Table XI Blog

Things we say at TXI

Does your organization have its own lingo? I’m thinking of words or phrases that are almost immediately associated with a particular person, team, or practice. Having worked at TXI for 2+ years, I’ve been reflecting on how our organization speaks to and with each other and why those personalized sayings become the glue that keeps our organization strong.

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4 benefits of moving from a flat to a manager-supported organization

Every company has its stories, the ones that are first shared during onboarding and form the building blocks of what an organization values. For Table XI, part of that story was a literal table, a scratched-up old wooden one that seated six, taken from our founder Josh Golden’s old apartment. In early days, TXIers would sit around that table with wine and Thai food after hours, hashing out company goals and decisions collectively.

Of course, as the company grew, there were points where we needed different structures to help us get where we wanted to go. We adopted EOS to guide company goals and priorities, grew the leadership team to encompass more roles and points of view, and organized our practices and practitioners in different ways. But one thing held true for 19 years: TXI, like that old wood table, was flat. 

Flatness seemed to work for TXI for a while. When the company was just a couple dozen people, most from similar backgrounds and levels of privilege, and everyone knew one another well and worked from a central office in Chicago, the idea of creating a hierarchy felt artificial and unnecessary. It felt more like a burden or a barrier than support. But by the time I joined the leadership team two years ago, I had a hunch that flat wasn’t working as well as it needed to anymore. 

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There Really Should be an ‘I’ in Team: The Team Agreement

Many of us have navigated our professional lives while being told there’s no “I” in team. I’d like to make the case for the opposite: it’s only after we explicitly recognize and name our individual preferences, communication styles, and goals, that we’re truly capable of being contributing team members. At TXI, this is part of our overall DEIB efforts and we bake this in from the start by kicking off all engagements with a Team Agreement.

Interested in creating your own version of a Team Agreement? Here are a few things to consider. 

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Normalizing Hybrid Work

Hybrid work, the ability to work remotely or in-person on a flexible basis, was not born from the current pandemic. Many people have been managing this balancing act for years. However, it is new to many organizations, and many were ill-equipped to make the change.  

According to a recent survey, major cities like Boston, San Francisco and Chicago believe hybrid work is here to stay. Otherwise known as “the future of work,” 83% of workers want to remain hybrid even after the pandemic is over. However, this may not be the case for those required to do their jobs in person with colleagues or equipment.  

How do organizations today solve for retaining employees who wish to remain hybrid, attract new candidates who see this “benefit” as table stakes, and set each of them up to succeed? 

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How to survive Zoom fatigue and thrive: A checklist for better meetings

Each time I see an article implying that “Zoom fatigue” is a reason why meetings are draining our last drop of energy, I trap another repressed sigh inside my head. Yes, I get it; meeting on Zoom all day probably isn’t making it to the top of anyone’s bucket list. But let’s not blame our tools, friends. Zoom is a powerful means to connect us, and I think our meeting fatigue may be driven in part by simply over-indexing on a single default method of communication.

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Digital Accessibility: Hover and Focus Style

Navigating through a website with just a keyboard is challenging. Instead of using a mouse to hover and focus, point and click, you can only tab over the interactive elements to advance you to the next section. Approximately 20 million people in the USA have difficulty lifting or grasping, significantly impacting their ability to use a mouse. Without the ease of tab navigation, disabled people are more likely to leave a page in search of digital accessibility. 

Today, accessibility in the physical world is regulated by the ADA. People with disabilities have dedicated parking spaces, ramps, and even wide entryways so they may patron their favorite businesses. Screen reader and keyboard access along with caption and transcripts have enabled better access to digital experiences. However, the pandemic has made the need for digital accessibility experiences to be greater. From mobile apps to websites, many organizations are beginning to learn why it is so important to factor in human-centered design when building or optimizing their existing digital product or website

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New Hire Onboarding Rituals for a Distributed Workforce

In today's distributed workforce, starting a new role is often challenging. New hires are faced with creating a sense of belonging through virtual platforms, like Zoom, missing out on traditional in-person orientation experiences. Table XI has a different approach that not only checks all the boxes one would expect as a new employee but unifies the new hires with the entire organization through innovation and adaptability.

Pre-pandemic, one of the great benefits of being a TXI employee was the catered lunches provided by in-house chef Mark Estabrook.  Chef was a treasured team member and the organization wanted to prevent the need to furlough him.  TXI’s leadership deliberated how to continue their commitment to having him stay with the team as well as find a new role that would allow Chef to grow within the company. “Evolving his role and making a commitment to his desire to stay with the company was a priority of ours. We were responsive and adaptive in finding a place for him. These are the people who help create the authentic culture of the company. They help create an experience like no other.” shared CEO, Mark Rickmeier. Mark hired a facilitation coach to train Chef into becoming the coach he is today. 

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5 Things to Know About Wearable Application Development

In a sense, “wearable technology” has been with us for centuries. The first “necklace watch” was invented in the 1500s, the first wristwatch in the 1600s.  Wearable technology entered its highest-impact realm—medicine and healthcare—in the 1800s with the invention of the first wearable in-ear hearing aid. It entered the digital age with the digital watch and the nascent app age with the calculator watch.

This long history culminated in the revolutionary Fitbit in 2010. This wearable step-counter opened the floodgates of the “Quantified Self” movement—wearable devices to track and count everything about a person, from their heart rate to their blood sugar, in an effort to optimize user health.  An even bigger breakthrough of internet-enabled (IoT, or the Internet of Things) wearable health monitors furnishes healthcare providers with medically relevant data between doctor visits, providing doctors a much more robust picture of their patients’ health.

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A Guide to Mobile App Strategy for Healthcare Companies

At a 1983 conference in Aspen, Steve Jobs gave a presentation where he predicted a kind of “digital record store” where people would download discreet software applications over telephone lines. This was 24 years before the first iPhone and 24 years before the App Store debuted with 500 apps. It was even 14 years before Snake, the addictive game that could be played on Nokia phones or discreetly during class on graphing calculators, ruined AP Calculus for a generation of students.

As of 2020, according to Forbes, those first 500 apps have ballooned to over 8.9 million apps.  According to Grandview Research, the mobile app industry surpassed $154 billion in 2019 with an expected compound annual growth rate of 11.5% through 2027. According to App Annie, as of 2021 consumers spend an average of 4.2 hours a day on mobile apps. 

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Technologies to Support Health and Happiness of LGBTQ+ Youth

Hopelab, a social innovation lab based in San Francisco, uses co-design methodology to explore solutions to common social problems faced by LGBTQ+ youth and young adults. The best design is functional as well as stimulating, but can it be aspirational? Can design thinking encourage wellbeing and be a process for manifesting hope? Can design create resources for a promising future for the LGBTQ+ community? Table XI and client partner, Hopelab, has confidence this can be achieved.

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