We have co-CEOs now and talking partners started with them. So everything we do at Next Jump is this framework of one-one-all, so you make it work for yourself, make it work for someone else and then start scaling it to the rest of the company. So, Charlie and Megan, our co-CEOs, started doing talking partners then the leadership below them started having talking partners; when we saw that was working we scaled it out to the rest of the company. Now you do, to a certain extent, chose who your talking partner is, but we have some guidelines of how to choose.
What we say is:
You want to have shared responsibility, so it wouldn’t necessarily work if Tarun was talking partners with someone who started 6 months ago, because that would be a one-way mentorship programme for Tarun mentoring them. It should be a co-mentorship programme, so shared responsibility really helps with that.
The other thing we try and encourage is people who are quite different, so Tarun and I are very different people, we have very different characters and that helps because I see where Tarun’s lacking and Tarun sees where I’m lacking.
Sometimes talking partners work better – there’s elements in there like trust. I think one of the most important things about talking partners is being authentic with each other and being able to bring anything up, so if you can have a trusting relationship then that can be the first start, but generally you choose yourself.
What’s the culture in your company and how do you give that feedback?
It is anonymous; we find that, especially for newer people, that allows them to be a lot more honest. A lot of the feedback that we have through apps is anonymous. And you give feedback to others in the way that you’d want to receive it yourself. No one’s out there to be malicious, no one’s out there to hurt you, so the feedback that goes in there is often constructive or honest. I think they’re the most important things, that one – it’s honest, so: “Did you even speak up at all?” Maybe that’s not constructive, constructive would be: “You could have spoken up more/given your opinion more”, but at least it’s honest, and that’s the most important thing.
Henry Searle is Co-Head of Next Jump’s UK Office. He joined as a software engineering intern in 2011 and joined full time in 2012. Since 2014 he has lead the UK engineering team and has overseen product developments which have driven record revenue growth in the UK. You can follow him on Twitter @henrysearle.
Tarun Gidoomal currently serves as the Co-Head of Next Jump’s UK office. Having joined Next Jump in 2011, Tarun has helped quadruple the business in under 4 years as they expand globally. He frequently speaks on leadership and corporate culture. Tarun is a member of the Virgin Unite’s People Innovation Network – a community of 30 businesses brought together by Richard Branson and Arianna Huffington, all of whom are passionate about re-defining work to help people thrive. You can follow him on Twitter @tarungidoomal.