RAB Insights

RAB Research Archive

Sometimes it's okay...

Twice last week, I was reminded of the importance of collaboration and just plain fun at work. Jean Heatherington is on our digital services team. Jean has a fantastic talent for his current job and is a former on-air talent. Jean's singing and production skills are exceptional. We chatted on Microsoft Teams and email this week, and Jean shared some of his previous work with me. I jokingly said to him, "It's a good thing we don't work in the same office. We'd likely never get anything done." Jean responded: "On the other hand, we might get more work done than anyone imagined... depending on the project. I've always believed collaboration multiplies work effort logarithmically in those focused on a united purpose." Jean is 100% correct.

Then I was talking with Dave Casper, SVP of digital. I was trying out my new "Teams" phone. We chatted for about 15 minutes about AI, ChatGPT and how Dave discovered how to create Excel formulas using ChatGPT. Dave said at the end of the call, "There's a 20-minute conversation about nothing." With Jean's voice ringing, I said, "Dave, we had a great time catching up and collaborating about what's on our minds." He agreed, and we both admitted we missed the "water cooler" chat in an office environment.

Ron Friedman, writing for Harvard Business Review, suggests high-performance teams do things differently:

Every leader wants to solve the puzzle of what makes a high-performing team. One piece that's often missing is the importance of social connections. If you're trying to supercharge your team, here are research-backed ways to foster greater connectedness.

Invest time in bonding over nonwork topics. The best teams aren't more effective because they work all the time. In fact, discussing things not related to work — sports, books and family, for example, reveals shared interests, allowing people to connect in genuine ways, which yields closer friendships and better teamwork. Create a culture where expressing appreciation is the norm. Recognition is often a more powerful motivating force than monetary incentives. And an acknowledgment of good work shouldn't just flow from the top down. Make it a norm for peers to also express appreciation for one another.

Put a premium on authenticity. It's important to create an environment where employees feel comfortable candidly expressing both positive and negative emotions — as well as complimenting and joking with teammates.

Later in the article, there was another fascinating statistic. High-performance teams tend to communicate more frequently in general. They are significantly more likely to communicate with colleagues via telephone (including Teams/Zoom, etc.) than their less successful peers (10.1 versus 6.1 calls per day on average).

Maybe those conversations about "nothing" are really something, especially if you are in a distributed work model where not everyone comes to an office daily. Having a phone conversation can help with collaboration and isolation. It can also help you get to know your colleagues more personally.

Call a work friend today!

Happy Friday!

Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@rab.com. You can all so connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Source: Jeff Schmidt, SVP of Professional Development, RAB