It’s a chilly fall day and I’m working from home, preparing for our weekly team kickoff. I grab a mug of hot chocolate, turn on the fireplace, light a candle, and set my Zoom background to a comfy cottage scene. When the meeting starts, my fellow members of the Inside Atlassian IT team pop up onscreen in similar fashion – flannel and fleece and knitwear galore. In a word…that’s a vibe. A cozy vibe.
We’re all decked out in autumn’s finest because our Chief Vibes Officer (CVO) said so. The CVO rotates between team members on a weekly basis – everyone gets a chance to dictate their designated week’s vibe. The goal of our CVO tradition is to intentionally and purposefully promote a motivating theme across the team each week, to bolster our connectedness and help us do our best work (and coziest, boldest, most innovative work). Plus, it’s really fun.
Here’s how we do it, and why you should too.
what is a vibe?
You’ll find it Merriam-Webster’s, but let’s not overthink it. A vibe is an ambiance, an atmosphere, an undercurrent – the embodiment of a feeling. So, essentially, the role of the CVO is to determine: How do I want my team to feel? What’s going to get us up and running on Monday, keep us motivated throughout the week, and bond us together all the while?
Fun with a purpose
We devised our CVO scheme earlier this year when our team doubled in size, as a way of getting to know and bonding with each other. Work-wise, we were ready to hit the ground running, but we wanted to match that spirit of productivity with a strong sense of team cohesion, knowing that it’s especially important for teams to be purposeful about relationship-building when they’re distributed.
The importance of team connectedness
Atlassian’s own research shows that healthy teams perform better, and that prioritizing alignment and team cohesion can make a huge impact. This science-backed belief in the power of connected teams was the driving force behind our CVO idea, along with other initiatives like scheduling regular 1:1 meetings and virtual social events and instituting working agreements. Naming a Chief Vibes Officer each week is just another way we make space for vulnerability and innovation – and some lighthearted fun.
Personally, I think one of the best things about the rotating CVO role is that we learn so many things about our teammates, their style, their mannerisms, and what’s important to them.
Creating the vibe
Each week’s vibe is completely at the discretion of the designated CVO. Our only rules:
- Good vibes only (but no toxic positivity allowed).
- The CVO is a pressure-free, stress-free gig (putting too much pressure on yourself defeats the whole purpose).
- Calm & Focused
- Fired Up
Once the CVO chooses a vibe, they’re tasked with curating that vibe in a few ways throughout the week:
- Declare the vibe. Monday morning, via Slack, announce and define the week’s theme; offer up tips for living that vibe; share a song or gif that embodies your vibe.
- Perpetuate the vibe. Kick off your weekly team meeting with a vibe-themed icebreaker. Choose a vibe-themed Zoom background. Take opportunities throughout the week to share inspirational quotes or stories to keep the vibe alive throughout the week.
- Conduct a Friday #vibecheck. Ask your team to reflect on how they experienced that week’s vibe. Teammates can share a favorite moment, themed-outfit selfies, and reflections on what they’ve taken away from living the vibe all week.
That’s how the Inside Atlassian team does it. But, like any good vibe, whether you keep it subtle or go all out, the whole point is to make it your own. Let the vibe serve you in whatever ways your team is craving.
So far, qualitative data from our team shows that a CVO is “refreshing” and “breaks up the monotony” of the workweek. More importantly, as one colleague mentioned, “it helps us stay more connected as a team.”
A bonus benefit we’ve noticed is that we tend to spread our good vibes to other teams we work with. At minimum, we brighten their day when we all show up to a meeting living our vibe out loud in our Hawaiian shirts or Superhero masks. Best of all, some of them have adopted their own CVO rituals.
So, tell me…what’s the vibe?
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