Our team workshop in Berlin: Strengthening team communication and collaboration
The Mailbutler team workshop improved our communication, collaboration, and understanding of one another. Check it out here.
After his studies in industrial engineering at RWTH Aachen University, Tobias co-founded Mailbutler GmbH together with Fabian in 2015. In his free time, he spends most of his time in the garden and with his son Timo.
At Mailbutler, we believe that effective communication and collaboration are the keys to a successful and thriving team. With our diverse team spread across many different countries, remote work has become the norm for us. In order to improve our team dynamics and foster a stronger sense of unity, we recently organized a two-day workshop led by an external coach, which took place at our headquarters in Berlin.
Seeing beyond the screen
Since team members hail from different countries and work from various locations, the majority of our interactions have been through video calls and virtual meetings. This setup has allowed us to collaborate effectively but also means many of us have never met our colleagues in person.
During the team workshop, we had the opportunity to bridge that gap and meet face-to-face. After months or even years of seeing each other only through the light of a laptop screen, finally meeting in person was a moment filled with excitement and curiosity.
Seeing a familiar face but in three dimensions, with a body beneath the face, brought a whole new level to our interactions. The casual conversations, spontaneous laughter, and subtle nonverbal cues that can be easily missed in video calls became apparent. We discovered that there was so much more to each person than what we saw on our screens.
Improving communication and connection
The primary objective of the workshop was to improve overall communication within and across the teams, with a particular focus on enhancing collaboration between the Marketing and Sales and Product Development teams.
To kick off the workshop, we started with engaging icebreaker sessions. These activities aimed to create a relaxed and open atmosphere, allowing team members to break down barriers, get to know each other better, and foster a sense of camaraderie. These initial interactions prepared us for the more concrete, solution-focused exercises that were to come.
The first session involved each team member drawing a picture of Mailbutler. This exercise encouraged everyone to reflect on their perception of the company and the team as a whole. By sharing these drawings and discussing the emotions they evoked, we gained valuable insights into the collective understanding of our team.
The importance of core values
Core values serve as guiding principles that define a company's culture, behavior, and decision-making processes. During the workshop, we took the time to review and reaffirm our core values. By doing so, we reminded ourselves of what we stand for and how these values shape our work.
To further explore the significance of our core values, we divided into small groups and discussed what each value meant to us personally. It was a platform from which everyone could share their perspectives and insights; this reinforced our common understanding of our core values and their practical applications in our daily work. It deepened our collective commitment to living by these values.
Walking the walk and talking the talk
The next activity of the workshop was the "Walk the walk and talk the talk" session. Small groups of three team members embarked on a 40-minute walk and tried to find answers to a few questions set by our external coach. The purpose of this exercise was to identify and define the key priorities and focus areas for our company. Each group then presented its core items, and through discussion, we categorized them into four groups representing the most important topics which needed further action.
On the second day, we addressed these four priority areas and formulated action items. This dedicated time allowed us to delve deeper into these topics, brainstorm innovative solutions, and establish concrete steps for implementation. The workshop's interactive nature fostered engagement and ensured that all team members had a voice in shaping the future of our collaboration.
The personal connections forged during this time will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on our ability to communicate and collaborate effectively, even when working remotely. The simple act of sharing a meal, engaging in small talk, and collaborating on activities during the workshop created a sense of camaraderie that we can now more easily replicate in our day-to-day, virtual environment.
As we continue to work together remotely, knowing the person behind the screen more intimately adds a new depth to our interactions. We can now visualize our colleagues as more than just a face and voice on a video call. This fosters empathy, understanding, and a stronger team spirit, as we strive to support and uplift each other, even from a distance.
The Mailbutler team workshop improved our communication, collaboration, and understanding of one another. The workshop not only provided valuable insights into each other's perspectives but also created a shared sense of purpose and direction for the entire team. As we move forward, we're confident that the positive outcomes of this workshop will contribute to our continued success as a unified and high-performing team.
… and of course, there were beers in the evening.
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