Did you know I could help you with that issue?
The human condition involves learning, or re-learning, which is both frustrating and invigorating.
we recently brought our entire company together in one location to invest in team building and unifying our go-to-market plan of action for the rest of 2018. Being a cloud based company enables us to support our clients by positioning team members in different regions, but this decentralization comes with challenges.
Our conclave taught, or re-taught, us a few valuable lessons I hope others with remote team members might find valuable.
Be intentional about interdepartmental communication
Our departments were communicating well internally but were making assumptions about, or having miscommunications with, other departments, and a few departments had never spoken with each other.
A communication illusion existed, individuals were talking with members of other teams as needed (for example, a sales representative to a client success engineer, an accounts receivable specialist to a sales engineer, development director to the CFO) but the lack of team to team synchronization became evident as leaders, and members shared their struggles. Critical misunderstandings and unsynchronized initiatives quickly surfaced.
A common response began to echo, “I did not know you were doing that, or struggling with that, we can help!”
Our well-meaning attempts to remove meeting over-head while empowering the decentralized teams inadvertently created divides that has crippled mutual support.
Our action item list began to grow. We quickly committed to implementing intentional, yet manageable, communication rhythms to promote synchronization and enable enhanced mutual support.
It’s lonely out there but you are not alone
Matt Wool, in a December 2017 Business.com article, discussed isolation and loneliness as a big challenge for remote workers.
Cicayda employs messaging, emailing, desktop sharing, and video/conference call technologies to collaborate but as Matt mentioned “relying solely on technology to collaborate with colleagues leaves workers feeling disconnected” Matt Wool, 21 December 2017. Our team was not the exception. We heard a few frequent comments, “I did not know that”, “I thought I was the only one dealing with that” or “I did not realize how isolated or lonely I had become”. Getting everyone together created the opportunity for those “high-quality interactions that matter” discussed by Matt.
Feeling part of the group is an important factor in keeping our highly skilled teams motivated and in sync. We now have decided to invest in regional meetups, rotating brief team member visits to Nashville HQ, more frequent remote company-wide meetings, information sharing channels, and a higher frequency of management travel to the field.
Everyone left the conclave knowing they were not alone and I know our measures to relieve this issue will bear fruit.
Investing in teams that assist your clients increases revenue
As with most tech startups, Cicayda does not have unlimited resources so careful management and proper focus of funds is vital. The decision to invest in a company-wide onsite collaboration diverted funds directly aimed at ongoing business development and was not inconsequential cost.
What we learned, or relearned, was that multiple department crosstalk drove immediately solutions. To our surprise, we discovered situations where we were either under charging and not even charging where we should have. Shared success stories opened eyes to new methods. The lessons learned and conversations informed other team members of pitfalls to avoid or resources available to accelerate success. Best of all, the combination of work and social time together re-invigorated our innovative spirit that has driven so much of our past success.
Revenue will be a direct, and I believe easier, result of our unified time together. Without talking to a single client but rather meeting with the valuable people who care daily for our clients caused our deal pipeline, product/solution ideas, and service capacity to increase.
Get together sooner than later
As an entrepreneur, I have never suffered from a lack of things that need attention. Some days, even weeks, you are so focused you can’t see the forest for the trees. Bringing everyone together had been an overlooked attention item that is a priority action item.
It is clear our face-to-face time built and reinforced relationships that will make it easier to work with and help one another in the future. I am confident the Cicayda Buzz will be coming to,or growing, in your town simply due to our investment to gather as a collective with a purpose.
If it’s been too long since you’ve pulled the whole team together then I hope you will learn from our experience.