Part of your job as a founder is to unify your team and help them understand and be on board with the mission. You need everyone working towards a common goal, otherwise people will jump ship at the first sign of trouble.
Each year we bring our entire team together for a retreat where, among other things, I do what I call the State of the Metric. It’s a presentation about what we’ve accomplished on the product, how our team has grown and where we are financially.
It’s also a time to talk about our goals for the upcoming year and to remind everyone of what our mission is, what our values are, and why those things are important. It helps re-set our focus for the upcoming year and tends to put a little pep in all our steps.
Doing these at least once a year is critical to keeping your team focused on the mission. They’ve been really beneficial for our team, and so I’ll lay out how I do those presentations, and at the end is my most recent presentation that you can download, edit and reuse for your own team.
This first part of the presentation is always a review of product changes because, really, without the product, none of us would be here. Looking at how the product has grown and evolved over the past year is a tangible measure of progress.
We like to ship fast and frequent, which is great, but it’s easy to forget what things looked like a year ago. This is a chance to show the highlight reel, to pat the entire team on the back and acknowledge all the hard work that we’ve all done and our successes and maybe a few missteps as well.
This doesn’t need to be anything exhaustive or detailed, just a listing of the major things you shipped and when.
You can see everything we shipped in our public changelog!
Now it’s time for a review of everything else that happened. Did you hire some new folks? (We did!) Any new investments to discuss? Adopt a company pet or move to a new office?
No need to detail your switch to a different accountant or coffee brand. Keep this high level, what changes have impacted the company, that sort of thing. Again, this is a time to show how far you’ve come and the growth that is happening.
Assuming you’ve got some key metrics you and your team track (obviously we do…it’s sort of our thing), this is the time to go over them and show how they’ve improved (or not).
I do simple slides with big numbers…no reason to throw a bunch of minute data points all over the screen. Just drive home how the work of your team is affecting change within the business.
For us, there are six high level metrics we look at:
- User Churn
- Revenue Churn
Some of those are intertwined heavily (LTV & User Churn, for instance), but they’re all tangible numbers that I make sure to tie back to why they matter.
Once you’ve taken a look at the past, it’s time to refocus on the future.
Remember this is high level. Don’t get bogged down in the little things, talk about your one high level goal for the upcoming year. Talk about why it’s critical to meet that goal. Talk about what meeting that goal will do for the team and the company.
But most importantly, talk about how you will get there.
Lay out your plan for making the goal a reality so that it feels tangible and attainable for your team. This is a great time to get everyone excited about the work ahead and get everyone on the same page.
Time to bring it home: wrap up your talk by driving home the company’s mission. The mission is the single unifying factor for your entire team and it influences every decision your team makes. The goals help accomplish the mission and the mission is what makes the goals worthwhile. Ahhhh, full circle.
It’s important that your mission, and the values and principles that extend from that, permeate every part of the business. Now is one of the few times you really get to drive it home to every single person.
Decisions aren’t made in a vacuum. Remind everyone that everything you do as a founder, and what the team does as a whole, should all tie back to the mission.
After your talk, have a Q&A. Talk through any questions or concerns your team has. Use it as a time to brainstorm specifics and to help your team verbally process all the data and information you just hurled at them.
Discuss anything and everything. This is super important. If your team leaves the presentation unsure or confused, then you’ve missed the point.
Here is our State of the Metric from this year. Feel free to download and reuse it however you’d like. It may go without saying, but yes, this is the exact presentation I gave, with numbers, goals and mission statement. I hope you enjoy it!