We had the privilege of talking with someone who’s essentially a Lessonly celebrity at this point. He’s part of our Customer Advisory Board (CAB), spoke at Yellowship about leveraging our voices, celebrated with us at our most recent SOTU, and now, he’s chatting with us about remote work. Team, put your hands together for our friend, Jimmy Miller from OutboundEngine.
I’m biased, but I think the full conversation here is worth every second of your time. However, if you’re looking for just the highlights, we’ve got those below. Get ready to learn!
There are three levels of culture, and Level 3 is most important by a landslide.
Level 1 consists of what Jimmy calls, “artifacts and practices.” These are things like t-shirts with your company’s name on them, wall decor, desk trinkets, and physical representations of your culture. They’re expressions of your company’s culture—but make no mistake, they don’t define who you are as a team.
Level 2 is where your espoused and enacted values live. To clarify, these are the things that you say you do (espoused values) and the things you actually do (enacted values) as a team. Think operations and the way your team does business. Think company values that live on a wall and the day-to-day transactions and interactions people have to do their jobs well.
Finally, and most importantly, comes Level 3. This level is all about emotion and “basic underlying assumptions.” What does this phrase mean? It encompasses the things in our work cultures that are barely perceptible, but when we leave the office, we miss them. Teams tend to miss Level 3 in a big way when working remotely. Why? Because you can’t walk into the office and see that someone may be a bit deflated or someone seems to be in a great mood. These subtle cues about how people are feeling and thinking change how we interact with each other. Since most of us are working remotely, it’s on everyone to compensate in other ways and be hyper-observant and communicative with each other so teams can still hit their goals and feel enabled to do their best work.
Fight for clarity on your team.
Communicating while everyone is working remotely is a whole different ball game. Conversations about work and water cooler chats alike are limited in a big way. That’s why it’s essential for leaders and managers to set the standard for communication by scheduling frequent team and individual check-ins, especially cross-departmentally, so everyone stays on the same page and feels connected to each other.
More tangibly, Jimmy used Lessonly (and our Practice tool specifically) to shift people to new roles and train for them in days, not weeks. This meant Jimmy could effectively be in two places at once. Training and transitioning his team, at scale, was doable with Lessonly, and that’s in large part thanks to the clarity of the lesson paths, enablement, and strategies Jimmy put in place to make OutboundEngine work like a well-oiled machine.
Pair charity with grace if you want to build a company culture people love.
I love Jimmy’s definition of charity. He says it’s, “The belief that everyone is trying their hardest and doing their best.” If there’s no trust between teammates, relationships suffer and company cultures erode—fast. He points out that not everyone will be working their hardest every second, so that’s why it’s on the rest of the team, especially in a more challenging time in our history, to be quick to forgive and move forward. Charity and grace make bumps in the road seem less bumpy. These qualities never inhibit progress towards a shared goal for long. Jimmy even says that grace creates momentum, and that about sums it up.
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