Hello world, please meet The Intentional Organization

. 4 min read . Written by Sara Hicks
Hello world, please meet The Intentional Organization

Drum roll, please... Today, my good friend Mathias and I are launching The Intentional Organization!

What is The Intentional Organization?

First, it’s a soon-to-be-released book about building organizations around clarity, communication, and inclusivity. And, it’s also a consultancy where we are offering executive coaching and leadership workshops.

So why us and why now?

You might recall that Mathias joined Reaction Commerce as my business partner and CTO back in 2018. One of the great successes of our partnership was our overlapping viewpoints regarding building and leading purposeful companies.

When the acquisition process for Reaction Commerce began, Mathias came to Los Angeles for a visit. We spent a few long evenings around my backyard firepit talking through how to navigate all the uncertainty and unknowns that come with an acquisition. We’d joke about some of the more cutthroat and surreal parts saying, “That’s a great story for the book!” What started as levity turned into a realization that we had more to do together and more to say.

Sara and Mathias sitting by a firepit in Los Angeles, CA.

We maintained our regular video conversations, and we started talking more realistically about writing a book, one that incorporated not just our experiences but also our shared vision for creating intentional organizations. Soon enough, we had a GitHub repo full of chapters with an issues board to track our progress and tasks. From there, we realized that we needed a site to start sharing about the book, and that’s what we’re unveiling today: intentionalorganization.com.

We’ve successfully founded and sold companies, and through those epic journeys, we’ve come to believe that it is possible to design intentional cultures that center around people, clarity, communication, and inclusivity. We are writing The Intentional Organization from our perspectives as founders and leaders, and we’re also writing it as a practical guide that we hope can be referenced when readers find themselves in unchartered or uncomfortable terrain. The book is about our experiences, the good and the bad, as a way to honor our paths, and we also want to share this book as a way to be of service to our readers by providing actionable suggestions around a new way of leading. To be certain, we’ve made a ton of mistakes along the way, and it’s through the conflict and challenges that we’ve grown as leaders and individuals. This is the book we wish we had as bumbling founders and CEOs negotiating the twists and turns that come with starting a business and leading a team. Even with the hardships we’ve faced though, we seemed to always find ourselves coming back to a shared sense of intention and beliefs on how to run a business through equity, clarity, and empathy.

Our process of writing while nine time zones apart

Because we’re on opposite sides of the globe, we’ve been trying different ways to collaboratively work on the book. That’s not a new thing for us. We navigated the complexities of time zones during our work together at Reaction, and it’s certainly making for an interesting creative process. Due to the pandemic, we’ve not been able to meet up for a writing retreat. For a recent chapter draft, we created an outline, assigned each other different parts, and then I would write my part, update the GitHub Issue and hand it off to Mathias while I slept, and so on! For other chapters, we’ve divided and conquered. This will be my first book, and it’s been a creative, learning process. I’ll have more to share about that, so stay tuned.

Writing this book together has been cathartic, and while it’s definitely felt incredibly vulnerable and scary to be sharing in such a permanent format, it also just feels right. We’ve recently started working with our editor, and we’re in the early stages of determining just how we want to publish. It’s exciting, daunting, and fun all at the same time. Working on this with Mathias over this past year has been a bright spot during a challenging year.

Details on our new site

Our new site was designed and developed by Simon Collison with illustrations by Geri Coady. The site has additional details about our book, a new blog journal where we’ll post regular updates on our progress with the book and other topics on intentional leadership, and details about how to engage with us for coaching and workshops. You can follow along via RSS or subscribe for email updates.

Our path to Founding Partners

What started as a book is now turning into a small business with a good friend, and that feels comforting. A few short years ago Mathias and I were strangers from different countries, we then became business partners as CEO and CTO, and now we are adding a new set of titles on our journey together, Founding Partners. For me, The Intentional Organization is the culmination of over two decades of experience as a leader in tech, and I’m looking forward to sharing more of my learnings with all of you.