My mission is to build empathy and wellbeing into engineering teams. How can I create the conditions to foster belonging, wonder, integrity, and contribution in the workplace?
Hold space for each person to show up as their full self. Promote a culture where work exists in balance with family, friends, side projects, and other joys and responsibilities in a person’s life. Where it’s completely okay, celebrated even, to work from home because a child is sick or it’s raining or just because. Take time for 1:1s and other feedback mechanisms that amplify the voices of your team. Prioritize diversity, inclusion, and belonging at all levels of the organization.
Wonder (Experimentation and Play)
Build mechanisms that allow any person at any level to originate and experiment with new ideas, propose fixes to things that are sub-optimal, and participate in implementation. Implement blameless postmortems to encourage trying new things and destigmatize mistakes — surfacing curiosity, reflection, and iterative process improvements.
Optimize for engineers to work on the problems that bring them the most delight and joy when possible (knowing that bug fixes and technical debt must also be paid down). Know that curiosity can and does exist in harmony with team objectives and KPIs. Prioritize engineering rotations on different teams and deep dives into new areas of interest.
Transform long-term strategic planning, quarterly goal-setting, and sprints into collaborative exercises where product, design, and engineering meet on the same playing field, each with their own expertise. Where each team member can explicitly agree (or ask for changes) to roadmaps, KPIs, and other measures of success. Integrate values into the decision-making process.
Empower each team member to ask tough questions of leadership, allowing for anonymity when necessary. Build trust by putting into practice in private the values shared publicly. Never make decisions solely on short-term financial gain. Follow through on commitments we make to ourselves, team members, customers, and society. Remember that we are building the future for our descendents and all generations to come; let’s build a happier and more peaceful place for all to thrive.
Each person is an owner of their work and is treated as such. No micromanaging. Value the people you hire enough to let them do their jobs, and free their time from busywork and meetings as possible. Encourage flow states — uninterrupted states of creativity and flow where a person's gifts can surface naturally.
One day it will be so second nature, obvious, to have cultures of wellness on teams. Each person will be freed from the untruth that production is tied to value. No, each person is valuable without doing anything. That much will be clear from the moment they join our team or open our product. What they offer, by unearthing their own creativity and wonder, by sharing their own voice, is a gift. A gift that we, as a team and company, receive and amplify in the world. And this collective offering becomes the means by which we, in each moment, create a more beautiful world.