communication" across Sparkmate. This includes recurring meetings, 1 to 1's, check-ins and other shit.

Even projects like these have smaller teams... all with 1 goal! "We install the roof" "We install the walls"

Spend time with your mates

Not enforcing any communication does not mean you should not communicate at all.

Have you ever seen a sports team not speaking to each other or not making any sort of sign to explain what they are doing or where they are in stages?

No right!

They all have their own way of communicating. Depending the phase of the game they might do signs, or even scream at each others.

They just adapt themselves to each situation.

Why they are able to do that?

Because they know each others, they have spent huge amount of times together training before the game. Thus, they have the same culture, the same spirit, the same codes!

Do the same, there is no secret, spend time in teams! And let the newcomers learn the codes from the more seniors mates.

The Sparkmate kicking the ball together and enforcing the team-player mindset

Do what needs to be done

Share knowledge, move critical or helpful information between each other when needed, inform when you see a problem, make things obvious!

I assume that all the teammates in a startup are super talented (if not there is a problem!).

Everyone in a high-performing team should be able to make decisions on what should be shared, who they should update or ask information from.

Depending on the configuration of your team, your project and the product you are building. You might need different set-ups and that's fine.

For example:

  • If you are remote you might need to ask for more information on a daily basis. You won't have access to this continuous flow of information in the office.
  • If your client is coming every other day in the office, you don't need to check with them on WhatsApp every day.
  • If you are working with someone new in your team you might want to check in with them more often than your old mate.
  • If your project starts to mature, you might need to write documentation to share more about what you build, and equip anyone who will create a similar project.

Do what needs to be done to achieve your project/product goals, and let communication organically flow.

It's crucial for the success of the things you do.

When communicating is a natural thing in a team, the size of the problems they can go for is completely different.

And as the title states, I don't mean to stop communicating, not at all! I mean focus on what matter, the goals, the product you build, the company you build

Here you go, I hope you liked this one! As an early stage founder I think it's important to not fall into the trap of making processes for everything and especially for communication. It might be the very reason that hinders your growth!

Be obsessed by why you build, what you build and not how you build it 😉