Build team identity while working remotely

Three team members interacting at a distance through colored gears

Teams at a Social Distance

Build team identity while you’re working remotely.

A strong sense of team identity has proven to lead to higher reports of satisfaction on the job.  It turns out that we draw some meaningfulness out of having someone to depend and someone who depends on us.

It’s hard to beat the sense of belonging a team can create when everyone is in the same place.  Imagine football or basketball teams growing stronger together as they practice and play together.

Building a sense of belonging

Today, we need to reimagine what “together” really means.  In these quarantined days of working from home, here are a couple of things you can do to build team identity, keep the team spirit alive, and preserve that sense of belonging.

Huddle

  • Huddle via Zoom every day. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  What the heck are you going to talk about EVERY day?  I’ll leave that for you to figure out, but the guidance I usually give is if you’re working every day, you talk about work every day.  Huddle should be between 7 and 15 minutes.  Try not to go longer.
  • Have a Problem solving huddle via Zoom almost everyday. Face it; we have problems that we solve everyday.  Let’s get the team together to help each other out

Plan

  • Leaders need to make more explicit plans for what and how much the team needs to accomplish EVERY DAY. Break those big, broad projects into daily goals. Measure that accomplishment EVERY DAY.  Awareness of these expectations will also help build team identity.
  • If you don’t achieve your goals for the day, don’t blame; just ask what happened? This is problem solving at its finest.  What happened?  Who can help figure out why? When did it happen?  Where did it happen? How bad was it.  Then you can ask Why to get to the root cause.  Once you have a root cause, come up with some creative ways to solve it.

Team Name

  • Nothing builds team identity quicker than a fun team name. This always sounds a little hokey to some people, but believe it or not, it helps.  Put your team name everywhere!  Here are a couple of ideas for choosing a team name:
    • Have each team member pick 3 different team names that they like. You might go to a website like https://www.findteamnames.com/ or http://www.leadershipgeeks.com/cool-team-names/  for some inspiration.
    • Build a poll in Zoom and have everyone vote. Eliminate all but the top 3.  Have an open discussion about the origins and the merits of each of these and try to build consensus around the name.
    • Some of my favorite team names:
      • 4KaizenAGirl (it was a continuous improvement – kaizen – team consisting of 4 guys and a girl!)
      • May C4s Be With You (we teach the C4 process for problem solving, and this team had a bunch of Star Wars fans)
      • Disco Ninjas (I have no idea where this came from)
      • My Safe Word is Pineapple (Ditto)

Roles

  • Next, give everyone on the team an assigned role, but only for a week. Team members will rotate to a different role each week with a couple of different responsibilities.  Knowing that everyone has a role and is contributing will help build team identity.  Roles might include:
    • Huddle leader – responsible for conducting the daily huddle and making sure everyone has the help they need to succeed
    • Safety leader – responsible for checking on everyone’s health and offering a daily safety message to remind everyone that keeping people safe and healthy is the most important function of a leader. Google daily safety message and you’ll find a huge amount of information on doing this
    • Facilitator – responsible for keeping track of the time on your huddle calls and for writing down any new assignments made during the huddle
    • Productivity leader – responsible for making sure everyone has a plan to accomplish their daily goals, and then reports on productivity during the huddle
    • Quality leader – responsible for reporting any errors or defects the team made the day before and for making plans to solve the problems that led to those errors and defects
    • People leader – responsible for keeping track of attendance, including planned and unplanned absences, and keeping track of training plans and vacation plans for the team.
    • Social leader – responsible for having some team focused activity to do at the end of the huddle (15 minutes or less). It could be a word puzzle of some sort, or a riddle to figure out.  Make this pretty easy so you can start the workday with a win!
    • Feel free to make up other roles that are relevant for your team.

Information Board

Build a team information board in PowerPoint that will keep track of your safety, productivity, quality, and people so you can all see (just share your screen!) just how much better you’re getting!

Reach out

If you need some help, reach out to me.  David.veech@leadersights.com.  I have some pretty cool team building things we can do virtually.  Some are free, some aren’t.

Good luck.  Stay healthy.  Share.

David

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