If you take a look at the website of Fasten, a Boston- and Austin-based ride-hailing service, you’ll see a handful of words that are commonly associated with the ride-haling industry, like “download our app” and “driver screening.” On Fasten’s website, there are also the words that Fasten uses to differentiate itself from mainstream competitors Uber and Lyft, like “no 20-28 percent commission” and “flat Fasten’s cut” on the money that drivers make.
What you’ll not find on the company’s website is the expression, “The ‘F-Up’ of the Week,” which describes a tradition that the company put in place since its early days: every week, employees and executives volunteer to share their professional failures that happened in the past seven days.
The moment to share failures is part of the company all-hands meeting, at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesdays. The “F-Ups” can be as costly as someone accidentally sending a promotional discount code to a few hundred people (instead of a few dozen), to as simple as someone installing a coat rack at the Boston Driver Lounge upside down.
In an interview with BostInno, Fasten CEO Kirill Evdakov referred to “The ‘F-Up’ of the Week” as “a technical term.” The logic behind this company’s tradition, Evdakov said, was to send employees the message that it’s OK to make mistakes, even when these mistakes end up with losing company’s money.
“We will always […] make mistakes. There’s nothing to be worried about.”
“We will always, everyday, make mistakes or have problems,” Evdakov said. “There’s nothing to be worried about, it’s a normal process.”
Evdakov added a twist of psychology to his explanation. His line of reasoning started with the fact that people perform better when they feel good about themselves. When they know they made a mistake, the stressful process of disclosing it with their supervisor may “poison,” as Evdakov said, their entire workday and have a negative impact on their state of mind. Thanks to “The ‘F-Up’ of the Week,” the process of disclosing failures becomes a little more entertaining and, therefore, easier to approach.
While disclosing failures in public might result even more intimidating for employees, Evdakov explained that witnessing coworkers’ tales of failures sends the message that literally everyone makes mistakes, which may contribute to accept failures easier.
Also, he pointed out that taking active part in “The ‘F-Up’ of the Week” is 100 percent optional for employees. What usually happens is that someone starts and, after his or her tale, people remember their “F-Ups” and share their stories. “Everyone laughs and then confesses as well, and that shaped the dynamic a lot,” Evdakov said.
Evdakov is no stranger at sharing his personal mistakes, too. Asked about an “epic fail” he shared with the team, he confessed to having accidentally sent a text message with a promotion to the entire Boston market, instead of just to the Austin market. In the end, the company decided to run the promotion on both markets. “We decided we’d rather overspend… than ruining our relationship with the drivers,” Evdakov said.