VenntroOS - Commercial Tools
Updated: Nov 6
"VenntroOS" - the operating system for how to run our business. There were many changes to be made when I returned to the business in 2018, but I'll save most of them for another time - for now I would like to concentrate on how we implemented technology solutions to massively reduce our headcount whilst still delivering (or in most cases improving upon) the same output.
Like thousands of other companies, we use Slack as our core business operating system - all internal communication (and some external) goes through Slack and it is the bedrock of our business. There are now no internal email chains and the vast majority of our staff have no reason to open their email.
We have enabled a number of Slack Apps which means information is fed to staff through Slack and they're able to achieve a lot without having to use other apps.
Google Meet Standups
We have used G-Suite for most of our history and whilst some areas of the business (mostly finance and IT) had retained more archaic client and local network systems, the majority of our business used Google's suite of cloud-based products.
When the Covid-19 lockdown started we realised we would need to make the most of Google Hangouts / Meet to get face-time with our colleagues.
When we went fully remote we would start each day with an all-hands company standup which all members of staff would join. Whilst this may seem a bit extreme, it meant that at least twice per day everyone would see their colleagues and I felt this was an effective way of reminding people that they are part of a large team and not siloed by themselves at home.
During the day we encouraged everyone to remain in a team hangout with their microphone muted. Whilst we didn't enforce this for the Product team (who were more familiar with remote working) it proved to be a great way of helping other teams feel connected and have someone to talk to during the darker, lonelier days of the pandemic.
To this day, we have retained the all-day hangouts for our leadership and commercial teams so they can remain connected while physically apart. It has proven extremely effective and I remain a strong proponent of this approach for any remote-first business.
HyperContext / Fellow / Loom / Otter
I am not a detail person. I am a big picture person. But over the years I have learnt the importance of detail and preparation to delivery high quality output.
In particular, I realised that our meetings were very poorly managed. Like many companies, we would call a meeting to discuss a particular subject - that subject would be the title of the meeting in the calendar, we'd invite people who would contribute and we would all spend an hour talking having our say.
I cringe when I think how much time was wasted and how inefficient our meetings were in the past.
That all changed at the beginning of 2021 after I read Rocket Fuel and became familiar with EOS (Entrepreneur Operating System) - a collection of common sense tools which when combined would make us far more effective as a business.
As a result of this we now:
Have clear agendas for every meeting to warm up attendees, set the right mindset and give clear structure to the discussion to ensure we deliver high quality output.
Circulate required preparation, reading and questions in advance of the meeting.
Take notes throughout each meeting along with clear next steps - each next step has an owner and a date for delivery.
Review and agree the next steps at the end of the meeting including when we will meet again
Circulate a copy of the output via Slack to all attendees
In part 2 of this blog, I talk more about each of these meeting planning and execution tools in more details. Find it here.
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