Connections: Focusing on What Matters

Ben Parkison
Ben Parkison
August 11, 2022
Connections: Focusing on What Matters

At Trelliswork we’ve focused a ton of time on the idea of connections. (In fact, it's one of our principles.) So to start, let’s talk about what that idea even means.

A connection is ALL of the context, alignment, agreement, decision making, and history between two people working together. It’s the critical stuff that happens on teams to drive clarity and advance common goals.

When we think about connections this way two things become very clear. First, connections are the foundation on which healthy, high functioning teams are built. Second, for most companies, connections are massively underserved.

That’s not to say that we have some lack of workplace collaboration tools, but these tools are built for specific work functions, not for people.

I collaborate on code using Github. I manage project tasks using Asana. I communicate using Slack. But what about the work of driving purpose, alignment, and agreement between people and teams? Some of this is ad hoc, coming and going in meetings, chats over coffee, and whiteboard sessions. Much of it falls through the cracks and we struggle to recall it when it’s needed. ALL OF IT makes up the effort happening between people, every day, that moves a team forward.

When these connections are nurtured it takes a team from surviving to thriving

Imagine an engineer and her manager. Between them they will have structured and formal interactions like goal setting and performance reviews. Together they will navigate changes to teams, strategies, and company objectives. They will discuss long term career aspirations over coffee. They will communicate across dozens of different mediums. And all of this actually touches on work happening every day that goes beyond just their connection. Because in practice, all of this will have ties to deliverables, dependencies, and relationships she has with other teammates as well.

All of this and more lives within our concept of a connection. And yet today, the best we have to capture the complexity that lives across these surfaces is a piece of scratch paper, a notebook, post-its, or the random word doc. While these connections are the canvas that all work is happening, no tool exists today to serve them, and to help them grow and flourish.

When a company is small, this coordination between people and teams can seem to come naturally. When you’re a small team, concepts like alignment, updates, or team culture are easier. After all, you’re working together every day.

But as companies grow, those same fundamentals become more daunting. A growing company must continue to strike this balance of continuous alignment and understanding, but must also begin to do so in a decentralized way. New leaders must be empowered, and teams but be given the tools and agency to create their own cultures and routines to flourish.

All of this happens via connections. When these connections are nurtured it takes a team from surviving to thriving, and it allows small companies to bring their startup energy, creativity, and pace with them as they grow.

We don’t just believe this stuff matters, we see this as the fundamental starting point for incredible things. By treating connections between people as the first order concept in everything that Trelliswork does, we’re laying the foundation for how to build strong, successful teams. This is the magic for us, and we’re excited to make it real for others.

Ready to level up your manager game?

Try now with your next team meeting

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