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3 days ago

Clapping And Cringing.

By Morgan Moran

When your job is to be the expert and advise other people, it can feel super awks to share your missteps. Yet if we always knew what we were doing, that would mean we were never growing. Or experimenting. Or honing our resilience.

So how do we normalize and learn from the oops? By making it as much a part of our conversations as the wins.

Every two weeks, team Flagrant gets together for a quick company-wide show & tell called Clap & Cringe. Along with exposing the team to what everyone is working on, it throws open a door to:

Voice Internal Microdecisions

Teammates have a safe space to externalize their thought process and flow. Like, “Hey I have this habit of perfecting something before I move on, which can hijack the big-picture.” Teammates can empathize, affirm and offer suggestions for clearing the obstacles we as creators and developers encounter.

Build Knowledge Share

When issues are voiced (instead of dwelled on internally in a circle-of-rage), perspective can be given! Wheels don’t need to be recreated! People realize they are less on an island and oh yeah, working as a team at the same company. The co-worker beside you can sometimes be more invaluable than Google.

Charge Through The Cringe

It’s hard to ever be truly comfortable with failing. (Thanks, rope-climbing-day in gym class.) But we can be better at rising from it, understanding our missteps, and sharing the teachings that come with an utter flop. Better yet, we can learn how to sense failure upstream and change course.

“I feel like the best times of Clap & Cringe aren't when it's like Here's a clap moment and Here's a cringe moment, but really getting into Here's a thing I worked on, and here's how it went through cringe into clap.

Learn About Your Peoples

If you have a team that doesn’t always cross-pollinate, Clap & Cringe can help. The process gives everyone the opportunity to take the floor, “pop the hood” and showcase their respective engines. The meeting carves out space for questions, appreciations and general, “Wow, all of that is going on under there?” takeaways.

So What Kinds of Things Do We Share?

A designer might share a sweet new logo they created that wowed the customer. Just as importantly, they will show off the screens and screens of iterations that it took to get them to this simple mark.

A developer might share a small feature request they received from a customer and how it works. Ideally, we'll also learn about any struggles they encountered along the way, like if it was a poorly architected system that meant they had to go out of their way to implement it.

An admin assistant might share an amazing spreadsheet that is a feat of engineering in and of itself or the ridiculous terms of a contract that has come in from a prospective client.

All of this enables the team to understand the roles our people play, showcase the talents on the team, and build empathy with and for one another. Even if we don't understand all the details, we can and do appreciate the work that goes into making a team like ours work.

Clap. Cringe. And charge forward!