I joined Les Mills for 4 weeks. One thing at here I found quite different from other companies is: we talk a lot at Les Mills. Catch ups at seats are more frequently, meeting rooms are always busy and I need to talk really louder so that other guys can hear me on Friday afternoon's drink.
As a designer, I worked at a few agencies, start-up companies, and large corporations, but they are all quieter than Les Mills. As an introvert designer, I took a few days to get used to the active vibe. I love it after I get to the track, because it definitely narrows the gaps between co-workers, and helps new people to learn quickly. At the same time, I also get curious: why we talk more frequently than other companies?
At first, I thought we talk a lot because Les Mills is a tribe full of people with high energy level: everyone goes to work out at lunchtime. I thought when you have a high energy level, you are more like to share your opinions with other people. After the first week, I found things are not that simple.
When I told someone I'm working at Les Mills, their reactions are quite similar: "Which gym do you work at?" Most of them think I'm working at a gym business, and why it names Les Mills Media? It also took me at least a week to finally understand the business model of Les Mills Media, which is the team I'm working with. We create compelling fitness content and sell the content through digital products and partner's channels to customers all over the world. We interact and engage with our customers and partners with our content. From this perspective, we are a busy media company similar to Netflix. That's probably the major reason we talk a lot: as a team, we need to collaborate with vendors, partners, and different departments, both internal and external. Communication is the key to a media company.
I want to share something about talking because I notice we are not just talking more than other companies, but also talk (communicate) differently. Here at Les Mills, you can easily ask questions to different people in a different team, and you can always (mostly) get positive feedback. During my first week, I asked co-workers in different teams and different titles questions about our product, and they all spend a lot of time answering my questions. In the book, Creativity Inc., the founder of Pixar Ed Catmull shares one of the tips that make Pixar extraordinary: the culture of open communication. Anyone can ask questions to anyone in Pixar. Their communication structure is different from the management structure. I think we did a great job here at Les Mills too. And of course, we have a long way to go either.
The other thing about communication at Les Mills is that we are not just talking, but also listening and action. Last week I mentioned I'm not quite clear about all the tools we are using in UX team with Dan, my manager. The next day he prepared a map of tools we are using in different phases of work and walked through it with the team so that we all got a holistic picture. This is what a team-player do, and also what I would like to improve as a UX designer: find problems during communication and observation, then improve them with my solutions.
As an introvert person whose native language is not English, talking is not my strength. But I will try to talk more and louder than I was, and always follow with action.
Thank you for the time of reading this, and hope it stirs 'talking' :)
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