How To Inspire A Great Company Culture…Remotely

By: Naomi Matlow

The remote work revolution took on new meaning at the start of 2020. Today, the number of us working on remote or distributed teams around the world has grown exponentially. “When will we go back to the office? Will we even go back to the office at all?” Even big tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft are in no rush to turn those halogen bulbs back on.

Unsettled has reflected on how we have built and run a fully remote team over the years by focusing on where our team members individually find meaning in their work. With universal adaptations, systemic realizations, and cultural evolutions occurring left, right, and center, along with a global paradigm shift on multiple fronts, we are provided with an opportunity, or some may say a duty, to look inward. Especially when we can’t venture as far outward as we usually do. 

Over the last two months, we had a global call within the Unsettled team to do some self-reflection (in true Unsettled style!) and explore our teams’ Enneagram types. The Enneagram is a framework of personality typing, with 9 dominant personalities. They include, from 1 through 9: the Reformer, the Helper, the Achiever, the Individualist, the Investigator, the Loyalist, the Enthusiast, and the Challenger. The Enneagram workshop was hosted by Unsettled alum, Sandhya Sudhakar of Aperture Culture

We were specifically asked in the team how our dominant personality types are reflected in how we work, our motivations, our personal development goals, and how the wider team can best help in support of them. 

We each filled out the questionnaire individually and shared our discoveries and reflections in dedicated Zoom conversations. Not only did we get to know our team on a deeper and more vulnerable level, but it served as an opportunity to think about how our own personalities are reflected and show up in our professional lives. 

Photo credit: Verywell / Jessica Olah

Unsurprisingly, our two co-founders, Michael, a self-professed “Investigator”, and Jonathan, a self-professed “Enthusiast”, are very complementary personality types that when working together make for a mighty and productive team. 

Among the many things we learned about one another is that one of Clara’s core values at work is dynamism, that the team can show Dan that he is appreciated at work by checking in with him personally every once in a while, and that Lala is most creative when she has big picture information to help her orient. We can show Megs that she is valued at work by trusting that she will get the job done and we can come to Benjamin with any clearly defined problem with a targeted goal. Corey values creativity and curiosity in the workplace and values an opportunity to share an area of expertise. For me, contributing to brainstorming sessions helps me feel appreciated.

Across all our team members, we seemed to cover all 9 dominant personality types (a few of us are somewhere in between types or combinations of two, but the Enneagram doesn’t do ‘half sizes’ ). 

The Enneagram personality framework gave us an opportunity to shake up the regular Zoom call stand up meetings, and provided insight on the best way we can work with one another and help each other meet our personal and professional goals. 

If you are looking for a Zoom shake up or a practical and inspiring team exercise, give the Enneagram a try. With as much that has changed in the last eight months in the realms of both work and life, it is also an opportunity for growth, both individually and as a collective team. As Yogi Berra famously remarked, “when you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

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