Written By
Elizabeth Heil
August 14, 2015
Posted In

Rising Above Challenges

August 14, 2015

One of our main goals during any Factory Week is to tackle challenges in various areas of our business. We've had several recent conversations across the team about improving the dynamic between sales and production. This is a key handoff in our business, and while tension naturally exists due to the roles present, we recognized that there were opportunities for us to better navigate this dynamic. Earlier this week we held a collaborative session that brought the various sales & production roles to the table for positive conversation about process improvement.

We set a few ground rules heading into the conversation. One of the things I value and appreciate about SmallBox culture is that we push ourselves to be transparent and hold ourselves accountable to having healthy conflict. We aren't perfect at it, but avoiding conflict only creates tension and prevents progress. Conflict doesn't have to be a bad thing, so setting ground rules helps us all show up in the right mindset and agree to how we want to approach the conversation. We also clarified roles to make sure each area of the business had a voice. Here are the ground rules we agreed to:

  • We are ONE team- we all have a role to play in being part of the solution. We all want what is best for SmallBox, and we're in this together.
  • Respect the role- be a good listener and respect the perspective that each of us brings to the table.
  • Focus on moving forward- let's learn from our past mistakes and challenges, but use this session to serve as an official reset and commitment to making improvements going forward. This session is not a place to rehash frustrations about what has not gone well in recent months. We will be solution-focused, working together to make sure all voices and roles are heard as we create a better process.

During our session we mapped out the full sales and production handoff process from vetting a new client, continuing through to sales meetings and creating a Statement of Work, and finishing with onboarding a new client both internally to the project team and conducting a client kickoff meeting, with a whole bunch of steps in between. During our process mapping, we flagged steps that had fuzziness or lack of ownership so we could go back and create clarity. We mapped out solutions, and at the end of our meeting, we summarized our conversation by creating a list of "what we decided" to make sure we were all on the same page going forward.

While we had some moments of heated discussion, I think we landed in a really healthy place and pushed through some existing challenges. What challenges are present in your business right now? How could process mapping and embracing healthy conflict create clarity and resolution for your team? I encourage you to make space for these kinds of conversations. Your business- and your team- will be stronger as a result.