No need to choose between motivation and competence

Written by Hugo Chatel, on 02 August 2018

Within a team, having a motivated and competent person for each task and objective can sometimes be challenging. Honeycomb is a methodology that adapts to all types of teams and projects to meet this need.

Ana Julia and Maxim, entrepreneurs and co-founders of the abeLLha incubator in Rio, face the daily challenge of developing and supporting numerous projects while regularly encountering difficulties in precisely defining their objectives and achieving them. They decide to develop their own method. After a long Try & Learn process, they come up with Honeycomb, which they define as both a work platform and a methodology.

For Honeycomb, Ana Julia and Maxim decided to combine the best of two practices. The methodology uses OKRs - Objectives Key Results - to define the company's/team's strategy, key objectives, as well as tasks to be accomplished and results to be achieved to reach them. In addition, it employs a horizontal and collaborative structure inspired by Holacracy®, which operates in total transparency

"First thing first," as the two entrepreneurs say, it is necessary to first define a strategy. With Honeycomb, they decide to operate in cycles. At the beginning of each cycle, all employees decide on the mission and then set the objectives to be achieved to fulfill it. Then, they define all the key results and tasks to be accomplished for each objective, following the OKR method. During this cycle, employees or team members gather weekly to review the progress of the objectives and readjust them if necessary.

Once the tasks to be accomplished are defined, it is necessary to designate a responsible person for each of them. But Ana Julia and Maxim ask themselves, how to choose who does what? Is it better to have a motivated but not necessarily competent person, or a competent but not motivated person? The answer comes from the team. Every month, team members fill in 2 indicators for each task: their motivation and their level of competence on a scale of 1 to 3. Based on these self-assessments visible to everyone, they discuss together who will take responsibility for each task. During these discussions, no one can be assigned a task they do not wish to perform.

Thus, with Honeycomb, if a person is highly motivated for a task but not sufficiently qualified, they can be supported and trained by a more competent person. Conversely, if a person is qualified but not motivated by the task to be performed, everyone will be aware of their situation, and their colleagues will be better able to support them. This strengthens mutual aid, empathy, and limits unnecessary tensions within the company. Every month, roles are reviewed to ensure that everyone maintains the same motivation for the missions to be carried out.

Once the project and tasks are launched, everyone can see the progress of the work and the tasks to come. This transparency made possible by the Honeycomb platform creates a group dynamic, bringing together and motivating employees around the common mission.