My “Mother Of All 12 Week Year Plans”

Look, I hate to sound sorry for myself amid all this good fortune, but it is a lot to take in. 

And I wonder

Part of me does wonder what I need.

When will I be satisfied?

When I was depressed, and nothing seemed to be working, I have panic attacks, hate myself and walk around in a daze.

When everything is working amazingly, I have panic attacks and walk around in a daze. 

I love myself, in a healthy self-worth kind of way these days.  

The third week in

Next week is my third week as Cheif Operating Officer (COO) of our bank.

Yes, you read that right, our bank. 

We have two products, a collaborative payment platform built for freelancers, YouTubers, creators and anyone else who does that type of thing. 

And PayPugs what we’re calling “The Online Bank Account For Everyone” – I’ll stop there because this is not an advertorial. 

The last time you and I talked – around 18 people were walking around our company, albeit on the internet. 

Now there is 40, and by the time I finish this sentence, they could be more, every time I open a cupboard a new employee falls out. 

Already in my head, I’m building our own ‘Infinite Loop’ like Apple’s HQ.

Rising strong – the team assembles.

In the last week, I got me a marketing team! 

And I got the marketing team I wanted – I’m already madly in love with them all.

We’ve all been working on the Coworking Assembly, and European Freelancers Week for a year now. 

But we had a couple of gaps in the team.

So I ring up Gina Romeo and cry down the phone about Salesforce and Hubspot. 

Gina hooks me up with Sharmae, who found me Venice and Zara this time last year. 

I feel like I’ve collected all the infinity stones and can now click my fingers for the good of the universe. 

It is worth noting all this team got connected via Meetup.com and coworking over the last ten years. 

I’m not a project manager. 

I am learning a lot about myself, I LOVE project tools, but I can only really project plan for myself. 

I am not sure what is missing from my project abilities, and I don’t care, there are super strong people with us now.

What I do know is that I see unique ideas and connections in all the work and the people around us. 

It is like looking into the code in the matrix, and I am close to accepting this is enough skill on its own. 

I don’t need to be able to plan and do everything. 

But a bit of me is still clinging onto doing everything. 

Myself.   

Making ideas happen

For the last fifteen years, I’ve been reading the 8th Habit by Stephen Covey, and the spin-off books like The Four Disciplines of execution4-DX and during the previous four years the 12 Week Year.

I’ve tried and tested these practices in my work, and I’ve got a good gut feel for how it works.

In the last year, the team I mentioned earlier got thrown together for the Coworking Assembly projects.

We’ve had hundreds of people show up to our online events, posted podcasts, blogs and sent newsletters. 

We’ve done the COVID pandemic, and the members who are in the Philippines have been through a few severe typhoon storms. 

We’ve worked it out as we’ve gone along, Jeannine and I have very rarely said out lout ‘here is the plan’, but we always know what is going on. 

We call it ‘flock of birds management style’ – maybe this is a real thing?

We’ve managed to make many ideas happen and have an above-average group of good people around us.

How to open a bank

One of those good people is Alex, the founder of our bank, and he was kind enough to let Jeannine and I in on the action. 

While I’ve spent the last four years wandering around shouting about 12 Week Years and StoryBrand to anyone in the coworking world who would listen; Alex and Jeannine have been sitting at the bar in the Hard Rock Cafe in Amsterdam. 

They mapped out the customer journey and bottlenecks for onboarding new members in a coworking space on the back of Hard Rock Cafe napkins.

When they got bored with that, they scribbled the design for a platform for freelancers, online collaborators, and digital nomad people to get paid and send money worldwide. 

Which led us here, to PayPugs, Velvet and Cowork.tools. 

Alex and Jeannine got the tech built, set up all the banking licences for different countries, so now we can trade worldwide – holy hell balls! 

In our Riga HQ, we have a tech and salespeople team who build and sell at the speed of master-builders in the Lego movie. 

The Speed of Trust

Not only is Speed of Trust the title of another Covey book, but it is how our company moves. 

It did occur to me that I did not have panic attacks; it was the sheer G-force (top gun) of how fast the whole fucking thing moves. 

Another thing that makes the air clearer is a deep commitment and understanding of inclusion, equality and accessibility. 

Even before we were doing things at this scale, we worked on projects that had this as the DNA, one of our earliest outings on this the Cobot coworking code of conduct. 

As a white male living in London, I don’t have many struggles, but I am dyslexic, get confused and don’t ask for help until the last minute. 

And it is ok to say this out loud, I mean we have to get the work done and all. 

But taking care of people is already an explicit part of our culture, even before we’ve written it all down. 

I am keen to say seventy per cent of our company is female and from all over the globe.

And this is reflected in the leadership team too. 

What puts me off tech companies

Something that has always put me off tech companies is the macho male pissing contest that occurs no matter what it says on the website. 

So I am delighted to be working in a mainly female team. 

The Mother of all 12 Weeks 

Those of you who have been here for a while know what a raving fan I am of the 12 Week year concept. 

Every Monday morning for four years, my accountability partner Karen and I have had a weekly call where we check in share:

What we did

What we are going to do 

What is in our way

When we come back in January, I’ll be shaping up for the most significant planning and 12 Week goals yet. 

Bring it on. 

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