To help us define our working style we always start with our company-wide strategy. This is made up of a problem statement and guiding policy for the year that is subsequently broken down per quarter into small statements and guiding policies. Once we have this in place, we are now able to define the environment we want to create and the behaviours we deem necessary to help us achieve it.
- Technical Designer
If we think something doesn't feel right, personally or at the business level, we speak up. We are all in this to make Lingumi a success, and we need great relationships amongst our peers to get there. We appreciate each other for being honest with each other, no matter how hard it may be.
We are faced with many opportunities and challenges where we'll have to make a decision. We empower the whole team to make decisions at every level, instead of building a bureaucracy. We look at our mission, strategy and culture to assess what the best decision to make is and then make it. We're allowed to make mistakes and are super supportive towards each other to get to the best results in the time available.
When something needs doing, creating or fixing, we have the humility to learn how to do something and then have the courage to try to do it ourselves. This may be purchasing a book, undertaking a course or speaking to a colleague who is seen as the company expert in the thing we want to learn.
We connect everything we do back to our company mission. Our strategy and mission give us focus, helping us understand what we should prioritise, and what we should say no to. Our mission and impact provides us with our 'why' - why we exist in the world as a company, and how the world needs Lingumi to make it a more connected and better place.
We need to consistently be raising our standards and understanding that we all are accountable for this, irrespective of our role. Even if we are doing well, we need to be consistently assessing how we can do better.
Depending on our role, we always aim to delight the customer, whether that be internal customers such as our Lingumi team members, or our users. We always try to go above and beyond for them. Not everything needs to be scalable; we create moments of delight when we can.
Startups aren't easy. In 2019, we had a period with a very short cash runway, and hadn't achieved substantial enough product-market fit. We shared the problem, made tough calls, and had to say goodbye to some team members to survive. The thing that pulled us through was positivity: the team grouped together, and we worked with smiles on our faces to focus on improving our service for our customers! That was a meaningful moment for us, and we reflect back on it with team mates past and present as positivity is a critical value at Lingumi - we're happy people, working on something that makes us smile.
We all make mistakes. However, we always assume good intent from our teammates. Never has anyone make a decision that has derailed the organisation, nor do people try to mess things up or make bad decisions. We trust each other to make the best decisions with the information we have available to us.
We are given the opportunity to dream big, feel trusted and supported, and believe that we can achieve anything we set our mind to. We see everything as a hypothesis and are candid with each other to give honest and caring feedback. This allows us to run fast and tackle big challenges without any fears of repercussions.
We are a team of 24 individuals (and growing), based in four hubs around the world: London, Cardiff, Shenzhen and Singapore. This means we need to be disciplined in the way we communicate to get any work done. As a company, we believe in the art of asynchronous communication, and have invested in the tools to help us get there.
Meetings are a huge time investment, and so we use them wisely. We like to run tight meetings with pre-requisites, an objective, an agenda and an outcome.
All-hands: This session is led by our CEO, Toby. We use this session to update the company on the progress towards our north star metrics, introduce any new team members, and share knowledge of key company metrics or updates with the team.
Wins: The session is led by our COO, Adit, and is a really encouraging way to end the week where the whole global team celebrate in each other's wins and show our gratitude towards one another. It's a really great way to get an insight into what other teams have been working on. During the session a nominated DJ cues celebratory music based on themes (like 1960s) after someone has shown their 'Win'.
Weekly checkins: Each person aims to produce exceptional results consistently and ethically. During the checkin, we work with our managers to help unblock us, hear us and be there for support and coaching in good times and bad. We also use some of the time to go through improvements that we agree upon and outlining how the working week has been.
Bi-weekly checkins: Adit, our COO, runs bi-weekly checkin with all managers to remove any operational friction that they have faced within the last two weeks to help improve their performance and working rhythm.
Skip-level checkins: Adit runs skip-level checkins with all employees to understand how we can improve the performance and culture of the department, and ensure no one is having a bad time!
Pre-mortems: This is where we assess why a project we're about to start work on would be a complete failure and a major success. It helps us start to form the right hypotheses and make sure that whatever project we are working on is aligned on achieving our KPI's and guiding policies.
Retrospectives: Once a hypothesis or a set of hypotheses has been validated or invalidated, or we've completed a sprint, we aim to run retrospectives to assess what has been done well, what could have been improved and what we need to start doing.
Book clubs: Those who choose to within the company get together once a month and debate a professional book of choice. For example, one of the books we ran a book club on was 'Powerful', by Patty McCord, debating how well the Netflix Culture fits our ethics and cultural aims at Lingumi. We run this session with anyone in the team who wants to participate once a month.
Peer To Peer (P2P) Groups: Managers get together each month, opening up to each other and talking about some of the issues that we've struggled with. We then go round the (virtual) room to each manager and discuss our own experiences.
Virtual Team Yoga: We run virtual team yoga sessions every Wednesday morning for those who want to start the day fresh. At Lingumi, we promote yoga, meditation and physical exercise to everyone in the company.
Covid-19 proved an exciting challenge for us to build even stronger remote working culture. One of our team launched the "Interrupt Brandon Challenge" where he wanted people to call him for non-work chats at any time to deliberately distract him.
Our Head of Product, Richard, launched a coffee chat for his team to help them bond in isolation. Here's what one his direct reports had to say about it: "Coffee and wins chat on Thursday afternoon is a nice way to bring the team together, we have time to just chat about life as well as show work we are proud of. I really enjoy this meeting, especially now when we are out of the office because it gives us that 'chilled' time as a team to get to know each other more, which is an important part of any good team."