The business of business is relationships; the business of life is human connection.
Robin S. Sharma
Every organization is nothing without the connections of the people and the culture they create. We perceive the large organizations in the world to be so much more, but at the root of it all is that human connection. It is not the technology of the processes without the people who make it go and breathe life into all aspects.
How do you create the connection in your group?
Do you build in help for each team member?
Are you make this more than a one-time thing?
There are a few ingredients that create a real connection with a team. There is an added challenge when that team is remote but, that should stop you from trying. When I think about the people I have a real connection with I think of my college roommates. We know each other so well we can not see each other for an extended period of time and then pick up right where left off. The people you work with can build a great connection it just takes time and some effort.
We have all been put off by the smooth talking sales representative. They come off like they are our best friend until the deal is done and they don’t want to see you. So let’s not pretend to like people but be yourself. Let your co-workers know the real you. I enjoy kidding around with people I work with. So be genuine with them and show how you like to work and ask questions and learn their preferences too. As a sports fan, I enjoy occasionally talking about the latest game. I also get that sport is not everyone’s favorite. Find that common ground between the team.
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care”. One great way to show others you care is by helping them out. Perhaps it as simple as holding the door for someone or maybe giving them some help in finding a new job. Little or big, a helping hand goes a long way toward making a connection. The best feeling is helping someone who can never repay you. Pay it forward and give them a boost.
Building a connection is not a one-time thing. It has to be an all the time thing. I have a younger brother who would occasionally try to butter up to my mother. She learned quickly to spot the scam and know there was a request coming. People can tell if you behavior can fluctuate to over the top. Build a good connection over time and be patient.
Creating a healthy culture is hard enough for companies where everyone is co-located. For remote teams, it can be even more challenging. Obviously, one key ingredient to a good culture is making communication as easy as possible. But in addition to keeping communication channels open, we must be transparent with our team. Transparency builds trust, which in turn fosters the freedom to explore new ideas and accept failure as team members figure out new solutions.
Successful organizations create their culture on purpose. They don’t leave to happenstance or up to the whims of the various teammates. Leaders are the protectors of the culture they want to preserve and enable. From the people they bring onboard to the customers they serve culture runs through it all like a river.
Depending on the stage of your organization the culture must mature and evolve. As a company may start up the culture can be more dynamic and evolving. Then as the organization grows the leaders must find ways to ensure the culture doesn’t morph into something less desirable. Numerous companies have grown and lost the culture roots never to regain them.
Nate is a leader in a large retail company. He shared that, “each team member has a card with them that shares our core values. No matter what department they are in.” This really underscores how each department must share these values too.
Checks and balances
I remember as a student at Grand Mound Elementary learning about the three branches of government. The Judicial, Legislative, and Executive branches each check and balance each other. Mrs. Maher made sure I learned that although I was busy talking and joking in class. Organizational culture is the same, it needs checks and balances in it as well.
Organizational culture is the same, it needs checks and balances in it as well. Russ is a friend of mine and a former manager. He told me once about the story of the greatest interview he ever had. The person was wonderful and impressive. Russ hired this individual and then he began to create drama in the office and leave a trail of problems. He was flabbergasted at how this great interview turned into his worst employee. “It almost destroyed our office, but we got rid or him in time.” As a leader, Russ had to guard the culture he had established.
How are you connecting with your team?
Who is protecting your culture?
What checks do you have on your culture?
Connectivity and culture are two fundamental pieces of your remote team. Like peanut butter and jelly they work best when they are together. Make sure your team has both of them. Make sure and build your culture on purpose to create what aspects you want.