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Seven Steps to Scale Input – How Team Rubicon Stays on Track with Growth

Team Rubicon’s been built on the backs of volunteers. From 8 in the beginning to today’s force of 45,000. From 4 ops in 2010 to 16 in the first two months of 2017. From 0 to nearly 70 employees. All in 7 years.

What keeps us on track as we grow? Input. 

At Team Rubicon, we’re committed to treating every piece of input as an opportunity to learn, improve, and sometimes teach. Input, from our newest member to our crusty founders, is taken seriously. As much as any other metric has grown for this organization, our volume of input has grown with it, and we’re in the process of scaling everything we do. 

Here are seven ways we’re scaling our ability to accept input so we can learn, improve, and sometimes teach. This means adding specific channels and processes to ensure we capture our most critical feedback. But much more than that, it means ensuring timely consumption, utilization, and follow up of the massive volume of input we already receive. 

1. Daily input on operations

From morning and evening briefings, to the suggestion box, to incident and accident reporting we’re looking to hear, see, or read how we can learn and improve every day.

2. Post deployment surveys

From this point forward, within one week of getting home, every member will receive a post deployment survey so we can understand their experience on operations and identify where we can learn and improve.

3. Recognition programs

We haven’t grown this much without some incredible effort and inputs from people who deserve to be recognized. We’ve amped up our commitment to ensure this part of input doesn’t go unnoticed. From badges in Roll Call, to deployment patches, to the Salute to Service award winners, to handwritten thank you letters, expect more from our recognition programs.

4. Annual member survey

How has TR impacted you? What do you like best? How can we get better? Once a year, we look to understand if we’re on the right azimuth organizationally (Yes, some Marines know what azimuth means). This annual report card is backed up by the regular check-ins listed above to avoid missing by a few degrees tomorrow and being a mile off course next quarter.

5. Individual feedback

Is there a broken link in these input chains? Is there something sensitive that needs to be heard? Did you not know who to tell you witnessed a random act of awesome? This is a general channel to ensure nothing is missed, and if you request a specific follow up, ensure that happens.

6. Participation status

We’re committed to a safe and inclusive environment. It’s a tough call, but there are times when individuals detract from the experience of the group. When this happens, we’re committed to protecting the experience of the group and doing everything we can to support any individual to positively contribute to TR.

7. Harassment prevention program

Every member supports it through their behavior and by recognizing their impact on members around them. Maintaining a strong, inclusive culture and building awareness are our best preventions. If prevention misses the mark, harassment is not tolerated within Team Rubicon and every instance is supported and investigated to ensure we’re protecting the safe, inclusive environment our members have earned and expect.

Have input on how we can do better? We’d love to hear it.

David Burke, the Vice President of Program & Field Operations, graduated from the University of Iowa where he majored in business, bicycle maintenance, and beer snobbery. He served just under 5 years in the Marine Corps as a logistics officer and he deployed to Iraq with RCT-8 and to Afghanistan with the 2d Marine Division. David finished active service as a Captain in Quantico, VA, supporting the M1A1 Tank and M88 Recovery Vehicle. After a short stint in consulting, David traveled the US logging 1000's of miles on the road and 100's with a backpack.