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Part 3 – Remote work has become more common for many organizations. While the debate is heating up between remote work detractors and remote work advocates, I’d like to offer my version of what it takes to start building remote high-performing teams.

Remote work offers numerous benefits such as flexibility and access to a global talent pool, but it also poses unique challenges, particularly when it comes to building high-performing teams. In this four-part blog series, I will explore 4 key aspects of creating and nurturing successful remote teams around Purpose, Process, People, and Outcome. I like to call this the 3PsO model

3PsO model, based on 3 pillars: Purpose, Processes, People for the Outomes (the roof) to exist. Foundational layer is the company's culture

In this ongoing series on building remote high-performing teams, we have explored the importance of a compelling purpose and effective team processes. Now, it is time we shift our focus to team relationships.
Building strong connections among team members is essential for collaboration, trust, and ultimately, success.
Like a good Spanish Paella composed of diverse ingredients forming an amazing dish, the diverse team members need to foster relationships, building an understanding of each other, their motivators, and personal values.
In this third article, we will dive into the necessity of fostering relationships in remote teams, highlighting the benefits of developing high psychological safety, building trust, and resolving conflicts constructively.

High Psychological Safety

Psychological safety refers to an environment in which team members feel safe to take risks, voice their opinions, and express themselves authentically without fear of judgment or retribution. In remote teams, where face-to-face interactions are limited, creating an atmosphere of psychological safety is even more crucial. When team members feel psychologically safe, they are more likely to contribute their unique perspectives, share innovative ideas, and take ownership of their work. This fosters creativity, collaboration, and a sense of belonging, leading to higher engagement and performance.
Google famously researched what makes effective teams in its Aristotle project. Psychological Safety is the foundation of effective teams.

Building Trust

Building trust enables effective communication, delegation, and collaboration, even when physical proximity is absent. To build trust, team members must demonstrate competence in their respective roles, deliver on their commitments, and maintain open and honest communication. In a remote setting, trust can be further enhanced through regular check-ins, active listening, and establishing virtual team-building activities. Building and nurturing trust in remote teams is an ongoing process that requires deliberate effort from all team members and their leaders.

Constructive Conflict Resolution

Conflict is an inevitable part of team dynamics, but how it is managed determines whether it becomes a destructive force or an opportunity for growth. Remote teams must foster an environment where conflicts are addressed openly and resolved constructively. This involves encouraging active and empathetic listening, promoting open dialogue, and focusing on collaborative problem-solving rather than personal attacks. When conflicts are managed effectively, team members gain a deeper understanding of each other’s perspectives, leading to better decision-making and improved relationships.

Facilitating a Motivators and Values exercise for your team

Motivators, as defined in Management 3.0, are factors that inspire and drive individuals to excel in their work. In a remote team, understanding and catering to each team member’s motivators are essential for fostering engagement and satisfaction. By aligning goals and responsibilities with individual motivators, team members feel more connected to their work and are likely to be more productive and fulfilled.

Expressing personal values is another powerful way to foster understanding and build relationships within a remote team. When team members openly share their values, it creates a space for empathy, respect, and appreciation of each other’s unique qualities. Understanding the values that drive their colleagues allows team members to better understand and connect on a personal level, strengthening relationships and creating a supportive team culture.

In a remote set-up, I facilitate the activity both asynchronously and synchronously and use both the Moving Motivators and Big Values List from Management 3.0.

Mainly asynchronously

Explain the Goal of the exercises: “Expressing as an individual what our motivators and personal values are allows for people working with us to build more understanding.”
It is one of the first steps to develop psychological safety in the team.

Asynchronously ask the team members to define their Personal Values. Ask them to take some time to reflect on what truly matters to them.

Stay Available for Consultation: While they are working on this asynchronously, as a facilitator, I will be available for any questions or clarifications they might need.

Synchronously

Check-in: Before we begin, let’s take a moment for a quick check-in. How is everyone feeling today? Is there anything on your mind that you’d like to share before we dive into the exercise?

Ask everyone to review the different personal values of each team member. No judgment or comment.

Introduce moving motivators.
Team member evaluates “What motivates you?” The 10 cards (motivators) simplify the game and a discussion about motivation suddenly becomes a lot easier. They can reflect on how each motivator aligns with their values. They can classify the Moving Motivators cards from least valuable to most valuable.

Have the leader go first or you go first
“The role of leadership is to go first”, if there are no leaders in the session then you should go first to role model the desired behavior. Get ready to classify the 10 cards from the less valuable (left) to the most valuable (right) motivator and explain the order.

Get the team members to share their moving motivators
During this step, each member has classified their cards by answering the question: “What motivates me?”
Do a round-robin for each team member to share the most and the least valuable motivators and explain why he/she classified them here.

Synchronously reflect: “What have we learned as a team about the team members?”

Optionally
Imagine a change is coming to the team which has an impact on day-to-day activities. Ask the team members to imagine the impact of this change on their 10 motivators.
If they perceive the change as positive, they can move their cards up; if the impact is negative, move the cards down.

Building the Team Relationsh

Conclusion

Fostering relationships in remote teams is vital for creating a collaborative and high-performing environment. As an Agile coach, it is crucial to guide and support remote teams in building strong relationships, as they lay the groundwork for effective collaboration and collective success.

If you are a Leader, a Change Agent, a Scrum Master, or a fellow Agile Coach and you’d like to know more, feel free to book a conversation with me.

Stay tuned for more insights and practical advice on building remote high-performing teams!