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What is it like to work at SheEO?

NEW Podcast Series

You ask a question and we answer it! Join us for this bite-sized series, each episode answers a ‘Behind The Scenes’ question in no more than 10 to 20 mins!


“What is it like to work at SheEO?”

The first episode Vicki Saunders, founder of SheEO + Hannah Cree, SheEO Venture in Residence talk about why they started this series + some behind the scenes look at how the team at SheEO iterates and uses feedback in real time.

Have a topic or question about SheEO? Send us a voice note to [email protected] and it could be featured on the very next behind the scenes podcast.


Hannah Cree 0:04
Welcome to the SheEO Behind the Scenes podcast. Today Vicki Saunders, founder of SheEO and myself Hannah Cree, SheEO Venture in Residence, we’re talking about why we started this series, and how feedback and iteration is core to our culture. Let’s jump in.

Vicki Saunders 0:19
There’s so much that goes on in any given day, that we have a hard time sharing out into the world, because not everybody’s on social watching at a certain amount of time. And there’s a lot of context behind things. And I don’t know about you, Hannah. But whenever I sit down to write these things out, I’m like, I have to provide so much context and all of a sudden it becomes a three pager, and then I’m like, nope, no one’s gonna read it.

Hannah Cree 0:39
No one reads just reads three page pages. They do tend to listen to podcasts, although I will say apparently, podcast listening has gone down during COVID because people aren’t traveling and in their cars, right. However, I think it’s the context. It’s all these different layers that happens at SheEO in the behind the scenes, and so, context for me is that I’m SheEO Venture. And then I come in as a Venture in Residence, and I’m seeing the inside. And I was like, this is what’s happening on the inside to make this outside look this way? It’s so completely different from the structure to how people work with each other. And I don’t think people understand the complexities of it, but also to be inspired by it. Like, we can actually run organizations in a different way.

Vicki Saunders 1:29
Okay, so you’re taking me in a whole different direction. So let’s just do let’s go with that. So what, what’s different? Like, what’s your biggest surprise walking into this crazy, amazing team?

Hannah Cree 1:40
That you actually have a lot of people and it’s, in my opinion, a flat organization and I say flat in terms of everyone literally works in little pods and groups, and cross collaborates at a rate that I’ve never seen before. It’s just like, and everyone is very key. Not everyone, but I think there’s, how do I say this, there’s a piece of which you say, what are you great at? What do you do well, and how do we get you doing more of those things? And so when you say to me is like, follow the energy. What does what’s working for you? What do you love? That was such a different question than I’ve ever been asked. It’s like, Oh, you don’t like doing social media posting? Okay, then who? Who can do that on the team? Like so instantaneous?

Vicki Saunders 2:24
Yeah. Yeah, it’s interesting. I look for pain all the time. Right? And I ask it in this way, this sort of like entrepreneur way, right? Like, what are the pain points? That is like so jargony? And, you know, if you haven’t had a lot of experience in that kind of a sure. Like, what do you mean, I’m not in pain? I’m fine. I’m okay. What is she looking for? Is this what Where am I? Right? Like, it’s just a weird thing. Like, no, really, what do you hate doing that you’re doing every day? People are like, Well, isn’t that your job? Aren’t you supposed to do stuff that you hate and like no, not here. When you start to like spend time doing stuff that you hate you like you just don’t get energized by it, and then you slow down. And then you’re like, disconnected. 19% of people in corporations actually like what they’re doing. 19% Yeah, 19% employee engagement 19% Yeah, engaged, right.

Hannah Cree 3:14
it’s just your job and you have to do it, but then you become a sucky human.

Vicki Saunders 3:18
Right? Well, here’s the other thing, we know that all the structures that we’ve set up for how organizations run, end up creating the results that we have. Right? And so there’s, there’s a lot of problems with our structures. And so to rethink them and do them differently, is part of the like, deconstructing our mind. You know that and conditioning, the way we’ve been conditioned is the way you’re supposed to work with a boss or whatever. So we have this process that we follow with Dee Hock. And it’s about self management. So 50% of your time you’re managing yourself. What does that mean? Manage yourself. Why do I have to manage myself? How are you doing? Is it working for you? How do you get yourself in a space where you can be motivated? How do you want to be communicated with how do you want to communicate with others 25% up managing people that are above you, not managing leading, and then 25% your peers basically. And that’s, that’s the process and it is hard to get used to because you have to be self directed. And if you’re not, it doesn’t work for you here because like, nobody wants to call you and go, what’s your to do list? Did you get your to do list done? Hey, how you doing on your to do list? Hey, I’m following up for the third time. You’re like, shut up, I hate this job.

Hannah Cree 4:28
Yeah, that’s management. That’s what’s happened, right? Like, that’s management. People can be like, I don’t micromanage you. And I was like, management in itself is just managing people and asking them all of those to do lists questions instead of like, what are you noticing? What are you doing? Well, but I do think it’s hard. Because I think it opens up for me, for me personally, what’s happened is opened up other areas of my life. I start to question like, wait, am I doing what I love? What does this look like? Like I think I cried almost every day for the first few weeks of SheEO.

Vicki Saunders 5:02
It’s cause you’re releasing all this stuff. You’re like, what? I don’t have to do this terrible thing anymore.

Hannah Cree 5:07
Yeah, it was like a release of, oh, what am I doing and also I’m joking, I’m going through like a midlife crisis. I talked to MJ, our development coach a little bit about that about it, that’s the perfect timing of it to, to be in an organization that is asking you different questions about how you work and how you work with one another, of course is going to apply into your personal life. I also believe in systems change work, you can’t do this work unless you look at yourself first. If you have to, unpack to levels that I keep on thinking I hit rock bottom, but it’s not even close, right? It’s like, no, there’s just layers. It’s not rock bottom, it’s just layers.

Vicki Saunders 5:48
Yeah, and I also wouldn’t even like think of it as like rock bottom, but it’s like we’re constantly learning things about ourselves. And I mean, this is, this is what I think business. I mean, this is what business is about. For me what life is about. Which is we can’t really develop to the degree that we’re here to develop, unless we’re in relationship. We learn from others if you’re sitting in isolation by yourself super hard to grow. It’s only in relationship where we’re like, what’s up with Hannah? What’s, what’s Hannah’s problem? She’s driving me crazy today. And then you’re like, oh, everything I see in someone else is really about me. Hmm, this is really my thing. So being in a relationship working with you, and noticing what drives me nuts is a message for myself, right? It’s the gift for me to learn. And most people just want to go no, I just want to blame Hannah. She’s a pain in the ass to work with, right? Which is not true, by the way, everybody, she’s amazing to work with. But that’s the kind of thing that we create is really about us. Right? And so every one of these relationships and how we’re working, that’s why we’re constantly going like what are you noticing? Where, where’s the rub, what’s bugging you? That’s information for you to tweak and design what you’re working on. So it can be more of what you want. And it’s a total ongoing process. It’s like it never ends. It never ends really never ends.

Hannah Cree 7:03
Yeah, that’s why there is no rock bottom. It’s just this process of uncovering different pieces of it.

And so the SheEO model in itself, I remember you actually saying you’re like, oh, once we call it a model, or once we call it a thing, then that’s when it all falls apart. Right? Like, once you say this is the standard, then what? But I think, in itself, for me is the iteration. So, it’s very simple piece that I’m really shocked by and it’s been amazing is that it’s as simple as automating all the feedback forms into a Slack channel. And we’re seeing constant feedback on everything from the calls to #TWEF2020 event that we did yesterday. Every feedback form, there’s always a form that goes out, and we’re seeing the feedback in real time and so to me in the base of the model is actually iterate and listening.

Vicki Saunders 8:01
Yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s fascinating because in the past, like, one we go, Okay, we’re gonna send out a survey after we do a thing. And it sits in the survey bucket person’s job that nobody else looks at. And maybe that survey person calls a meeting three months later after they’ve created a bunch of charts in a doc. And then they have a meeting and they go, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, and everyone goes, Uh huh. Okay, good check. She did her job. And, like, then what, right whereas like, how do we get a living, breathing feed into our organization of what’s happening in the community? And that’s been the amazing thing with using Zapier and Slack. And so on any given day you see Oh, someone just activated who activated great connect with them on LinkedIn. Welcome them in Say hi. Oh, they were recommended by yesterday was who was Renee de prata. Renee, I sent her a note. Hey, thanks, Renee. Like, I can see that it’s not locked in someone’s job somewhere where they have to get to it on a to do list. We flow with that in real time and then that’s when we get feedback like, wow, how are you getting so much done? Or I just activated a minute ago, how’d you get that I’m like, because it’s in our, it’s in our daily workflow that people can see. And those who have the energy for it can step in to do it. It’s just a everything, the more transparent we can be. And the more in flow, we can be with the energy, the better. And I know I talk about energy all the time, like follow the energy. But it is this weird thing where like, if you activated last night at eight o’clock, which someone did, and I responded at 802, because I was I’m insane, always on my phone. And you’re like, Wow, what a delightful experience. That’s, that’s a thing, right? That’s part of your SheEO experience. And if it’s like, okay, we respond to activation things on Wednesdays at two o’clock. And so you wait, you know, three and a half or five days. It’s not, the energy’s gone, like the momentum is gone. That person’s excited. They just did this thing and well, they just got pinged by someone in real time. That’s exciting.

Hannah Cree 9:54
Yeah. And it also creates the flip side to this of the rub of because we iterate and are so much in the moment at times, and we’re listening, that sometimes when we make a decision, it’s hard for other people externally to see why that decision has been made. Because we’ll quickly change or will, you know, while we’ve listened to this feedback, and we’re doing all this listening in the back end to then make the decisions that sometimes when we’re doing that so quickly, it’s hard for other people externally to understand, well, what was that process? And you’re always changing your mind maybe, is can be some of the feedback, right?

Vicki Saunders 10:31
Yeah, absolutely. And it’s, again, because it’s in a real time flow of, Oh, we saw that for the third time in a row now, act on it, that feels like a thing that we need to get on to because it’s important, and we’ve heard it several times. And so yeah, this is, as you and I were talking about, over the last few weeks, how do we start to share a little bit more of what we’re doing internally, so that people can actually see what’s coming. And I think, you know, there’s some smaller programmatic things that are like okay, not a huge deal. And then there’s Some bigger things like okay, we’re actually going to be changing our look and feel. Not our feel our look. Why don’t we jump into that and we didn’t really tell anybody.

Hannah Cree 11:15
Have a topic or question about SheEO? Send us a voice note to [email protected] and it could be featured on the very next behind the scenes podcast.

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