Document the struggle.

After recently reading Tribes by Seth Godin (a book I highly recommend), I realised how poor a job I have done at publicly documenting the work and progress I’ve been a part of at OuterArc.

For me, one of the stand out stories in Tribes was one where Seth Godin described his role at a small software company at the age of 24, titled “Leading from the Bottom”.

The story: Godin had to deliver a number of educational software programs, in the space of a few months, in time for Christmas, with only 3 programmers lent to him by the management (from a pool of 60).

What did he do? Knowing that his task was impossible with the very limited resources he had, Godin sent out a newsletter twice a week to everyone in the company. He documented the struggles of his team but also talked about the great work they were doing and the breakthroughs his team had made.

What happened? People joined the cause. In the space of a few months almost all the programmers had either been assigned to his project or were working on it in their spare time. Seth & his team ended up making the ship date and netted the company millions.

Why? Godin galvanised his team (tribe) by sharing the story of their struggle.

A technical breakthrough, winning a new client, the struggles of market education, market penetration successes – it all provides a great story – you get to see how far you’ve come and more than that, you’re sharing the experiences (good & bad) of the journey (internally & externally). 37Signals do a great job of this with their Signals vs. Noise blog.

The lesson? Document the struggle, share the experience, build a tribe.