Most companies want employees to not work in silos. And then, they organise their work in little, hierarchical boxes.

They split the workforce in departments. They assign managers and middle-managers to each of them. They give them goals and agendas and salaries and development plans that are unique. And they get mad because Product doesn’t talk to Sales, because what Marketing promotes is not the story that Customer Success tells, because the Leadership Team meetings are just a battle for budget and recognition, and because their Customers are sick of waiting for the promised improvement.

So, the opportunity for you is to become the person who looks at problems horizontally. To learn about others priorities and spot lateral developments. To become the glue that delivers and the light that shines on colleagues.

If you’ll just stick to your box, you’ll be part of the problem, not the indispensable solution.


“Press 1 for contracts, invoices, and any other issue” is not a very useful step in the journey of your customer.

“I am experiencing a small technical issue, let me fix that, and I will call you back in five minutes” is a great step in the journey of your customer.

It sounds silly to still be talking about this in 2023, yet so many company fail at the “care” part in customer care.

Choose carefully

Hubspot and Intercom are very successful companies. And on the exact same type of communication to their customer, they choose two completely different approaches.

One is before, the other is after.

One raises awareness, the other raises alarm.

One gives you agency, the other takes it away.

One is about hope (“Your contacts database is growing”), the other is about failure (“You’ve exceeded the usage”).

Also (you can’t say that from the message alone, but I’ll ask you to trust me), one is true, the other is not.

There is no right or wrong way to do stuff.

But the choices you make say a lot about who you are and what you stand for.

Good and bad start

Start the day with something that motivates you, something you can be proud of, something that is valuable.

A bad way to start the day is by checking emails and instant messages, and getting caught in answering each one of them (as well as the new ones as they come in).

A good way to start the day is by shutting down email and instant messages app, and writing that blog post that’s been on your backlog for weeks.

A bad way to start the day is with a meeting.

A good way to start the day is by dedicating your full attention to that deliverable that is waiting for your feedback.

A bad way to start the day is by checking social media accounts and a few potentially interesting websites.

A good way to start the day is by going offline and drafting the full content calendar for next quarter.

Socially responsible

Many companies claim that they will be changing the World – or the way the World does this and that. Few even actually understand what changing the World means.

In Finland, a local grocery chain has declared themselves “bully-free zone” (article linked in Finnish). And it’s a fantastic win.

Not because it’s their business. Not because they make money from it. Not because they are getting free publicity.

But because it makes sense.

  • Bullying is a problem, in Finland like anywhere else.
  • Bullying happens mainly at school or around schools.
  • In Finland in particular, kids go to school and back home on their own, from as early as 7. That makes the journey home-school-home a problem for a bullied kid.
  • This grocery chain has a lot of local stores, often not far from schools.
  • Stores employ familiar adults (you shop there every day), they are open long hours, they are well lighted (Finland gets long dark days in winter), and there’s typically other people around.
  • So, they promote that every employee at their grocery chain is a safe adult for kids to turn to when bullied.

It must be one of the best executed corporate social responsibility campaigns ever.