26.7.07

Esprit de Corps

If you’re collaborating with other people on a project, you are de facto part of a team. This is true whether you’re all in the same room every day, or whether you work half a world apart.

For teams of people all located in the same building, team identity and dynamics kind of take care of themselves. People go out to lunch together, hang out at the coffee machine in the morning, and generally feel like they are part of a team, with a shared fate and shared accountability. That team identity is a powerful force, and shared fate really does make a difference in the performance of any team.

For global teams though, it’s much harder to build and maintain that esprit de corps.

One quick thing you can do is establish a regular communication rhythm about non-transactional stuff. That is, you can build esprit de corps by paying attention to it.

This is an easy “best practice” to implement.

  • Get your local and remote teams to take and swap team pictures. (with a caption saying who's who, so people can put faces with names)
  • If you’re a manager, commit to putting together a quick “blurb” once a month.
  • Highlight your joint accomplishments and achievements.
  • Send it to both your local and your remote staff.

This little bit of work will go a long way toward making two groups of engineers, on two different sides of the planet, feel and act like one team. This simple bit of management will pay back massive returns for you when it’s time for your team to dig deep on a big milestone or deliverable.

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