Looking back on 2023 at Mojo Crowe in December, we had a very sobering realisation.
We f%cked up. We actually f%cked up.
But you know what?
We are so glad we did.
LinkedIn is full of success stories and achievements, which is awesome, but what we aren’t seeing are the challenges and difficulties, when they’re absolutely essential to the journey. Because of the lesson and the learning.
Your greatest growth almost always comes from your darkest times, and in our experience, there are two types of leaders. The ones who are open and believe vulnerability is a superpower, and those who see it as a weakness. Our mission is to always celebrate the former in every corner of our company and community!
So, in the spirit of vulnerability, accountability and growth, let’s get into sharing the 3 biggest mistakes we made in 2023 (and why we’re glad we made them).
1. We assumed our culture would be good because we have good people.
Our team grew rapidly last year, which excited the heck out of us, especially given our humble beginnings as a start-up during the pandemic. What we didn’t anticipate, was that team culture isn’t something that naturally thrives without constant attention… Even when you’ve hired a truly wonderful group of people (#humblebrag).
It’s not unlike the learning curve post ‘honeymoon phase’ in any long-term relationship. We had to realise that, like any meaningful and lasting connection, great team culture is an active process. It’s one that we all have to choose on a daily basis, rather than simply expect, based on our similar values and good intentions. So, 2023 became an opportunity to re-discover our Mojo, and we were lucky that the whole team wanted to work on this too.
In 2024, we are working on joining the dots between our 4 values of courage, accountability, care and play and our daily actions and rituals, rather than simply speaking about it, or hoping it’ll just happen by osmosis.
In practice, it means having crucial conversations, applying generous assumptions when we feel disconnected, not attaching ourselves to our ideas, sharing our goals (personally and professionally), making brave decisions we believe in, genuinely having each other’s back and sharpening our sense of ownership in every role and task. It might even look a little like this Roy Kent and Jamie Tartt moment from time to time 😉
At the end of the day, clear is kind, unclear is unkind, and kind is what we’re here to do. We’re called human-kind for a reason!
2. We thought we knew best… We didn’t !
A classic mistake that a lot of founders, companies and product teams can probably relate to. We definitely assumed too much in 2023. We always had the best intentions — we love what we do, and we believed people would love our app for the same reasons we do. Because why wouldn’t they?
Spoiler alert: They don’t.
What we’ve learnt is that making decisions that aren’t backed by user research won’t lead us very far — especially when each conversation with Mojo members offers up a million new ideas. Embarrassingly, this was a big ‘A-Ha’ moment for us, and a great chance to re-center our business around how Mojo members really engage with our work.
In 2024, we are heavily investing in data analysis to support every decision we make, on top of talking to our users on a regular basis. Delivering the self-development content they need right now is our purpose, after all.
And if you are a Mojo Crowe member reading this and you want to chat about your experience, send us a DM — please… We mean it.
Our favourite fictional coach, Ted Lasso, used to describe his father saying: ‘He was a real chatterbox’, but sometimes could’ve done with being a better ‘listening box.’ Here’s to being a listening box this year!
3. We made fear-based decisions.
It’s difficult to clearly see the ‘why’ behind every strategic decision, and we came to realise that in some cases, this ‘why’ for us last year was fear. Fear that the product isn’t what people want, fear people will leave, fear they won’t like what we do if we don’t do it a certain way…
Fear of failure, quite frankly.
Well, hindsight’s 20/20 as they say! We made decisions we regretted, as fear isn’t a positive driver in any way. But we are glad we failed on this front — despite our best attempts to dance around it!
We tried some things, it didn’t work, and we now have the chance to try again with a lot more experience, knowledge and self-compassion.
In 2024, we are embracing vulnerability and courage more than ever, especially when making important product decisions. Writing this article and sharing it is also a way for us to own our mistakes with courage and move forward with humility, rather than beating ourselves up, or letting imposter syndrome take hold.
We hope that sharing our struggles and reflections can inspire you to reframe mistakes and see them for what they are: priceless lessons!
It hasn’t been an easy year, as is the case for many of you, we’re sure. But we’ve been given another chance to get better at what we do, and for that, we’re very grateful. We get to keep learning.
The most important thing is to recognise that we f%cked up, and understand why we did, and get stuck into how we can fix it.
As Seth Godin says:
“The rule is simple. The person who fails the most will win. If I (we) fail more than you do, I (we) will win. Because in order to keep failing, you’ve got to be good enough to keep playing.”
There’s a school of thought that in life there’s really only two emotions: love and fear, and every other emotion is a derivative of these two. At work there’s also really only two emotional states: play and fear. Because the opposite of play isn’t work… It’s fear.
Cheers to failing forward, and playing through new mistakes in 2024 🥂