Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Unleashing the Power of Connection: Justin Nassiri’s Insights on Remote Collaboration and Team Engagement

Leaders Perception Magazine is currently running an interview series called – Building a Successful Remote Work Culture: Discussing strategies and best practices for fostering a productive and engaged remote workforce, addressing topics like communication, collaboration tools, work-life balance, and employee well-being

Interviewee Name: Justin Nassiri

Company: Executive Presence

Position: CEO

Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/justinnassiri/

Justin Nassiri’s favorite quote: “ T.S. Eliot: For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

Discover the secrets to building a thriving remote team and fostering a strong sense of connection with Justin Nassiri, CEO of Executive Presence. With a remarkable background that includes serving as a nuclear submarine officer in the US Navy and successfully founding and selling two companies, Justin brings a wealth of experience to the table. In this exclusive interview, Justin shares invaluable tips on remote collaboration, team engagement, and establishing clear expectations to create a harmonious work environment. Join us as we delve into the world of Justin Nassiri, exploring the innovative strategies that have propelled Executive Presence to new heights in the realm of virtual teamwork.

The Interview

Thank you so much for joining us today! Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your backstory?

Justin Nassiri : I started out in the US Navy as an officer onboard nuclear submarines. I loved the management aspect of my job, but not so much the months in the middle of the ocean. So I went to business school at Stanford, where I learned about entrepreneurship. Since then, I’ve built and sold two companies. Executive Presence is my third venture.

How do you ensure effective communication and collaboration among remote team members? Can you share any specific tools or practices that have been particularly effective for your organization?

Justin Nassiri : Here are some tips I would share:
Require vacation unplugs: we have a cultural expectation that when you are on vacation, you are on vacation. This requires (a) a process to ensure that work is efficiently trasnferred across the team. Without this, an employee returns from one week of vacation to have to do two weeks of work to catch up. (b) it also requires normalizing a complete unplug: no email, no slack, nothing related to work. This is absolutely essential to keep your team refreshed.
In-Person gatherings 2x per year: our company is 15 months old, and we are just about to do our first in-person gathering. We’ll all fly into San Francisco for a day of being together, hanging out in person and having fun. We’ll be doing this twice per year going forward. These in-person interactions are necessary to build relationships
Start of week meetings: we start each week with a 15-minute meeting. We do a red/yellow/green check in – how are you doing today, what was the highlight of your weekend. We then have space for announcements or where people need help. This helps us get to know each other on a personal level, and also gets our heads in the game for the week ahead.
Informal zoom meetings at least bi-weekly: At least every other week, we do an hour team get together that is 100% fun. We give out either a Starbucks giftcard for coffee, or we reimburse people for their beverage of choice for a happy hour. Someone organizes common questions so we get to know each other more. Sometimes this is collecting answers in advance and having people guess what answer goes with what person. Sometimes, it is throwing out a question (eg. “what sport did you most enjoy growing up”) and going around to have everyone answer.
Slack: Slack is great for informal communication. We try to normalize hopping on a quick call or zoom to clarify if necessary.
Clear expectations: We have a short internal document to clarify expectations. Such as: internal meetings, feel free to eat, drink, and show up as casual as you’d like (gym clothes welcome). Client meetings: professional attire, with guidance on what that is. When meetings are scheduled and how far in advance. All of this is intended to avoid the sense of “I always need to be online.”
Monthly scorecard review: We do monthly “scorecard reviews” between employees and their manager. The intention is to provide regular, direct and candid feedback so employees know where they stand.

Maintaining work-life balance can be challenging in a remote work environment. What strategies do you recommend for remote employees to create boundaries between work and personal life? How can organizations support their employees in achieving a healthy work-life balance?

Justin Nassiri : Here are some tips I would share:
Require vacation unplugs: we have a cultural expectation that when you are on vacation, you are on vacation. This requires (a) a process to ensure that work is efficiently trasnferred across the team. Without this, an employee returns from one week of vacation to have to do two weeks of work to catch up. (b) it also requires normalizing a complete unplug: no email, no slack, nothing related to work. This is absolutely essential to keep your team refreshed.
Start of week meetings: we start each week with a 15-minute meeting. We do a red/yellow/green check in – how are you feeling right now? Anything you want to share about this? This has helped us all realize that sometime we show up in the red and it has nothing to do with the company… they didn’t sleep well, they have family visiting, etc. We want to know where we stand and be ok with that.
Informal zoom meetings at least bi-weekly: At least every other week, we do an hour team get together that is 100% fun. We give out either a Starbucks giftcard for coffee, or we reimburse people for their beverage of choice for a happy hour. Someone organizes common questions so we get to know each other more. Sometimes this is collecting answers in advance and having people guess what answer goes with what person. Sometimes, it is throwing out a question (eg. “what sport did you most enjoy growing up”) and going around to have everyone answer.
Clear expectations: We have a short internal document to clarify expectations. Such as: internal meetings, feel free to eat, drink, and show up as casual as you’d like (gym clothes welcome). Client meetings: professional attire, with guidance on what that is. When meetings are scheduled and how far in advance. All of this is intended to avoid the sense of “I always need to be online.”

Leaders Perception Magazine would like to thank Justin Nassiri and Executive Presence for the time dedicated to completing this interview and sharing their valuable insights with our readers!

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