My calendar is tetris — the tile-matching puzzle video game. Colorful, geometric squares consume my desktop’s screen. New meetings are displaying across my Google Calendar like the random sequence of game pieces falling down the matrix. I’m starting to become aware that it takes an underestimated amount of skill to make blocks fit like the ones in the popular 80’s video game.
We are constantly inundated with scheduling, events (on-site, off-site), cohort “check-ins,” programming, mentorship and investor requests. How do we balance, what we at Bunker Labs refer to as, battle rhythms?
To military organizations, a battle rhythm is a daily routine or order of business. It’s a conscious cycle of command, staff and activities intended to synchronize current and future operations. The battle rhythm is the heart of our management process. The length of time and intensity can vary depending on the outcome you’re trying to accomplish.
It’s imperative to effectively manage operations in order to make the right decisions. The productivity tools we utilize help guide our battle rhythms on a consistent basis. There is a wide variety of tools organizations use, but these are the ones that we are particularly fond of:
Highrise is a simple CRM software tool for small businesses. It’s made managing our contacts, notes and email history much easier. Storing our contact information in one location is even more important when we need to track or recall communication with applicants or investors.
Basecamp is probably my favorite project management and collaboration tool. This is where we list our to-dos, tasks, reports, internal messages and files. (We use Dropbox to securely host archived documents.) We are able to better track our cohort’s progress from beginning to demo day. This tool also ensures every team member is on the same page without having to chase emails.
Doodle has simplified how we schedule “check-ins” with the 16 startups in our spring cohort. Individually emailing each team proved to be extremely time consuming and inefficient. We use Doodle, which syncs with Google calendars, to poll our entire cohort on its availability to meet. We are able to schedule dates/times for meetings twice as fast.
In our case, Slack, a real-time messaging app, is used to externally communicate with the cohort. This is also a good medium to generate quick responses for feedback on the curriculum they are learning.
Recently, we’ve found ourselves asking, “How sub-optimal can we allow ourselves to be?” We’re never going to be optimal in everything, but choosing the appropriate management tools is a good place to start. Maybe those pieces will begin to fall into place.
Which productivity tools does your organization use to manage battle rhythms? I’d love to learn more about what we can do to continually improve our own processes. Thanks for reading!