Welcome to the ninety-eighth issue of CEE News!
When my husband and I were driving our rental car from Hannover to Bremen, Germany, for a family wedding this summer, he used the down time to log into the last few minutes of his daily Team’s meeting. It was 3:12 p.m. in Germany (9:12 a.m. Eastern in the U.S.) I listened quietly on the car’s speaker system as one of the team members spent a few minutes sharing some interesting facts she’d learned about owls. After the owl talk, another team member took the opportunity to share that one of their employees in North Carolina had found a stray dog – he called it Founddog.
No one had answered local posts about the missing stray, and a quick trip to the vet revealed that she had not been microchipped, but that she had heart worms. The team member speaking then said that after treating Founddog for her heartworm condition, their North Carolina employee would look for a forever home for her. “The treatment costs around $1,500,” the speaker said. “If anyone would be willing to help offset the cost, I know that would be greatly appreciated.” In the closing seconds of the call, I heard “I’ll pitch in” and “Count me in” coming from several of the fully-remote participants on the call, including my husband. The speaker thanked everyone and added how proud he was of witnessing the company’s culture in action, ending the meeting on a very satisfying note.
Although my husband had told me about this team-building discipline that his employees had instituted during the last few minutes of their morning “standups”, this was the first opportunity that I’d had to listen in. As my husband answered a call from one of his managers immediately after the Team’s call, I took time to reflect.
I knew that, under my husband’s guidance as CEO, the company was on a hockey stick growth trajectory and that there were massive projects to deliver and commitments to keep. Yet, precious minutes sharing fun facts and personal updates like owl facts and the Founddog story was a way that his team had found to bridge physical distance gaps and create a common ground culture through topics outside of the day-to-day demands.
Although collaborating as a fully remote team can create challenges, setting aside time and energy on small talk can yield big benefits. I’m happy that I got the chance to experience this culture-builder in action. I’m also happy to report that Founddog’s heartworm treatment was successful and that she’ll be wagging her tail in a North Carolina-area forever home soon.
Sheri Nasim | President & CEO