Nuggets from the Book Re Work

I started reading the book “Re Work” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson – Founders for 37 Signals.

37 Signals started in 1999 with 3 people as a web design consulting firm, in 2004 they are not happy with the project management tool used by the rest of the industry and they started building their own tool: Basecamp. Basecamp initially used by 37 Signals internally for project management. When they showed this tool to their clients, they liked it and they wanted to use the same. After 5 years Basecamp generates millions of dollars a year in profits.

Nuggets from this book,


Some people celebrate the workaholic culture. Not only this workaholism is unnecessary and it also creates a lot of problems. Working more it doesn’t mean you are getting more done. It just means you are working more. Workaholics create more problems than they solve. They even create crises. They also don’t think about how to plan a day’s efficiency, because they love to work overtime. They enjoy feeling like heroes. Workaholics are not heroes. They don’t save the day. They just use it up. The real hero is people who already home and spent a day efficiently and to do things in a faster way. 

What is growth

Growth doesn’t mean how many people in your company/team. Maybe the right size of your company is 5 people.  Maybe 10 people.  Maybe 200 people or Maybe it’s just you and your laptop. Grow slow and steady.  Small is not just a stepping stone. Small is a great destination in itself. 

Make a dent in the Universe:

To do great work you need to feel like you are making a difference. That you are putting a meaningful dent in the universe. It doesn’t mean you need to find the vaccine for covid 19. It’s just your efforts that need to feel valuable. You want your customer to say this product/services makes my life better. You want to feel that you stopped doing what you usually do. 

Scratch your own itch:

The easiest and straightforward way to create a great product or service is to make something you want to use. You can design and implement your idea and let’s see if it solves your problem.  If you are solving someone else’s problem, it means “you’re constantly stabbing in the dark. When you solve your own problem, the light comes on. You know exactly what the right answer is.”

No time is no excuse

The most common excuse people give “There is not enough time” to do something new. It’s all about priority. There is always enough time, if you spend it right. 

Draw a line in the sand

As you get going, keep in mind why you are doing and what you are doing. Great businesses have a point of view, not just a product or service. A strong stand is how you attract your fans. They point to you and defend you and spread the word further widely and passionately around the world. 

Strong opinions aren’t free. You will turn some people off. They will accuse you of being arrogant and aloof. they don’t like you.

If someone doesn’t like you, then it means you are doing something great. If nobody likes you, whatever you are doing is great. 

When you build a great product, a lot of people hate us because of different reasons and also they expect all the features in the competitors products. Some customers also insult us sometimes. But, we are just as proud of our products and proud about what our products don’t do. We design our product very simple. because , most of the products have a complex design, too many buttons, too many redirections. So we build products that are opposite of that. We also lose some customers. But that’s ok. You can’t satisfy the whole world. But, other people love our products intensively. That’s our line in the stand. 

Live it or Leave it:

There is a major difference between truly standing for something and having a mission statement that says you are standing for something. For example, if you are calling a customer support number and it says, thank you for calling and we value our customers and keep telling some automated voice without connecting the respective person and keep on stand by on the line is not actually a great customer support. If you really care about your customers, you need to have more support people to serve your customers. Please don’t give me an automated voice that’s telling how much you care about the customer. It’s a robot. We know the difference between genuine affection and robots that say some nice things that are programmed well. 

Standing for something is not writing it down. It’s about believing it and living it. 

Outside money is Plan Z:

You can always avoid outside funding. When you start building a restaurant you may need outside money to invest. But, to start a services/consulting business you may not need that much money. So, please always avoid outside money. When you turn to outsiders for funding, you need to answer to them. They can’t wait for a long time. Spending other people’s money is addictive and it’s usually a bad deal. 

You need less than you think

Do you really need 6 people to work on the project or just 2 people is enough?

Do you really need $50,000 for your marketing budget or $5,000 or $500 is enough for now?

Do you really need 6 month to deliver the project or you can make it in 3 months?

Do you really need full time customer service or you can handle it yourself?

Do you really need a big office or can you share office space or work from home?

There is nothing wrong with being frugal.

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How to Successfully Plan a Business Trip to Multiple Destinations

When you have a business trip, it’s very important to have a plan as you will have several questions to be figured out in order to execute a successful business trip. Here are some key points which would help you in planning, and executing your trip well.

  • Always plan your travel ahead of time, it helps to save a lot on travel fares. Book your flights and hotels in advance.
  • Take down the list of key accounts you are going to meet.
  • Find out their current location, this is very important, Please do not assume they are in the same place as they were on your last visit. 
  • Once you have got their location, the next is to note it down, Write down the Account/Stakeholder’s Name, and the location. You can do this in a paper or an e-note whichever you prefer, this would act as your navigator/guide throughout the trip.
  • Now, as you have the list of addresses with you, next is to select your arrival and departure point for the entire trip,i.e where you want to arrive first and which one would be your final destination. This will help you in putting up the roadmap/timeline.
  • If you are traveling to the States, I personally prefer to go to the East coast first and then travel through the West Coast. This way you can save a lot of time. You may lose a day of time if you choose to travel from West to East. 
  • Now, If you’re someone who wants to travel from the West coast to the East coast, please take a red-eye flight, this way you can travel overnight and connect with the Stakeholders during their Daytime. 
  • If you have two to three accounts in the same location, plan your time accordingly, so that you can also visit your other clients along with the primary/prioritized ones.
  • Find the nearest location from your start point and follow the same throughout the trip. 
  • Above all, when you meet with a client on a business trip it is important to stay energetic and fresh. So, it is always good to reach a day earlier, so that you can get a good time to take a rest and start fresh. 
  • Please stay at the hotel close to your meeting location. It helps to avoid traffic when you travel in the morning. 
  • Do not forget to update your calendar for all the meeting agendas/notes. Travel, stay itinerary. I use a tool ‘Trippit’ which makes my entire travel plan a lot easier.

Feedback and queries are welcome.

Cover photo credit: Pedro Lastra

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How to Retain Employees in the Organization

Retaining the employees is always challenging one in every organization. Performance based appraisal is not only the way to retain the employees. even if the organization give 100% hike, they can’t able to retain the employees.

Why Employee Retention:

It’s very difficult to hire new employee and train them to fit your companies culture. Employee retention is helped to stay the employees in long time in the organization.

Whenever the talented star employees decided to move on to different company, it is the responsibility for the manager and the human resources team to find out the exact reason to why the employee is moving to another company.

Recruiting the new employee is not such an easy process. its time consuming also it’s very difficult to judge whether the people fit for the organization or not.

Employees working for a long time in the organization is very important to understand the companies culture and better understanding with companies polices.

It takes more time to adjust with everyone in the team. every individuals needs time to mingle and be friendly with everyone in the team.

How to Retain the Employees:

There are several ways to retain the employees in the organization. Below are the few of the important points to retain the employees.

Employee Recognition:

Employee Recognition is the important one to retain the employees. Every companies need to set up the Employee of the Month or Employee of the Quarter program. it doesn’t matter we need to recognize only one employee in the office or in a team. if everyone is eligible for the reward, then we need to recognize everyone. but it’s not effective as a personal connection.

What is Personal connection:

Every employees need to connect with the immediate superior or the managers. Every manager needs to personally appreciate the employees for their great works. Managers connect to the Employees one to one.

Nothing is equal than, the manager come to you and recognize for your great work.

If the employee stay late night in the office some of the companies will provide the cab for the employee. But nothing is equal to the manager talk to employees while he/she leaving from the office and ask them to call back once reached the home. it’s very key point of retaining the employees.

As per the statistics, Managers recognizing Employee Performance increases engagement by 60% (Ref : Towers Watson, Turbocharging Employee Engagement: The Power of Recognition From Managers, 2009)

Build a Strong Team

Building the strong team is the major one to retain the employee. it also helps to retain the whole team. managers should take the employees to lunch or dinner with the team and they can talk openly to the employees to understand their career goals. also you should give the bonus to the team whenever the completion of successful project. it helps to build the stronger team and retain the entire team members.

Performance Appraisal

Every Employee needs to feel like they are properly evaluated and you paid fairly for the work they are doing. If the Employee feel like, they are properly evaluated based on their performance, then they don’t feel to go out.

Effective Performance review will definitely Help to retain the employees.

Performance Review is the great opportunity for the both employees and Manager. It is the chance for the employee to discuss their own careers with the managers. so the managers well understand that the employee is satisfied with the current job. so it helps to retain the employees.

Voice of the Employee

Every organization needs to listen the Employees voice. they need to give opportunity to share their feedbacks to the organization.

you should having regular feedback session with your employees weekly or monthly and need to resolve their issues with time line.

Feedback session is used to fix any issues that have come up. apart from this feedback session you should find, what are all the problem employees facing and come up with the agenda in the meeting and needs to set milestone to resolve the issues.

voice of the Employee Program will retain approximately at least 10% of the Employees.

Exit and Stay Interviews

If the employee is leaving from the company you could conduct the Exit Interview and find out why the employee is leaving from the company. It is really important one to collect the data about why they are leaving from the current position. so we can collect the data from the employees and it helps to resolve the problem and retain other employees. also you need to try to convenience the employee while they are leaving.

Some Other Ways to Retain the Employees:

  • Compensation and Retention Bonus
  • Offer a good career path
  • Training
  • Reward and Recognition
  • Flexibility
  • Perks and Gifts
  • Celebration and Fun

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Who is a Trusted Advisor?

Who is a Trusted Advisor?

“The trusted advisor is the person whom you call immediately when an issue first arises, often in times of great urgency: a crisis, a change, a triumph, or a defeat.”

The Term ‘Trusted Advisor’ you can relate to both professional and personal life. Let’s say, if you have any problem, you immediately call one person, he may be your friend or relative or anyone you know. That person is your trusted advisor. We can relate the same to our professions. 

None of us started our career as a Trusted Advisor. We usually start the relationship as a vendor. The customer gives you some tasks. We can work on a particular task or services. On the next level, we can suggest something to the customer on the services we do. When we do excellence in the services we do, customers believe us and involve us in other areas, though we are not experts in that area. When we continue performance excellence on everything, customers start trusting us and they get you involved in the complex business strategy. Now, we are a Trusted Advisor for that customer. 

What are all the benefits you get, if you are a Trusted Advisor for your customer

  1. The Customer always reaches you first for any advice. 
  2. Bring you in for more advanced and complex business strategy. 
  3. Be inclined to accept and act on your recommendations. 
  4. Treat you as you wish to be treated.
  5. Share more information, that helps you to help them. 
  6. Pay our invoices/bills without any questions. 
  7. Refer you to their friends and other businesses.
  8. Forgive you when you make any mistakes.
  9. Protect you when you need it.
  10. They Respect you.

Each one of you must have a Trusted Advisor and they advise you for your most important business, career, and even for personal discussions. 

If you have a Trusted Advisor, What are all the characteristics you are able to relate to from the above benefits which I mentioned? 

Can you share any of the recent incidents you noticed that make you feel like you are a Trusted Advisor for your customer?

Ref: The Trusted Advisor by David H. Maister, Charles H.Green, Robert M. Galford.

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