Ship on day one

How to Keep Your Distributed Teams Connected

May 25, 2018

Daniela Luzi Tudor, CEO of WeConnect Recovery, explains how to maintain culture and share knowledge.

For all of the advantages a distributed team can offer—flexibility, diversity of ideas, reduced facility costs—it can also create problems, particularly related to communication. That’s a limitation that Daniela Luzi Tudor understands all too well. The co-founder and CEO of WeConnect Recovery, a relapse prevention program for people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, has roughly 30 employees spread across five states and three time zones. But, as she explains in this week’s episode of the Ship It Show, she navigates the challenges that separation presents by fostering a culture of safety and trust.

How to accomplish that? Tudor suggests breaking it down into practical steps that you can take every day. For her and the WeConnect staff, that includes things like encouraging employees to share how they’re feeling before every meeting. “If I’m in a meeting and I feel like someone might be upset or in a bad mood, it’s better for me to know that it’s because their kid is sick at home than thinking, ‘I didn’t do my spreadsheet correctly,’” she says. That vulnerability not only builds trust among team members, but it also breaks down the barriers that geography can create.

The concept of sharing at WeConnect extends to knowledge, too. The company has created a comprehensive wiki for company information and industry information, instituted a comprehensive onboarding process, and created an opportunity for new employees to offer feedback on that onboarding process a couple weeks after they’re hired. In the end, the process is built on a desire to take fear out of the equation. “If people feel safe,” Tudor says, “they’re going to go get the knowledge they need, and they’re going to feel comfortable asking questions.”

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