Tyler from Less Annoying Business here. Here's what I've been up to:
Stop trying to maximize things [Blog post]
I hear the phrase "maximize shareholder value" a lot, but I don't see many people challenge the premise. I think maximizing things is causing a lot of problems in the world, and we should strive for balance rather than maximization.
The importance of internal communication [Podcast]
This week, Rick and I talk about various updates at work, and we dive into the recent Basecamp drama.
What I've been working on
With Less Annoying CRM reopening the office in about a month, we're planning some changes to the setup. In particular, instead of having all of the private offices be communal space that anyone can use, we're giving each employee their own dedicated private office. This should be better overall, but I was worried that it might lead to a sense of unfairness. Some offices have windows, some are bigger, etc. and I didn't want the people with the worse offices to feel like they got shafted.
Thankfully, we seem to have found an outcome that everyone is happy with. There were two keys to making this work:
- We used other things to make it up to the people with worse offices. Everyone is getting a small budget to upgrade their equipment, and we're giving higher budgets to people with less desirable offices. Everyone ended up happy with what they got.
- I had a lot of one-on-one communication with each employee to explain the reasoning, and figure out everyone's unique preferences. It turns out, there were enough differences of opinion (e.g. some people want more space, some want a window, some want more temperature control) that it was possible to give almost everyone their top choice. If we had just randomized or picked without talking to people, the outcome could have been much worse.
My main takeaway is this: A lot of hard problems can be solved by just communicating and treating everyone like human beings. It's hard in the moment (I spent a lot of time bouncing around to figure out what everyone wanted this week) but it's well worth it in the long run.