Rework is the reality check you didn't ask for


Rework's solo mission is to gut the business, dispose of the clutter and rebuild it with the essentials. PHOTO | POOL

Tech companies are known for hiring compulsively, spending wildly and failing spectacularly, not this one. Basecamp is a Chicago-based project management software company that started in 1999 and has 16 employees in two continents.

They believe in sharing their trade secrets, don't subscribe to budgets, boards, advertising, they compete with the big boys and are thriving. They have been called irresponsible, a fluke, reckless and unprofessional but well, here we are. 

Rework's solo mission is to gut the business, dispose of the clutter and rebuild it with the essentials. It is the antithesis of almost everything I learned in management class. At first, it feels like shock value, then it morphs into that uncomfortable internal dialogue that you have postponed for lack of courage.

Yes, I am actively encouraging you to have a split personality because it will poke holes in your logic but by then you will be in too deep to put it down. Here are some of their disruptive strategies: 

Meetings are toxic: The true cost of meetings is staggering. A one-hour meeting with 10 attendees is actually a 10-hour meeting. You’re trading 10 hours of productivity for one hour of meeting time! If you must meet, invite as few people as possible, have a clear agenda and meet at the site of the problem instead of a conference room. This brings perspective.

Focus on what won’t change: Many companies focus on the next big thing, following trends and technology. That is a fool’s path because it pursues more of fashion than substance. Focus on things that people want today and will still want in 10 years.

Workaholics create more problems than they solve: They try to fix problems by throwing hours at them. They try to make up for intellectual laziness with brute force. They even create crises because they enjoy feeling like heroes, but the real heroes are at home because they have found a faster way.

Do less than your competitors: Solve the simple problems and leave the difficult ones to the competition. Don’t shy away from the fact that your product or service does less. Be proud of it and sell it aggressively.

Let your customers outgrow you: Your product or service can become so tailored to your current customers that it stops appealing to fresh blood and that’s how your company starts to die.

Say no by default: It’s so easy to say yes. Yes to another feature, yes to an overly optimistic deadline, yes to a mediocre design. Start saying no—even to many of your best ideas, it will get your priorities straight.

Welcome obscurity: Be happy you are in the shadows, make mistakes, keep tweaking, and test random ideas. Obscurity protects your ego and preserves your confidence.

Do not infantilise your employees: When you treat people like children, you get children’s work. People need diversions to disrupt the monotony of the workday. A little YouTube or Facebook time never hurt anyone.

If books can be friends, this one is defintely in my inner circle of productivity. It appeals to everyone from type A go-getters to those who think business is a dirty word. In case you pick it up, brace for impact because your work culture is about to be torpedoed!

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