“Your team is so nice”: Remote Work, Culture, Honesty and Learning
In the spirit of constant learning, all of our people – even those early in their career journey – have been trained on the coaching leadership style, aka the GROW methodology. Again, this serves to build the understanding that everyone can contribute; everyone has ideas that matter; everyone has an answer within them. If you are unfamiliar with this, I recommend reading either by Michael Bungay Stanier.by David Rock or
We have a channel on Slack where all team members are asked to celebrate other team members. I avoided calling this “big wins”, or something similar, because I wanted to see a lot of activity in this channel. (Why wait for something “big” to celebrate?) We’ve even provided a framework for providing effective positive feedback (thanks Tanja Halsall from Potentia). Our team regularly gives thanks and shows gratitude for people showing up and contributing. It makes people feel seen in the workplace.
If you worry about creating a culture where everyone gets a medal, consider my next point:
Thoughtful candor as a value
We want all of our team’s opinions brought to the table. We expect everyone to speak truthfully and plainly. And when we do, we generally understand that the feedback isn’t coming from a weird place or ego-driven, it’s given with the shared intention of helping everyone improve. This doesn’t mean that we don’t mess this up sometimes – feelings do get hurt, and messages sometimes get misconstrued – but we don’t hide or avoid sharing feedback. We’ve created a trusting, honest culture as a result.
Convene your team
We do not have a physical office so I don’t have that overhead – instead I invest it in travel. We have folks in various locations. We hosted an in-person summit twice this year. Sure, remote work is magical, but nothing can replace having the team meet each other IRL, breaking bread, working side-by-side.
Invest in tech
Tech – whether Zoom, Slack, Miro, Monday.com, whatever – is the primary way that your team shares knowledge and communicates with each other. My business is largely run on Slack, and Slack Huddles, in particular, are a core part of our communication. Yes, this can add up. But if you are running a knowledge business like ours, it’s important to facilitate knowledge sharing and remove as much friction as possible. (Incidentally, Crisp is an approved Digital Advisor as part of the Canadian Digital Adoption Program. We can help you with your tech!)
Finally, if you haven’t read it already, read the classic business book by Patrick Lencioni. It’s required reading for any business leader. Getting past these five dysfunctions is the backbone of any healthy, trusting team culture.