team building

Why Team Building is a Great Practice and a Solid Sales Strategy

As a solutions company, Revelry brings a lot to the table through experience and expertise. These characteristics foster a no-fear approach to completing the task at hand and an honesty in our belief that we can tackle any problem.

On my journey to figuring out how to sell Revelry, I had to figure out who we are, what we deliver, and how we work. This is just one of the many reasons why I decided that being personally responsible for team building tactics – meeting the entire team – was the only way to properly execute on my goals as a sales engineer.

Know and understand the individuals on your team

“The strength of the team is each individual member.
The strength of each member is the team.”

-Phil Jackson

team building

While in charge of the Chicago Bulls, Coach Jackson is known to have uttered this statement about teamwork. I love this quote and I love to embrace our Chicago connection when sharing it.

I’m constantly amazed at how our team is able to provide Leadership, Strategy, Architecture, Implementation, Product Design, Process, Testing, Research, and Quality Assurance on every sprint. But we do, and it’s because of the team that has been assembled. The sum of our services reflect a team-wide approach that has proven successful and positively impacted our clients.

As a curious human, I relish in the opportunity to understand which talents and traits my teammates bring to the table. I do this by passively soaking up all I can from conversations and meetings that take place around me – and on Slack. And, we’re good communicators, so this is easy to do.

As an external-facing sales engineer, though, I take this to the next level to make sure I can get into conversation with all of my Revelry team members.

That’s why I started the Lunch Train.

One of the most successful ways that I have gotten to know Revelry, inside and out, is through sharing a meal with my coworkers. I found the Lunch Train bot in the Slack App Directory. At first, I figured it would be a great way to avoid eating alone, but it quickly transformed into a powerful team building experience. Not only did it provide a space to ask questions and clarify details about projects, it was a space to practice my pitch.

The better I can understand our projects and the work we do, the more tools I can deploy to attract new clients. During Lunch Train, I can ask an engineer to tell me about the cool new project she is working on, or her favorite piece of functionality. Then, I repeat this back in order to be sure I can explain it to someone else.

“If you work for a watch company,
you need to know how the f***ing watch works!”

-Gordon Bethune

Team building in a distributed organization

Revelry has offices in Chicago, Dallas, and New Orleans. And our folks are distributed nationally: our CTO is in New York, our COO is in St Paul, and we also have teammates in Seattle and Las Vegas. (And maybe your town too – let’s chat!) So obviously, a literal Lunch Train is not quite feasible with these folks. But the importance of having face-to-face interactions does not diminish just because they don’t share a physical office with me.

Through the magic of Calendly and Zoom, I can grab a few moments to pick the brains of my coworkers if I want to know more about specific projects and sprints. I can also specifically call it 15 minutes of break time so we can shoot the breeze.

And I’ve thought about some additional ways to practice team building with my distributed coworkers. Since we can’t share PoBoys in New Orleans, I want to seize another opportunity to meet up. Let me know what you think:

The 5-minute not work conversation

I have created an internal mission to invest at least five minutes per day speaking with a colleague about anything that is not work. This means actual speaking, not casual #watercooler Slack channel conversation and not physical water cooler chit-chat. Even if it means changing the company culture, I would like to inculcate across our company the ability to schedule one dedicated, brief, face-to-face conversation.

You never know what you might talk about, or learn… for example: the difference between a tortoise and a turtle.

Teammate bingo

Here’s a game I’m going to launch: Select a set of images, and build boards with randomized layouts, Assign colleagues an image, and establish incentives and a timeframe. So, the rules would be that everyone needs to speak to a colleague whose images match those on your board. Get the coworker to sign off on the image. When time’s up, collect the completed cards and hold a raffle.

You can assign topics to talk about when connecting with teammates, and clarify what counts as a connection: face-to-face conversation via Zoom, or quick Direct Message check-in.

Coffee shop comparisons

This idea should be pretty straightforward: find a colleague, set up a Zoom conference, and decide who’s working from the cooler coffee shop. The definition of cooler can be left to the parties to decide, but one outcome is clear: whomever is found to be working at the cooler spot gets coffee paid for by the other.

Team building creates motivation

Knowing your coworkers will help be better at your job, play a role in your ability to level up, foster a better company culture, lead to easier sales, generate ideas for strategic partnerships, could inspire the company’s next innovation, and help you work more efficiently with clients and service providers.

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress.
Working together is success.”

-Sir Henry Ford

What does your company do? Why do your customers pay your team money, and what do they receive in exchange? How does technology facilitate the exchange? Knowing the answers to these questions, and sharing a unified answer across your team, increases motivation and provides further opportunity for motivation.

“Motivation comes from working on things we care about.
It also comes from working with people we care about.”

-Sheryl Sandberg

Seek out the common traits – and the differences – that you and your teammates possess. Maybe you’ve worked together on projects often, or perhaps somehow your paths just don’t cross at work. Maybe you’re always eating Pringles at the same time that your coworker is raiding the Oreos. Team building means that you check in with each other, and learn these things!

The best way to know your company is to know the people that make the magic of your company happen.

 “The ratio of We’s to I’s is the best indicator of the development of a team.”

-Lewis B. Ergen

Learn a thing or 3 from this team building post? View more of my writing here.

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