This week I've been preparing my talk for Industry Conf next week. I've been doing some background reading on company/team culture as I'm talking a little bit about the conditions for doing good research. I've had an interest in organisational psychology since I won a prize for an essay I wrote on the subject when I graduated from University. The factors that go into making working relationships and teams successful are really interesting. There are certainly tangible factors but I think a lot of it boils down to good old-fashioned chemistry.
When we were acquired last year, to explain what an acqui-hire was, I joked to people that Monotype had bought a rare and unique formula for the essence of Mark Boulton Design. Actually joking aside, I truly believe that the sum of us as seven individuals brought together in a team was more than any one of us could achieve elsewhere with six other people. Some of us are more well known than others but we all have unique personalities and skills. I believe it was the combination of us working together and the intangible chemistry that we achieved, that brought our success and ultimately lead to our acquisition. Since joining a larger company, things have inevitably changed as we have needed to integrate with other teams and work on new projects. But that essence is still there.
I have been working a lot with remote colleagues this last year. It's been a really interesting and sometimes challenging experience. I've written a little bit about the challenges of working in distributed, remote teams. I've found the success factors to productive working relationships in distributed teams are the same as for co-located ones. Things such as sociability, flexibility, openness, honesty, great leadership, shared goals and complimentary working styles. These things can be harder to establish when you're not in the same room and you have to work hard to build rapport with each other. Nothing beats spending time with your team - whether it be in the same room, or virtually to create that chemistry.