GET EMAIL UPDATES FROM POWERTOFLY
By signing up you accept the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy
BROWSE CATEGORIES
GET EMAIL UPDATES FROM POWERTOFLY
Managed By Q Inc

What Our First-Ever Hack Day Taught Me About Building an Animated Culture

Partner Content

Below is an article originally written by Rochelle DiRe at PowerToFly Partner Managed by Q, and published on April 4, 2017. Go to Managed by Q's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.

The fluorescent-lit training room at Managed by Q was standing-room only. We were all cracking smiles, up on our toes or shifting in our seats, tipping beers, and scanning for a sign that things were beginning. We were all Ferris Bueller and we were in on the joke. Even the engineers seemed giddy. It was time for the reveal.

One by one, teams came up — we each had a strict two minutes to pitch our projects. The wave of delight and pride crescendoed when our newly-minted product manager, Chris Schilling, debuted SnapQuote, a product feature that would enable Q clients to request project quotes through a Snapchat-inspired mobile application. Chris demo-ed a trash hauling request and the room erupted. We were suddenly chanting "SNAP THAT JUNK" in unison, screaming like children or fans during March Madness.

It was 7 pm on a Friday night and the office felt like the best place on earth. Managed by Q had just wrapped its first Hack Day.

As Q's Chief People Officer, I was eager to decode what made Hack Day so distinct and gratifying. During my two decades of managing people and culture teams at companies ranging from Limewire to Martha Stewart Living to Quirky, I had never seen anything quite like it.

On Hack Day, we worked singlemindedly

Hack Day is a cloudless, meeting-free day. Liberated from the fragmentation of normal office existence, we suddenly sensed possibility. Unbroken concentration and a ticking clock meant a release from anything irrelevant to the task at hand. The daily arrhythmia of our always-on workplace was replaced by feverish intensity, camaraderie, and confidence. We were entirely focused on the goal at hand and we produced.

As Cal Newport has written, deep work — the ability to focus on one task without distraction and at the edge of your cognitive comfort zone — will be the 21st-century's competitive advantage and superpower for those who can master it.

With only a few hours to realize our projects, on Hack Day we devoted ourselves entirely to the work that moved the needle the fastest and farthest. Planning suddenly felt like a form of foreplay; focus on polishing felt like a form of procrastination.

On Hack Day, we erased the org chart.

Our Hack Day teams — acting without mandates or marching orders — brilliantly and effectively self-organized.

Without explicit goals, roadmaps, boundaries, or guidelines, the only people we had to please on Hack Day were ourselves. We looked to no one to criticize, rescue, or validate our ideas or projects. Institutional voices were silenced; shackles of hesitancy and self-consciousness were broken. We were absolved from the expectations and constraints of being a specialist or knowing all the answers — and in a twist, we ended up doing some of our best work.

Decision-making power flowed freely between people depending on the needs of the moment. The only organizing principle was to solve problems directly for our customer, or solve a pain point that plagued the company. Whoever could make progress on our issue won the moment. I was impressed when Jean, a senior product designer finishing up her fifth day at Q, rose to lead our team several times — and again when the baton was gracefully passed along to another teammate who could best maintain our momentum.

On Hack Day, we were all founders.

Hack Day catapulted me back to the experience of producing a play when I was a kid. When we are young, we happily and confidently assume every role: we are playwright, graphic designer, set designer. Our passion and joy in creation carries the day; collaboration is effortless. The production is bigger than our individual selves, we're invested in what needs to get done. Our only concern is what we are aspiring to build.

On Hack Day, infused with a 'let's put on a show' spirit, we assumed any role necessary to breathe life into our ideas, becoming product managers, designers, and project managers as needed. Hack Day was a reminder of why we work at a startup. By stepping outside the day-to-day, the risks we took filled the rooms with fresh air, the level of investment buoyed us with new energy.

On holiday from the Rube Goldberg machinery of typical office projects — and relieved from our own preconceptions of how 'work gets done' — Hack Day exposed the strength of our culture and unleashed the full passion, creativity and talent of our team.

Managed by Q is entering its 4th year of operations this month, and as we grow, we're determined to hold on to the spirit and tenacity that drove us in our first year. As our CEO Dan Teran Slacked that night after Hack Day, "if it doesn't feel like the early days, it's not worth doing."

Career Advice

How to Respond to a Performance Improvement Plan

Ah, the dreaded PIP.

Performance improvement plans (PIPs) can feel scary. They have a (not entirely unearned) reputation for being the first step on the road to an eventual firing. And sometimes managers do implement PIPs solely to appease HR by ensuring that they made every last effort to make a given employee successful before terminating that employee.

READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less
Smartsheet Inc.

Thinking of Applying to Smartsheet? - Meet the VP of People

We recently chatted with Megan Hansen, VP of People at Smartsheet, who oversee the employee lifecycle from Talent Acquisition to Alumni support.

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the company's culture and values, and learn how you can make your application stand out!

To learn more about Smartsheet and their open roles, click here.

For Employers

How Leaders Can Support Their Black Employees

A five-step framework for addressing systematic racism at work

The world has changed in the past few weeks.

We're watching corporations and organizations across the world come out in support of Black lives in droves. Many of those organizations are doing so for the first time in their history.

READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less
T Rowe Price Group Inc

Preparing for the Unexpected: ​How Maria Fava Found Her Confidence as a Bicultural, Bilingual Woman at T. Rowe Price

Born in Mexico City and raised in Guadalajara, Maria Fava never would have predicted that she'd have a career in financial services. And certainly not in Maryland.

Over two decades ago, when Maria moved to the U.S. to study psychology at the University of Texas at Arlington, she'd planned on moving back to Mexico to study law after graduation. Instead, she fell in love with an unassuming Italian-American her senior year. She married him and moved to Maryland, his home state.

READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less
Remote

How to Succeed as a (Remote) Quip Intern: Advice from Mai Sha and Leslie Carr

When the pandemic began in spring and her friends (and fellow Carnegie Mellon master's students) started to find out that their offers for summer internships were canceled, Mai Sha held her breath.

READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less
Loading...
© Rebelmouse 2020