"Can't we all just get along?" (steal this team exercise!)

published10 months ago
5 min read

Hey Reader,

I just got back from a week-long work retreat in Mexico. It was so wonderful to see my fellow ConvertKit-ers in person again and meet a whole lot of new faces.

We had nearly the whole Brand Studio team in attendance. Here we are on the beach, holding our filmmaker Henry's photo up on my phone so that he could be in the pic too 🥲

Here's what I'm sharing with you in this issue:

  • An exercise we ran on the retreat to align the Brand Studio and Marketing teams at ConvertKit
  • A virtual conference to help you level-up your design collaboration
  • The results of last issue's work satisfaction poll

Let's jump in!

An exercise to transform Brand and Marketing from a service relationship to a true partnership

Brand and Marketing teams often work very closely together and a good working relationship is vital for getting things done (and making work enjoyable!).

The theme of our latest ConvertKit retreat was around building a culture of execution so our Director of Marketing, Derrick, and I wanted to run a session with our two teams where we could align on what we wanted the relationship between our two teams to feel like. As the company has grown we'd noticed a few cracks start to show in the collaboration between our teams and we knew there was room for improvement, but in the spirit of collaboration we wanted it to be something our teams defined together.

This is the exercise we took the team through in a 90-minute session in-person at the retreat, though it could also be done in FigJam remotely!

Step one: Journalling

We had everyone spend about 5 minutes reflecting on what an effective partnership between brand and marketing teams would look like by journalling their thoughts. This helps everyone to clarify their thinking.

Step two: Noting core themes on sticky notes

From the journalling, team members write main themes on sticky notes. We asked that they be specific, so instead of saying something like "work efficiently together" they'd clarify what that meant and instead write "create detailed collaborative project plans with deadlines".

Derrick and I collected the stickies as the team finished writing them and started grouping them by theme. This process took about 10 minutes, and then we had everyone come review the stickies and themes that had emerged.

These were the themes that we settled on Brand and Marketing teams having for an effective partnership:

  • Visibility & understanding of each others work
  • Plans ahead together
  • Alignment on goals & priorities
  • An empathetic culture of feedback
  • Clarity of ownership
  • Regular, effective communication
  • Measures success & performance

Step three: Live polling & discussion

We had 4 large pieces of paper up on walls around the room saying:

  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Disagree
  • Strongly disagree

We read out each theme as a statement related to our teams (eg: "At ConvertKit, our Brand Studio & Marketing teams have visibility and an understanding of each others work") and team members moved to the relevant point in the room to vote on whether they agreed or disagreed, and how strongly.

This live polling had the benefit of helping us visualise where our biggest areas of opportunity were (ie: the themes that had the mjaority of folks on the 'disagree' side of the room!) and also kept people moving and engaged throughout the 90-minute session.

For each theme, after folks had settled on where they aligned we asked people in each group to share why they agreed or disagreed. This led to some really healthy discussion about what is and isn't working for us, and about what was important for each individual.

I took notes throughout while Derrick facilitated the discussion, and we ended with one last poll asking folks whether they agreed with this statement:

At ConvertKit, Brand Studio and Marketing have a true partnership, not a service relationship.

Two thirds of the team chose the disagree side of the room in answer to this and even in the answers of the folks who said they agree we noticed that they mostly had a good partnership with one or two individuals on the other team rather than feeling a true sense of partnership across the teams as a whole. We clearly have some work to do! But understanding the issues we're facing is the first step.

Step four: Making commitments

We ran out of time to do this in person, so everyone is going to journal individually this week on what they'll stop, start and continue doing in order to play their part in building this partnership. We'll join our team meetings next week to discuss these commitments as a group.

Derrick and I also know that working to create alignment at the leadership level on what our teams are focussed on is the most important thing we can do to aid this partnership. A team with competing priorities or without shared goals will always feel like they're in service to the other when helping out on a project that isn't a priority for them. And we want to change that!

If you enjoyed this, I'll share more team updates as we work on increasing alignment over the next year. Click the heart below to let me know you liked hearing about the leadership side of brand and marketing design.


How satisfied are Dispatch readers with their work?

In the last issue I asked readers to vote on how satisfied they feel in their current role. The results are in and it looks like for the most part we're a pretty happy bunch!

This is a survey I'd definitely like to repeat from time to time as the tech industry goes through it's peaks and valleys, as I do wonder how recent mass layoffs in tech have impacted the job satisfaction for those of us still employed. I know I've personally been feeling more gratitude recently to be working at a stable, profitable company.

If you want to take part in the next survey, make sure you read future issues to spot them :)

I'm back home in Spain now after 5 weeks away and it's bloody freezing here 😅 Looking forward to getting back into a routine and working on some of my Q1 goals which were definitely set aside over the last month to focus on family time (zero regrets!)

See you next week,

PS: This is the last time I'll mention it as there's just two days left to grab the offer, but you can use the code affiliate-charlimarie for 20% off a Webflow site or workspace plan before the end of January! I rarely get codes like this, so please make use of it. Sign up for Webflow here to use the code and get your discount

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