Risk & Business Magazine Cooke Insurance Risk & Business Magazine Fall 2017 | Page 15

TEAM CULTURE “Technology will merely amplify whatever habits you already have.” of the company. When an issue arises internally or with a client’s task, we follow a “Five Whys” method where you state the problem on a form we’ve created, than ask yourself “Why?” and again four more times until you arrive at a solution. It’s incredibly powerful and empowering. Technology will merely amplify whatever habits you already have. If you have good habits, technology can help magnify your results and if you have bad habits, technology will usually just get you to the wrong place faster. We use technology effectively to further the impact of our human powered team culture. These are some of the tools we’ve used to get our people charged up. SLACK Many of your know Slack and probably use it to communicate with your teams. We adopted Slack as THE means of internal, written communication. Emails were never exchanged between team members, which meant that public discussions included everyone and were kept efficient through the designation of topical channels. It democratized our interactions and kept our flat hierarchy…flat. The first Slack integration we ever used was GIPHY, which allows you to type a phrase like “you go girl” and an “appropriate” animated GIF would post in the channel. It made people comfortable, it made them laugh, it got their focus. ZOOM Zoom.us has been our video conferencing platform of choice since we started and we began weekly huddles with the whole team almost immediately. Being able to have live video chat really helped us get to know each other and connect in a way that you couldn’t through text based messages alone. If a team member couldn’t make the live huddle, the recording was made available so they could watch it later and respond at their convenience. ROGER/FIKA These two apps were indispensable. One of Ari’s personal constraints was that he has four children and at the time we started the company, was only working three days per week so he could be with them the rest of the time . Roger made it so that we could still get things done. As a “walkie talkie” app, one of us could record a two minute brainstorming session to send to the other and hours later, when we had a few minutes, we could listen, digest it, and respond. Eventually we would use Roger to send messages to groups and even hosted some asynchronous meetings with it. The team behind Roger would eventually release Fika, a video version of Roger that added the ability to share images or webpage while talking. Not only did this add clarity to any messages we would exchange, it made it really easy to make impromptu, video announcements to the whole team. That made us very accessible to the team so we could support them and they could work with us rather than for us. OFFICEVIBE This Slack bot would survey the team each week with questions like “How likely would you be to recommend working for Leverage?” or “How supported do you feel in your work?” The resulting survey told us that we were doing really well but there were three areas that needed improvement. First, the team felt like they were getting good praise and recognition but the feedback wasn’t specific enough. Second, they felt a disconnect with their teammates. Finally, there was a lack of alignment with our core values. GROWBOT This Slack bot allows team members to give “props” to other team members and it keeps score of how many points you had earned. Now we started getting very specific as to why someone was being recognized for good work. In addition we give weekly bonuses to the best performing teammate and until this point we would just read off the names. Now we spend some time explaining exactly why a particular person earned the bonus. DONUT Another Slack bot that pings two random members of the team every Monday and basically suggests a coffee date so they can get to know each other. Now that could mean an actual get together for coffee if geography allowed for that, or a quick one on one video chat. MANIFESTO This was one of the most challenging. The surveys said there was a lack of alignment with the core values of the company and the truth was that we didn’t have any defined on paper. It didn’t take long to get the inspiration to write a document that lays out the exact culture we have and want to maintain at Leverage. This serves as a way of setting the bar for new hires and providing guidance to our veterans. + Ari Meisel’s story starts in 2006, when some unexpected news derailed his booming real estate career: Crohn’s Disease: A highly- debilitating digestive ailment, Crohn’s barred Ari from leading a normal life. He lost weight, energy, and the ability to work with regularity — in fact, there were times he could only work for 60 minutes a day. With a blossoming business to run, Ari knew an hour per day was unacceptable. Against the advice of doctors and loved-ones, Ari embarked upon an extraordinarily painful journey to cure what medical textbooks consider an incurable disease. Through excruciating amounts of trial and error, Ari not only regained control of his life but beat this seemingly unbeatable disease — and is now symptom-free. Less Doing, More Living and Leverage Virtual Assistants are the result of Ari’s amazing journey back to health, happiness, and well-being. Ari lives in New York City, where he spends every ounce of free time with his loving wife, Anna, and four fantastic kids — Benjamin, Lucas, Sébastien, and little Chloe. 15