Building a structured environment is key to business success even if it means separating your teams.
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We’ve been criticised for separating our various teams, not just in different offices, but in different buildings. However, we’ve seen a really positive impact on our business by giving different operations and different personality types the structures and spaces that they need to get their job done to the best of their ability.
Team separation = structured spaces
Our teams are 10kms apart. We’ve got our logistics, operations and finance teams in one building, designed and equipped to meet their needs, with sales and marketing and our research and development team in a different environment; designed and equipped to meet their needs.
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We’ve taken the view that these different teams need diverse structures much as a school does – you don’t do art in the math class, and you don’t do accounting in the physical education gym.
The more process-driven teams can remain focused on their tasks, while the creative sides of the business have got the space and environment that they need to thrive off each other in a way that will stimulate innovation and original thinking.
What we have learned through some tough lessons, however, is that the teams do need to get together from time to time – taking a break, if you will – to make sure that everyone is aligned on the Slo-Jo vision.
On occasion, we do a ‘deep dive’ on this, particularly after we asked the eight members of our executive team what everyone else did, and nobody could answer properly. We sent everyone away to research and build a full profile of their colleagues and their role, and then set aside a day for sharing these and discussing them.
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This is a particularly extreme example, but I firmly believe that just because you’re in the same building as all your colleagues doesn’t mean that you’re going to be spending quality time with them.
I’ve seen people sit next to one another and never communicate. The only way to keep a consistent culture, and to have everyone experience a sense of belonging, is to emphasise communication and relationship building – all the time.
We’ve taken the conscious decision to focus on our strategy, and let that lead our structure. With these two vital parameters in place, our teams have the guidance and the environments that they need to do their jobs to the best potential.