Our Work From Work Week (WWW) initiative has enabled advanced levels of collaboration and socialization. It’s also allowed new lessons to be learned along the way. We wanted to create a unique environment, as a remote-first organization, that emphasized collective learning. So, every quarter think’ers meet at our Pune collaboration space. They then spend the week working together to find a new way there. The advancement of each think’er benefits our team, and WWW has acted as an active catalyst in our progress. Individual development is key. We’re not in the business of creating stone cutters. Instead we support think’ers in the creation of modern masterpieces through collaboration and education. As Ricardo Semler articulated in his masterpiece Maverick, “What would you rather have, the tail of an elephant or an entire ant?” This mindset reflects our desire to learn. We want to create a team where each think’er is as capable in their role as they can be. WWW helps us move towards that goal. As we work on fine-tuning this process, we look forward to sharing the changes made and lessons learned.
Learning Made Simple
The COVID-19 pandemic and shift to remote education opened new opportunities for research into how humans learn. These new areas of study revealed that humans are better suited to learning together in a physical environment. A study on Team-Based Learning (TBL) found that scores improve when peers learn about a topic together, provide feedback to one another, and then are tested on that topic. We found the proof is in the pudding during a recent WWW. The think’ers focused on learning new techniques were able to process and solve the problem at hand. At the same time, the team leaders found themselves identifying problem points and assisting those who needed it in a faster manner. The in-person interaction helped this reaction time.
“There are many team members who joined during the COVID-19 pandemic that we had never met. During regular online sessions, we would just have a team call and discuss any blockers there. But, when we met in person, we could process things faster. When we had these face-to-face discussions, we could better understand what the other person was trying to say. This helped us see if they understood the lesson.” Team Lead Rohit S.
Preventing Miscommunication Proactively
Messaging platforms such as Slack and Microsoft Teams enable communication between necessary parties. Still, there comes a complication with using text to communicate most of the time. That issue? Tone. A simple phrase can be misinterpreted entirely if the two parties have different understandings of the tone. An innocent question may be taken negatively if the recipient isn’t on the same page as the sender. It’s here, again, that WWW is flexing its muscles as a driving force for positive change. The past few years have seen our organization grow to over 300 think’ers. Because of the pandemic, several members of the same team often had never met each other in person. WWW brings everyone together into one collaborative space. It’s here that think’ers can become accustomed to each others’ sense of humor, way of speaking, and communication skills. The time spent together working towards a common goal has helped us understand one another. This positive approach to communication is perfectly described in Dale Carnegies’ How To Win Friends And Influence People, “In our relations at work, we should never forget that all of our associates are human beings and hunger for appreciation. It is the legal tender that all souls enjoy.” This mutual understanding we’ve created leads to empathy and, in turn, a better grasp on how each think’er approaches a discussion.
“This was specific to new people on the team we’d never seen in person. Before meeting them, when we had discussions earlier on, there were some preconceived mindsets about people. Meeting face-to-face helped us get some clarity. Behavior is totally different in a face-to-face environment, which will help us communicate now on (Microsoft) Teams. It helps overall functionality, output quality, and perspective. ” Team Lead Raunak Potnis
Contributing Through Collaboration
Our WWW initiative is still in its infancy, and over time there will surely be more lessons learned and obstacles overcome along the way. We’re seeking advances in every area we can. The combination of team members, team leaders, and leadership means collaboration occurs at every intersection of our organization. The advances being made will only serve as further inspiration while we move faster, think bigger, and go further. If you’d like to learn more about this initiative, feel free to check out our previous blog on why we started the program and what its inner workings look like.