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5 min read

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Published on 03/19/2024
Last updated on 03/19/2024

Fostering a healthy team culture at Outshift


My role as a leader on the Outshift marketing team could be described as that of a magician. Magicians pull rabbits out of hats, and I am commonly faced with situations where I simply must make magic happen. Whether it’s designing a high-performing funnel, executing multi-sensory ABM paid media, or analyzing user journeys, our work demands collaboration and commitment.

Every day is different, and I love it. Our team has an ambitious vision. We are chartered to bring new products to life, which is innovative and exciting, but also feels overwhelming at times. To accomplish the extraordinary, teams need to intentionally create an inclusive, empathetic, and psychologically safe environment to enable their best work. Many companies boast about culture, but few walk the talk.  

The highest performing teams bring their vulnerable authentic selves to the table and deliver outcomes with agility in positions of uncertainty. Simply put, they show up - as professionals, as friends, as humans. They bring high integrity and accountability to the forefront of what it means to be a team.  

Highs and Lows: A weekly ritual to enhance connection 

Building a strong foundation for team culture is one of the most rewarding aspects of my role. One of the ways we nourish our team is by practicing the weekly ritual of Highs and Lows.  

I can’t take credit for this ritual, nor is Outshift the first team I’ve had the opportunity to amplify its impact. However, I am thankful to bring it to life and build a strong foundation. You may have heard it called other names (ex.  Growth Klatch, Trash or Treasure), but no matter the name, the ritual has the same intention – to bring your human self to the table equal to your peers.  

How it works!

On Fridays I join our weekly Growth Klatch meeting. The team goes around the room sharing our highs and lows of the week. This week, my high is that I’ve finally gotten to a big project that I’d been de-prioritizing. Another high is that I was able to pull off a fantastic 6th birthday for my son. For lows, I’ve been having a hard time prioritizing everything on my plate and have felt more overwhelmed than usual. 

The DO’s and DON'Ts of Highs and Lows

  • DO dedicate 30 minutes per week (Fridays recommended) for the entire team to join an optional meeting (yes, this should be optional).  
  • DO apply this ritual even if you are working in a remote or hybrid team environment (it still works).
  • DO have each teammate share a high and low for the week – it can be personal or professional. Sometimes people have more than one or none. Be okay with that.
  • DO use the popcorning method – it makes for a seamless transition for everyone to talk without awkward pauses. Popcorning is where the person speaking selects the next.
  • DO make sure your team knows that sharing is optional, and at whatever comfort level is good for them personally.
  • DO be supportive of your teammates when they are sharing something rather hard.  
  • DO celebrate the highs of others – be it personal or professional. (I think many times we, as humans, forget to properly recognize our wins).
  • DO take these shares into consideration as you are working with your colleagues.  
  • DO lead with vulnerability (especially if you are a leader). Sharing authentic life experiences humanizes you and allows others to share more vulnerably.  
  • DON’T use the time to talk about work needs, use other meetings or formal communications for that.  
  • DON’T use it as an opportunity to speak negatively about others. If your low had to do with a specific team or colleague, use your best judgment and avoid bringing politics into the picture.  
  • DON’T always default to the employees who are the most senior or the most vocal.
  • DON’T share others’ personal information outside of your circle. The highs/lows ritual is intended to be a safe space and with that comes great trust and responsibility.  

Embracing a culture of psychological safety

Practicing this ritual is a reminder that everyone is human. It gives us perspective. It gives you and your team the space to see humans as humans. That person you thought was blowing off your deadline? Maybe they were dealing with their parents' dementia. Does someone seem a little unenthusiastic about exciting news? Perhaps their friend was just lost in the war.  

We all have fears, feelings, and fatigue. I believe the best thing to do is work as a team to balance life and world events with humility while aiming to bring your best self each day (even if some days you are not at your best). By intentionally creating a space for empathy and understanding, we can extend more grace to one another. 

Empower your work community by leaning in

Life teaches us that nothing is certain, and that time stops for no one (true for innovation as well). While we may come from different backgrounds with different lived experiences, we are all one and the same when it comes to our need for vulnerability. My best advice as a team is to lean in.  

Lean into the hard moments, together. Lean in to celebrate the wins, together. It will make you stronger as a collective. This is your work community, so own it.

Lessons such as these are why I love the Outshift team. Our team shows up, leans in, and rises to face the uncertainty together. Being responsible for innovation is hard work. We hire some of the best and brightest in the industry. The minds working on our products are some of the most astounding brains I’ve ever encountered. As our connections continue to grow stronger and deeper, we find stability in our shared growth.

Get more behind the scenes stories from the Outshift team here

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