Hello again! 👋 This is part three of my five-part series “A week in work at Fellow”. If you haven’t already, you can read Monday or Tuesday’s posts, where I talk about Slack bots, potlucks, team meetings, and hacking together a Fellow workflow to interview new candidates.
On today’s schedule, I only have one meeting: the company all-hands, which we hold every month. But before we get there, I want to talk about something that I use all day, every day: personal streams.
⏰ All-day: Personal Streams
I’m one of those people that makes lists and takes notes for absolutely everything in life. Need to decide between two courses? That’s a pros and cons list. Want to talk about something with a friend at some point? That’s going into an ongoing discussion topic post-it. Taking notes helps me think through decisions by seeing everything laid out at once, and it takes the stress away from not having to remember everything (I know the limits of my own memory 🧠).
The note aspect of Fellow is what drew me to it in the first place, because being able to write notes that everyone could easily see before a meeting was a dream come true. For a while after joining the team, I was still using a separate notes app for all my thoughts and lists that weren’t tied to any particular meeting – until we launched the “Personal Streams” section, which let me create as many notes as I could ever want.
I always have about 20 personal streams on the go, and I have templates and notes for everything – like travel checklists, expense reports, conference talk ideas, goals, and reading lists. There are two personal streams that are always pinned to the top of my list that I’d like to share with you:
You got this 👩🏼💻👊
Like a lot of people, I have to deal with imposter syndrome, where I’ll sometimes feel like a fraud and that I don’t deserve to be in my position. It’s not a fun feeling to have, and so I created a solution to pull me back out of that mindset whenever I need it.
The top stream in my personal section is called “You got this 👩🏼💻👊” and it’s filled with all of the accomplishments I’m most proud of, great feedback I’ve received, and a list of obstacles I’ve overcome. I group everything under headers that best represent my professional goals (community outreach, speaking, sponsoring others, leadership/management, etc) to give it a bit of structure.
Whenever I feel like I need a boost, I’ll read through this note and I’ll quickly be reminded of exactly why I belong here 💪
Another benefit to this note is that when performance review time comes around, I don’t have to think back on what I did over the last few months, it’s all written right there! I start a fresh note every year to make it easy to keep track of things for that purpose.
This summer I was managing two amazing interns on the team, Rachel and Kyle, and I knew from the start that I wanted to be able to sum up their four-month term with us in a memorable way at the end. They worked on so many important things and started a number of initiatives that are still living on today, and it would have been hard to keep track of it all without writing it down as it happened.
I set up a personal stream to create a summary of their summer (Summer-ies, if you will ☀️), with a note for each of them. Over the summer I updated the notes with the features they built, random greatness, the feedback they received… it was almost like their version of the “You got this” note.
At the end of the summer when we had our final 1-on-1s, I sent the notes to their personal emails using the “Send notes” feature so they could keep a copy. It was great being able to look back and show them everything they’d accomplished while they were here (it’s easy to forget what you did four months ago!).
Of course, feedback is a gift and you should be showing appreciation for what your direct reports are accomplishing as it happens, and not four months down the line – this type of note is just a great way to keep track of it all. If you start writing it all down too, you’ll soon see that the people on your team accomplish amazing things every day 💪.
⏰ 4:00 pm: All-hands 🙌
Every month we hold an all-hands meeting where people can present the initiatives they’ve been working on (like Manuela announcing the launch of our e-book: The Art of the One-on-One Meeting, Mikaela walking us through the science behind her customer success surveys, or Joel showing off the latest designs for the upcoming features). A big part of our all-hands is the Q&A, where we get to ask anyone in the company anything that’s on our mind.
It’s no secret that some of us are more introverted than others, and that can translate into not always wanting to ask a question in front of everyone. It can also be tough to come up with questions on the spot if we’re asked without warning “Are there any questions?” at the end of a meeting.
To make sure that everyone’s voice is heard and to encourage thoughtful preparation, we create a note in Fellow for our all-hands so that everyone can see the agenda for presentations and start adding their questions as early as they’d like. During the meeting, we have the notes on the big screen in fullscreen mode so that everyone can see the questions, and people don’t have to individually ask their own.
Collaborating on the questions for an all-hands ahead of time gives everyone a different perspective, and sometimes triggers questions that people wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. It can also be a great way of making sure that the most pressing and popular questions are asked first, because everyone has had a chance to read through them all.
All-hands meeting agenda
As we go through the all-hands note we check off the questions that we talk through and move them to the top, so that we don’t miss anything. It’s a collaborative process, and it gives everyone an opportunity to contribute.
The all-hands usually takes us into the end of the day, so that’s it for Wednesday! Next week for Thursday’s post I’ll be talking about how we use Fellow to order lunch and do one-on-ones – the most important meetings in our company!
What is Fellow.app?
Fellow helps managers and their teams have more effective 1-on-1s and team meetings, exchange feedback, and track goals – all in one place! Try it for free – your team will thank you 😉
About the author
Alexandra is a full-stack software engineer at Fellow.app, where she’s helping to build the future of work. In her spare time, Alexandra designs and sews clothes while incorporating tech by 3D printing custom elements and programming sewing machines. Alexandra is also a Twilio Champion and the new co-leader of Ottawa’s Slack Platform Community.