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Connecting Remote Teams by their Purpose: A Journey to New Ways of Working

An article by Fernanda Ortega

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

In today's rapidly evolving work environment, the concept of remote work has become increasingly prevalent. As companies expand their global reach, teams often find themselves scattered across various continents, cultures, and time zones.

This new dynamic has created a demand for innovative approaches to keep remote teams connected, engaged, and aligned with a shared purpose. This is the story of a remote team that embarked on a journey to explore new ways of working and connect their purpose, uniting members from the USA, Europe, and Asia, and the transformational workshop that brought them together.

The Challenge of Remote Teams

The team in question had faced the challenges inherent in remote work: communication barriers, time zone differences, cultural misunderstandings, and a sense of disconnection from the company's overarching vision and purpose. To address these issues, they decided it was time to come together in person to bridge the physical gap and explore fresh approaches to working remotely.

In an increasingly interconnected world, the question they faced was not just how to work together effectively, but how to connect on a deeper level and derive a sense of purpose that transcended geographical boundaries. They realised that their team needed a clear sense of shared purpose and a common vision to thrive in a remote work environment.

The Ikigai Assessment

To kickstart their journey towards a more meaningful and connected remote team, they decided to use the Ikigai framework. Ikigai, a Japanese concept, represents the intersection of what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. The team saw this as an ideal tool to explore individual motivations and values while aligning with the company's mission.

Before the in-person workshop, each team member undertook an Ikigai assessment to reflect on their passions, skills, societal contributions, and financial sustainability. This process allowed the team to gain insight into their personal motivations, ensuring a better understanding of themselves and their colleagues.

Sharing Individual Purpose

During the workshop, team members shared their Ikigai assessments and personal stories with their colleagues. They discussed what they were passionate about, what they excelled at, what they believed the world needed, and how they hoped to leverage their potential.

This transparent and vulnerable exchange not only fostered a sense of closeness and empathy but also illuminated the values and beliefs shared among the team members. They discovered common themes and values that resonated across the group, setting the stage for the next crucial step.

Defining a Group Vision

The outcome of the workshop was profound. By sharing their individual purposes and values, the team members discovered a collective sense of purpose that transcended their geographical separation. They realised they were all driven by a common desire to make a positive impact on the world through their work.

This shared purpose formed the basis for defining a group vision. The team outlined a clear and inspiring vision statement that encapsulated their collective goal, emphasising how their diverse talents and backgrounds could contribute to this shared mission.

Operating Principles for High Performance

In addition to a shared vision, the team also defined a set of operating principles that would guide their remote work. These principles encompassed transparency, open communication, regular feedback, governance, a culture of trust, and a commitment to supporting each other's individual goals and growth.

With this clear roadmap in place, the team began to implement these principles in their daily work. Regular check-ins, transparent project management, and feedback sessions became integral parts of their remote work routine.

The Transformational Impact

The remote team's journey towards connecting their purpose and redefining their ways of working yielded remarkable results. They not only strengthened their bond but also witnessed an upsurge in productivity and innovation. As a remote team spanning multiple countries, their unique blend of talents and diverse perspectives became their greatest asset.

Connecting remote teams by their purpose through the Ikigai framework and crafting a shared vision and operating principles empowered this team to transcend the challenges of remote work and thrive. They demonstrated that remote teams can be highly effective and cohesive when united by a common sense of purpose and a commitment to shared values.

In an ever-evolving global work landscape, the story of this remote team serves as an inspiring example of how to foster connection and collaboration, regardless of geographical distances. By exploring individual motivations and aligning them with a broader purpose, remote teams can find their own path to success and innovation.


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