Comrades of The Contract Revolution! We are back to end the deadly (and costly) stress once and for all! Try The Five Rocks Strategy and keep your employees from running around like headless chickens.
Just to be clear, stress is not necessarily damaging. It is, in fact, a brilliant evolutionary ability that has secured the survival of humankind for ages. As a physical response, it helps us to deliver when we are under pressure by releasing hormones, adrenalin, and other delicious chemicals. It makes us alert and focused and it gives us a huge boost of energy to either fight or flight when standing face to face with bloodthirsty predators like lions, bears or the annoying seagulls that continue to harass us here on our fancy harbour front location.
But stress can also occur in inappropriate situations. Like when there are no predators. It minimizes brain function, prevents us from thinking clearly and exhausts our bodies. It simply undermines our physical health and erodes our immune system, when we are kept under stress for longer intervals.
According to the World Health Organisation, stress-related mental health conditions will be the second most common disability in 2020.
Stressforeningen estimates that 10-12 % of the Danish population experience symptoms of severe stress every day, costing 1.400 lives per year.
While it is highly necessary for the business that your employees are able to work under pressure in short periods of time, a stressful work environment is terrible in the long run. 1.5 million days of absence per year is the result of stress – in Denmark only. That, of course, damages your workflow and there is a risk, that it leads to long-term sick leaves and in the end those goddamned expensive turnovers.
So the 27-billion-dollar-per-year-in-Denmark-question is, how can we reduce stress in our work environment?
Answer: The Five Rocks Strategy
There is an enormous difference between being stressed and busy. Busy means a healthy business, long-term stress means unhealthy business. With an effective workflow, a thought-through plan and the right focus you are able to work more and harder than you ever imagined. But. Without this, you will most likely run circles like headless chickens, bumping into stuff and causing your bodies all kinds of damage.
In the past months, we have adopted a new strategy in order to optimize our workflow and create a healthy and fun working environment for our Contractbook cadres. We call it The Five Rock Strategy!
We pick five rocks (metaphorically speaking) for each quarter and focus on them only. That means five main objectives. You can choose three, four or you can change the rhythm to two months or six months, that is not the important issue.
The overall goal is to create a working structure that allows the team to focus on the same defined tasks in order to fulfil the main company mission.
In theory, this creates transparency about the goals of the business and how job roles support these goals. It gives all employees peace of mind because they know the priorities and their role in the overall strategy.
Right now, two of our five rocks are sales and external communications. The sales goal should not be left alone for business people only. If our software developers feel they can contribute to a rock, they should. Therefore, our developers are also working to optimize our sales and to increase the awareness of our brand. They are developing easier paths of communication, working on our branding strategy such as our new visual design and they are helping the team with this very blog. In this way, everybody knows what their colleagues are working on and tasks will be reduced to a more manageable number.
Okay, the developers might be neglecting some code maintenance until the next rhythm, but eventually, we will focus on consolidation and code improvement. And when we do, everybody on the team will work closely together to find the right solutions. In this way, our salesmen will also be better able to communicate how we have improved the coding.
It has been a huge success. We have a self-organized team consisting of skilled, emphatic, communicative and self-sufficient members. It has created more recognition between the different roles as developers and salesmen work closer together. It makes us more effective since we all carry the same rocks. By working on short-term goals we have a high frequency of success thus creating a team of winners.
With a clear main responsibility structure, we have optimized our own workflow, minimized friction and created more transparency.
We have also become happier employees, ready to work the extra mile because we know what we are doing and where we are going.
Keep calm, do not lose your heads and Vivé la revolution!
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