Blog series: SIL Habit Experiment 2018

Team culture isn’t organic. It’s made of you, me and us. 


There are so many great things about this team, that we don’t want to lose. 

And so many things we want to introduce. (That rhymed!)


We all are the protectors of each SIL habit with our newest members, Zarif, Rafa and Alex joining the list, succeeding Anjali apu, Apurba apu and Shazzad bhai. 



I’d just like to highlight what this small habit experiment is:


  • It is a small test to see how team habits can be championed by team members. 
  • To ensure we keep learning as a team
  • To have meaningful interactions with the colleague you don’t work with
  • To ensure we change as a team, and we have fun doing it
  • To learn what incentivises good habits, what is interesting about these practices.
  • To come up with our own crazy ideas to promote these habits. 

I’d also like to highlight what this isn’t:


  • It isn’t a quest to win SIL Value Award (or is it?)
  • It isn’t another task on the pms that you cross off! 
  • This isn’t a competition. You can ask others for ideas and support!
  • Policing others for change. Never works! 
What’s expected from SILlies till December:
In one sentence, we want you to brand these habits
  • You have just one habit assigned, which means you are the protector of this behavior. You make sure you become an internal expert on it.
  • You do your own research on the habit, you can read good blogs, find out strong insights, learn the most interesting and surprising facts about the habit, to tell us ‘Why it’s important’.
  • You observe your own colleagues. Learn when they practice it, how they do it, why they don’t do it, what challenges they face, talk to them about it.
  • See if you can find out patterns in these behaviors. When are we more likely to show it as a team/ as a group? When are we struggling to practice it?
  • Come up with some fun ideas to make it a conscious priority for your teammates.
  • Go wild. Start with crazy ideas, make it fun. Surprise the team, shake it, break it, and build it back again!
  • Run your own experiment. See what works, what doesn’t, and what works better than the rest. Try a couple of different things.
  • Note down what you learned throughout this. At the end of your experiments, make sure to share what you learned. Whether you think this habit should change, or be more specific.
  • See how your work is influencing your colleagues. Collect their stories of realisations, reflections and change.
  • Make your own pitch. What do you think would help these habits continue? How does SIL behave as a team, how do your colleagues behave as a group. Share your suggestions for new habits that SIL should practice religiously.
  • Rate others based on their initiatives, ideas, how inspired you felt, how much you changed, how much it impacted others etc.
What could be some example of these ideas?
Adding few examples for your understanding. But please don’t limit yourself to these!
  • A flashmob
  • One to one conversations
  • Learning sessions
  • Organising games, challenges and fun interactions
  • Introducing small tweaks (e.g. A late jar where you drop 100 bucks every time you are late to a meeting.)
  • A flashmob?
  • Come up with fun taglines, catchy Mantras!
  • Make t-shirts.
  • Make people pledge publicly.
  • You can utilise 5 minutes every team meeting to drop some ‘insight bombs’
  • Bring someone external to inspire the team
  • Share interesting resources on slack
  • A flashmob?
  • Convince Avi bhai for policies.
  • Gifts? Brownie points?
  • A note from Abed bhai?
  • Use shared spaces and do something engaging and fun.
  • Make stickers. Come up with some good messages (e.g. Don’t assume, ask. Did you make someone smile today?)
  • Become a secret santa!
  • Write a song. Sing it!
  • A flashmob?
But… what are other people doing?
NPR organises these Tiny Desk Concerts. IDEO has elevator concerts where they sing random songs in front of elevators to give people ‘unwanted’ entertainment. 
Zappos offers $2000 to new employees to quit the job in first two weeks- as part of their experiment to find the cultural fit. 
Facebook’s flat company structure is reflected in their open workspace policy, that even the CEO is part of!

I’ve attached a photo of a wall inside a restroom in IDEO that has been turned into something fun, and inspirational!



And here’s the list of sacred SIL values with your initials beside them!

1.   Our decisions have more data, and less assumptions.[NT]

2.   Learning to love your work is a skill, and we practice it.[ZE]

3.   We focus more on doing the right thing, than just doing things right.[JR]

4.   In times of stress, we invest to keep ourselves happy. [MO]

5.   We delegate with respect, inspiration and clarity. [TZ]

6.   When things go wrong, or right, we know why.[RA]

7.   We believe in partnerships that are win-win.[AMS]

8.   When we like a problem, we ask if there is a more important problem we can solve.[sa]

9.   We don’t assume, we ask.[KP]


10. We hold each other accountable, and help to stay curious. [SS]



#Happy to help if you have any queries!


Masrura Oishi is an over-thinker and procaffeinator. In her free time, she pretends to be a philosopher and does some development work for BRAC Social Innovation Lab. She invests her insulin pumped energy into reading, writing, traveling and living!

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