Rebooting TINYpulse: Leadership is About Creating More Leaders Not Followers

by Jimmy Winskowski on Apr 28, 2014 7:15:00 AM

Since July 2013 we have been using TINYpulse. Initially the company loved and embraced TINYpulse. Then I got too busy. About six months ago we hit a bit of rough patch where we were in the middle of a launch and I got too busy to focus on TINYpulse. I down shifted from weekly TINYpulse to twice a month. I also got too busy to even review the results for twice a month. Participation from my team started to fall off too.

I was reading a book by Scott Berkun called "A Year Without Pants - The Future of Work" and came across this quote "Why do certain workplaces function and why some don't. It's not about the management method, it's not about the technology, it's about the culture". That said, I was in search of rebooting TINYpulse with the goal of making it fun and something everyone would look forward to.

Here are some of the things that we changed:

Leading the TINYpulse Recap:

As the CEO of the company, I no longer lead this discussion. While culture is something that is championed by the CEO, it's the employees who have a role in shaping and defining it. I opened this up to every single employee to lead. Employees who don't normally lead are now leading! This is great to see employees develop as leaders.

Encouraging Coworkers to Spend Time Outside the Office:

One week I gave out Starbuck gift cards to every single employee and thanked them for participating in TINYpulse even though we didn't have 100% participation. It's important to me that employees spend time taking someone they don't know as well out to coffee. We are such a team focused workplace that I want to encourage building relationships among coworkers. The following week we hit 100% participation in TINYpulse!

Rewards for Cheers:

One of my employees led the next week and decided to raffle off some fun things like giant post-its, desk organizers, and notepads to the people that gave cheers to others. I thought this was really fun and her coworkers really appreciated the thoughtfulness.

New Employees Lead:

I have a new employee who's only been here for two weeks and she has stepped up to lead the TINYpulse recap. It's a super thing when someone who isn't a manager grabs hold of the opportunity to show that they can lead deep discussion in shaping our culture.

In Person Recap Meetings:

All of our TINYpulse recap discussions are done in person. We no longer do recap discussions in email. This allows us to have conversation around topics and allows us to read through all of the virtual suggestions.

One of my goals as a leader comes from Tom Peters: "Leaders don't create followers, they create more leaders". TINYpulse is a critical part of making sure that employees have the ability to help shape the company culture as well as be a path for employees to hone their own leadership skills and be able to speak in front of the company. We're now back to weekly TINYpulse surveys and I couldn't be happier to see employees engaged in shaping the culture at thinkspace.

About the Author

Peter Chee is the founder and CEO of Thinkspace – a one-stop solution provider for startups and non-profits. Strengthening the entrepreneur community and contributing to their success are his biggest passion. With over 300 customers, Thinkspace was awarded Washington’s 100 Best Companies to Work For (2013) by Seattle Business.

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This post was written by Jimmy Winskowski