Last month, Remote Learner’s entire team converged on Denver for a week of meetings and social events. As members of an entirely distributed company, the team was excited for the opportunity to spend time together away from our computer screens. The theme of the week was “Building Solutions” both for ourselves and our clients, and we went home at the end of the week eager to find ways to apply the solutions we built to the work we do for our clients.
Remote Learner works hard on a company culture that values communication, collaboration, and camaraderie. The fruits of those efforts were in full effect in Denver. You would never know that most of the team had never met one another in person. Upon arrival, team members hugged or shook hands and shared their excitement about the week ahead. There were also a lot of discussions on who was taller or shorter than expected!
The goodwill continued throughout the week as the team discussed the present and future of the company, connected during team-building exercises, and generated ideas for new solutions to help our clients maximize their impact.
The week’s activities were often as unique as they were varied: Which team can build the tallest tower using only 20 pieces of uncooked spaghetti, one marshmallow, one yard of tape, and one yard of twine? Who can flip a tarp over the fastest…with nearly 20 people standing on it? How many ways can your Mr. Potato Head pieces be customized? What is a barrier each of us would like to overcome? Now, write it on a board and break through that board with your hand.
As light-hearted as some of those activities might sound, they were undertaken with purpose and intention, teaching the team lessons about teamwork, communication, and the value of creative thinking and different perspectives.
Other activities were more obvious in their application to our business.
We spent an entire day walking through the client lifecycle and our respective roles in executing it. The process revealed to the team, most of whom don’t have complete visibility into all aspects of the client lifecycle in their day to day work, how many moving pieces go into providing a high-quality client experience. It also revealed opportunities to improve the efficiency and performance of that lifecycle through improved communication strategies.
Another day was spent in teams tasked with designing solutions specifically for the ways in which a specific audience would take advantage of our solutions and services. This proved to be a valuable exercise in a number of ways. It was an effective vehicle for discovering new ways in which our solutions can be used to add value for our different audiences. It revealed new ways in which we can present and discuss our solutions to our clients to help them better understand their relevance and impact. And it gave the members of each team a forum to listen and share ideas that only their perspective and role in the organization could provide.
In the end, the team left the Remote Learner company-wide meeting rejuvenated. Connections were made, camaraderie was built, and our commitment to helping our clients make an impact was renewed. Over the weeks, months, and years ahead, we’re looking forward to demonstrating that commitment to our clients in new and exciting ways, and bringing innovative new solutions developed during our time together, to market.
While working in a distributed company has tremendous benefits and allows for a diverse talent pool, each time we get together we are reminded that there is no substitute for direct human interaction. We look forward to more opportunities to get together with our colleagues and clients alike.