This post was written by Rachel Hanson, Director of Operations at Lamp Post Group.
I have seen culture happen in two ways: organically and forced. I don’t think either is inherently better than the other, but I do feel teams have to make a decision on which is better for their specific company.
While Lamp Post Group has a portfolio of companies employing 150+ people, there is a team of just 20 employees that works on the Lamp Post Group core team. This core team interacts with the portfolio companies in various ways, and then works together to keep this whole big machine moving.
Within this core team, we have a wide variety of personalities, including several pretty large personalities. Just looking at who I sit next to every day, I see:
- A witty single mom of two precious girls that is just killing it at social media and calling b.s. on those around us
- A past New Yorker that follows a strict schedule and diet to maintain productivity and uses words like “telephonically” in daily conversation
- A politically-minded father that likes to share (and share some more) his opinion on an array of ideas and views
- A CPA who is quiet until just the right moment, when he says something sharp, and ultimately hilarious
- A cat lover that lives off of Starbucks and Instagram pics of her cat Simon
- A shy, but super sweet horse lover
- And then there is me… A by the book, every email answered, keeper of the keys (literally) that is the youngest at the table
With all this personality all over the place, being too forceful with company culture would stifle many of our team members. This is why we opt for an organic approach, with the occasional nudge.
The need for one such nudge became apparent pretty quickly to me. Each member of the core team lives on his/her own schedule. None of us are ever ticking to the same clock. And while it’s important to allow each team member the space and autonomy to be the most productive, the incongruent schedules posed a problem: The core team didn’t know each other that well. Some had never interacted at all. NOT COOL.
Hence: Team Time. A 30 minute gathering each week. This gathering is not by any means required, but its very existence on the calendar encourages us to come together and bond. The want and need of being in your peer group is an organic thing. It just sometimes takes a nudge to make it happen.
Through the process of building out Team Time, I have seen horrible games of pictionary, Barry Large dominating us at trivia, and adults freak out over building newspaper towers. Most of all, I have seen a core group get to know each other on a level friends and family don’t always see. Ultimately, Team Time is 30 minutes of time where we hang out. And that’s all that matters to me.