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Last week saw a lot of praise for this image.
It was widely described as being from ‘Google’s Wellbeing Manifesto’, although we couldn’t find an original link to confirm this.
On first glance, this feels like it could be a good idea. Distributing something like this signals cultural behaviours within a team which might not be immediately obvious and acknowledges the more human reality of your workplace.
But there are some potential pitfalls.
Fortunately, we have Giles Turnbull to turn to, former communications specialist at the UK Government Digital Service.
After the Google image went semi-viral, it didn’t take long for others to point out that Turnbull had written the original ‘it’s ok to’ poster for the UK government back in 2016. Here it is on the wall:
In a blog post from 2016, he has some advice for anyone thinking about doing the same. His guidance is succinct and helpful, so here it is in full:
If you’re interested in doing something similar with your team, there’s another Q&A here with Turnbull where he goes into a little more depth.
It can be easy to become disillusioned with corporate values. We know this, because people are.
In a piece earlier this year, we reflected on a survey which found that only 25% of employees agreed that ‘my organisation is as purpose driven as it’s leaders believe it to be.’
Even companies with relatively stellar reputations can trip up by extending their proclaimed set of values into areas which they don’t intend to support with their actions.
Publicly, the company has made a very clear commitment to pay equity in its Inclusion & Diversity literature
Seems pretty straightforward.
Except this week the company closed down a Slack channel which employees had set up to discuss the topic of pay equity.
Hilariously (or not if you’re an Apple employee wanting to check you’re being paid fairly) the company’s official reason was:
As Zoe Schiffer, the journalist who broke the story, pointed out, Apple’s Slack channels for #fun-dogs, #dad-jokes and #gaming don’t seem to fit these criteria either and have thousands of active members.
That’s not to even start on how describing pay equity as outside the scope of ‘advancing your work, deliverables and mission’ is an incredible self-own.
For whatever reason, it’s a topic Apple seems uncomfortable with, which makes it a fraught issue to take a public position on.
It’s another lesson in why it’s so important that your values, whether at a company level or a team level, actually align with your culture and working practices. If they don’t, it’s very easy for cracks of hypocrisy to appear and undermine your purpose.
Most managers we meet want to help their team members progress their careers.
Most also want to build diverse teams.
Andres Gomez, a Senior Software Engineering Manager at Twitter, has a question to bring up at your next 1:1 which could help you do both.
‘“How can we find the best place for you within the company that brings your unique skills and experiences to the forefront?”
It’s one of those helpful questions that introduces a discussion of career development without it being too awkward. It focuses the discussion on the individual’s strengths as they see them.
By talking about ‘unique skills and experiences’ it also shows that diverse experiences are valued, and demonstrates your commitment to finding the place where they can have the most impact.
Gomez said he was asked it for the first time as part of being hired. Maybe give it a try next time you’re in the interview room or in a 1:1.
As a manager, it’s probable that at some point you’ll be asked to do some form of public speaking. Whether it’s an extended team update, an internal presentation, or a more formal external talk.
It’s also probable that you’ll be nervous about it.
According to some estimates, over 70% of people feel some level of anxiety about public speaking. There’s even a word for it: Glossophobia.
So it’s very convenient that Lara Hogan has recently made her book from a few years ago, Demystifying Public Speaking, available for free on a shiny new website.
It’s focussed on the more formal scenario of giving a public talk, but these sections in particular are relevant to any form of public speaking:,,
If you’re looking for even more on this topic, Anjuan Simmons’ article from a few months back on this subject is also worth checking out.
As a manager, we know you’re busy and can’t always find the time to think about your team’s development.
That’s why we’ve created Your Week Ahead for those who use Kommon with their teams.
From next week, we’ll send managers one email, every Monday, to let them know about any upcoming 1:1s they have with their team that week, as well as any due dates for action items, goals and milestones. The email also contains a status update on how they’re managing their team.
It’s everything a manager needs to stay on top of their team’s career development each week.
It looks a little bit like this...
If you’d like to see how it could work for you and your team, check out Kommon.