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Improving Internal Comms with Brie Wolfson

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Sep 9, 2022

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Improving Internal Comms with Brie Wolfson

Please see the following takeaways from this Lunch and Learn with Brie Wolfson, the Founder of The Kool-Aid Factory. You can also connect with Brie on Twitter.

(Note: please defer to the video for details and the most accurate information).

Improving Slack

“There is like this intuition that I understand around like having as few channels as possible in Slack because it's like so noisy already. When the truth is actually the most effective use of Slack is like way, way, way more channels — such that all of those channels are like extremely highly targeted. 

-Every team can have multiple channels. Each with a targeted audience and purpose. 

Another way to fix Slack:

1. find a team that's like super bought into updating Slack norms because they're feeling like something's broken

2. Make a shift in Slack that really works well for that team

3. Create a curation layer channel like Business Updates as an example.

-Partner with four or five people from around the org to produce really great materials on that topic. 

-Try to get leadership on board and advocating for it. Once leadership does, people will follow. 

4. Appoint Slack channel "Rangers". People who can manage channels, and move posts and links around if needed. 

Another idea: Use Slack as only the distribution system that links out to other stuff, and not the place where like the content drafting happens. 

See Brie's blog post for a follow-up resource on using Slack.

All-Hands Meeting:

Instead of a grab-bag approach to the purpose of an all-hands meeting, decide on one purpose for the all-hands. It’s likely going to be something like a pep rally. An all-hands is likely not the best format is like conveying information that people really need to latch onto. I would try to strip all-hands from the information distribution type of thing and move that into a format that's like more async, digestible, and reference-able. 

Other ideas:

-Think of the audience to an all-hands as people who are newer to the company

-Another alternative to an All Hands is having Demo Days, or show and tell. Where it is more about the artifacts of work getting produced. 

Company Digest:

For anything that you really want someone to know or read, create a Company Digest for it. Send it out at  whatever cadence you think is the best

Format: whatever feels authentic to your company (Notion, etc)

Two ways to think about what to include in the Company Digest: 

  1. Super important stuff that people really need to know; or 
  2. A set of breadcrumbs. Where it is a menu of things that you might be interested in going on around the company. Make sure it links out to other documents. 

Follow-on idea: instead of one person creating the Digest, consider rotating it around the company and it be a recognition mechanism for people in the company.


Information Distribution (push vs pull):

Pull is when I'm an employee and I have a question that I need answered. So I go searching, where do I go? That's like, I'm looking to pull information out of the org. 

Putting something up on a wiki that you hope someone goes to find later as an FAQ, that's like a classic pull mechanism. 

Push: you sending information out before anybody's asking. An all-hands is a classic push mechanism. A Company Digest is a classic push mechanism. 

Information Transparency:

Two buckets:

One: content level transparency: can you see that document? Is it default to open or close? 

Two: structural transparency: what information do we view as sensitive at our company? What don't we and you can tell people what you hide? 

“And you can just say, we are not transparent about that as a form of transparency.”

Curation layer on top of your actual work and team specific notes on it 

Strongly advocate for organizations to create a curation layer on top of the work. Where people are not only producing work in their own little universes, but they're also publishing into the organization, saying “hey, this is what I'm up to. This is what you need to know as a person without context. This is why you should get excited about this. This is why it matters for our global strategy and approach. And this is why you should like talk to me about this if you're working on something similar.”

Think about your audience being a random person need to know about this thing, and then produce that document and that's the one to share out.

See Brie's related blog post for more information on this topic.

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