For years, the majority of our team worked out of our Boulder office, with a few others remote. In 2018 that all changed when we extended the work-from-home option to everyone. While some companies experience challenges with a primarily virtual environment, for us, it was successful from the get-go. A few things had to happen to make this possible and I’ve recently been a lot more transparent about it. First we had to shift our thinking around hiring from just capable to a truly good fit with the whole team. We are such a small team that when there is one personality that doesn’t fit, it challenges the entire culture of the team. Not to toot our own horns, but in the same way we are excellent relationship builders for our clients, we finally feel that our internal communications and collaboration are bar-none. A very close-knit company, we take building team rapport seriously, especially across distance, and we all work with intention to stay connected.
One great way we stay connected is through our bi-annual, Innovation Day held at our Colorado HQ which took place the end of August. We call it a “day” but in actuality, it’s a two-day, action packed learning, innovating, and brainstorming event followed by our traditional volunteer team-building activity. A cornerstone of our company culture, working together for a greater good helps to keep us aligned.
Here’s a recap of our sessions that help propel Channel Maven and our clients forward. Feel free to borrow our ideas!
The WHY exercise
Simon Sinek gave a Ted Talk a few years back called How Great Leaders Inspire Action. An “oldie but goodie,” it’s still extremely relevant especially in today’s market where customer experience is King. We watched his presentation and then broke into groups of three to discuss and present our Channel Maven “WHY.” If we’ve had the pleasure of working together, then it will come as no surprise that our “why” hinges on building relationships; with clients, between Vendors and Partners, and with each other. In addition, a major why for us is that each person on our team truly loves what they do.
Staying connected in a remote world
There’s an art to staying connected when everyone is remote and lucky for us, we’re all relationship builders so it comes pretty easy. One thing I recently initiated to “keep it real” is posing questions round-robin style in our virtual video meetings each week. Not always work related, we can share snippets from our personal or professional lives. These little details of what’s happening behind the work curtain, such as listening to each other about a recent move to a new home, concerns about an upcoming surgery, excitement about an upcoming event, or how I may be a bit sleep deprived courtesy of my newest little one, helps keep us close.
Getting our organization on
Innovation Day is also about learning. Going remote meant finding easier ways to collaborate. In the last six months we transitioned to several online tools and are looking to institute a new project management tool. Thankfully, we have a resident online organization expert, Lisa Miller, who walked us through productive tips and tricks to make our daily lives simpler, especially around organizing our projects, emails, and communications.
A bit of healthy competition never hurts
Channel Maven Jeopardy is a long standing tradition at Innovation Day. We break into teams (and name them) and Jeopardy-style, race to answer questions across categories specific to Channel Maven solutions, clients, projects and team (the fun-facts are the best!). Trust us, you don’t want to get in the way of a Channel Maven who’s ready to shout out the answer! This year’s win went to team “Mumblers!”
Volunteering for the greater good
We’ve participated in many volunteer opportunities over the years and this time we contributed to There With Care, a non-profit that supports critically ill children and their families. First, we met as a team at the local Target store to shop for items such as games, stickers, legos, Yo-Yos, puzzles, coloring books, and journals. Never a dull moment, our spree resembled a “Supermarket Sweep” episode that admittedly drove other patrons crazy (sorry, Target). Upon arrival at There With Care, Julie Hess walked us through the unbelievable and awe-inspiring “WHY” behind the There With Care cause, founded by movie producer Paula DuPre’ Pesmen (she produced the Harry Potter movies!). Following a heart-warming tour we assembled 30 activity bags for the boys and girls they support. In truth, we’re not sure who benefited more from the experience, as this wonderful charity with a great mission, gave our team an amazing bonding opportunity that we will never forget! And our newest maven showed up at the end for some giggles!
So, that was last week. This week, three of our Channel Mavens are attending HubSpot #Inbound18 in Boston. They’re tasked with bringing back information we’ll use and share. As the saying goes, it takes a village… and for our “family” that means staying ahead of the latest marketing technologies and trends!