As a communications officer for L-IFT, I have had the privilege of conducting weekly Startup Diaries interviews with our managing director since January 2023. These interviews have proven to be crucial practice for our organization, fostering transparency and self-awareness, promoting reflection, and strengthening internal and external communication. In this blog, I will first share with you how the Startup Diaries work for L-IFT and what choices we made. Then I will explore how Startup Diaries interviews can benefit other organizations, drawing insights from L-IFT’s experience and perspective.
As an organization, L-IFT has been providing financial diaries services for small businesses for years, and through our work we got to see first-hand how beneficial it is in helping manage and grow businesses. This was why we naturally came to the conclusion that we ourselves should make use of our own services.
We structured the Startup Diaries Interviews in the form of; the managing director, Anne Marie van Swinderen, having one weekly interview with the Communications Officer and author of this blog, Adonay Negash, regarding the overall state of the business, and another weekly interview with the Senior Finance Officer, Selam Alemayehu, regarding the finances of the business. All answers from the interview are then recorded onto our FINBIT diaries app.
In the interview about the overall state of the business, an update on last week’s important events and questions regarding acquisition, promotion work, staff management, projects, recruitment, and much more are covered. In addition to this, Anne Marie van Swinderen uses this opportunity to record two short messages every week, one internal message that will be sent to all L-IFT staff and one external message that will be broadcast on L-IFT’s LinkedIn page. (Messages can be found Here)
“Well, of course, L-IFT’s business is to support other micro- and small businesses to use FINBIT and record all their transactions and business events. We then realized that we should walk our talk and also ourselves make use of our own services. I did also think it would be good for a financial management perspective, which it is. But the big surprise has come from the weekly discussions about strategy and ‘highlights’ of the week. The conversations with Adonay about all the different work I did the previous week and what I have learned, have really helped me to see how I can improve my business and which parts of my tasks I need to pay more attention to. The weekly discussions also ensure that I communicate internally and externally what is going on. Without this weekly call, I would have much more erratic communication.”
– Anne Marie van Swinderen
Now let’s look at how Startup Diaries interviews can help other organizations.
1. Cultivating Transparent Communication:
Startup Diaries interviews serve as a catalyst for transparent communication within organizations. By consistently asking the same set of questions, these interviews create a structured platform for open dialogue between the managing director and the team. This transparency not only fosters trust but also encourages active participation and collaboration among employees. Using Startup Diaries interviews enables organizations to establish a culture of openness and build stronger relationships between leadership and staff.
2. Promoting Self-Evaluation and Growth:
The reflective nature of Startup Diaries interviews provides a dedicated space for the managing director to evaluate and reflect on their own work. This introspective process allows leaders to assess their decisions, actions, and outcomes, facilitating personal growth and development. By setting aside regular time for self-evaluation, organizations can encourage a culture of continuous learning, enabling leaders to refine strategies, identify areas for improvement, and drive positive change.
3. Strengthening Internal Communication:
L-IFT’s startup diary practice includes recording a short weekly message from the managing director to the L-IFT staff. The internal message shared exclusively with the organization’s staff plays a crucial role in enhancing internal communication. By distributing this message, organizations can effectively disseminate important updates, initiatives, and insights to the entire team. This practice fosters a shared understanding of organizational goals and objectives, aligns efforts, and promotes collaboration among employees. Adopting Startup Diaries interviews enables organizations to strengthen internal communication channels and create a more connected and engaged workforce.
4. Engaging the Public and Stakeholders:
Same as the internal message mentioned before, the managing director also records a short external message for the public. The external message presents an opportunity to engage the public and stakeholders. By sharing this message on social media platforms or other relevant channels, organizations can showcase their accomplishments, initiatives, and impact to a wider audience. This public message not only raises awareness but also strengthens the organization’s brand and credibility. Utilizing the insights and experiences shared by the managing director in Startup Diaries interviews, other organizations can enhance their external communication efforts and build meaningful connections with their target audience.
5. Encouraging a Culture of Continuous Improvement:
Startup Diaries interviews contribute to a culture of continuous improvement within organizations. By reviewing past experiences, challenges, and successes, organizations can identify lessons learned and areas for growth. This iterative process allows leaders and teams to adapt strategies, refine processes, and stay agile in an ever-changing business landscape. By embracing Startup Diaries interviews, organizations can foster a mindset of continuous improvement, enabling them to stay competitive and drive innovation.
Startup Diaries interviews have played a pivotal role in empowering L-IFT’s growth, fostering transparency, promoting self-evaluation, strengthening internal communication, and engaging stakeholders. By adopting this practice, other organizations can also unlock similar benefits and drive their own success. From cultivating transparent communication and facilitating self-reflection to strengthening internal collaboration and engaging the public, Startup Diaries interviews offer a comprehensive framework for organizational growth and development. Embrace this powerful practice and witness the transformative impact it can have on your organization’s journey toward success.
By: Adonay Negash, Communications Officer