Our CEO, Anne de Kerckhove, shares her thoughts on growing a business with multiple teams in different countries and striking a balance despite geographical distance.
Managing teams remotely across borders
This is an exciting time for team building. Thanks to the accessibility provided by modern technology, we as a global community feel closer than ever. In business, communication with multiple teams across borders is commonplace and has changed the way we share ideas. While the management of cross-cultural teams comes with its challenges, keeping our core values consistent across all continents maintains unity and a common sense of purpose.
Beyond this, it’s important to remember that every office has its own culture and way of operating and these differences should be embraced and celebrated.
One way to bring it all together across locations is weekly touchpoints, on top of all the emails, Slack channels and other virtual tools. At Freespee we hold weekly video conference calls called “All Hands” where each European office dials in and share their achievements, successes and plans for the future and have a good laugh.
A love for travel and openness to movement is also essential to managing outside of email and chat. Team-facing meetings are great for morale and at times key decisions are better made and understood 1:1. We meet in person often and that will never be compromised.
Gender and background diversity has been a major driving force throughout my career to date and I hope to continue to actively encourage women to join boards, and help both men and women from all backgrounds to develop the skills needed to succeed in fair and equal environments.
As a leader in tech, I believe that to make things change, you must start from within and lead by example. Only then can you really make an impact.
Maintaining a north star
Enterprises like ours are made of moving parts. In the technology ecosystem, development is lightning fast and ideas are constantly exchanged and implemented. Maintaining a north star amid this change is how we keep our feet on the ground.
The north star metric, first established in Silicon Valley, is essential to our long-term growth and is arguably the single most important aspect of any business’ growth model. For Freespee, our north star is “powering great conversations.”
Every aspect of what we do is in reverence to this common goal. How do we make every moment of a conversation valuable for both brand and consumer? This focus on value is what drives the creation of new features, the rejuvenation of our product and the care for our clients, both present and future.
Creating connection cross borders
When making deals internationally, I’m well aware that not all strategies translate. Creating connections with clients across borders boils down to adaptation and an empathy for pain points. If you’re serving international clientele, make sure your team reflects this diversity, translate your website and get to know the culture of business in every region you cater to.