Do a Daily Standup — Holding a 5 minute daily “standup” meeting where each team member quickly states what they are working on that day along with any blockers or needs they have, keeps team members up to date and on the same page. This also cuts down on potential unnecessary internal communication or confusion on who’s doing what.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Darrin Murriner. Darrin Murriner is the cofounder and CEO of Cloverleaf.me and the author of Corporate Bravery. Cloverleaf.me is the third successful startup that Darrin has cofounded. Prior to entrepreneurship, Darrin had 15 years of corporate experience in various Finance, Audit and Operational roles at large international organizations such as Arthur Andersen, Fifth Third Bank and The Munich Re Group.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
Throughout all my business experience I have been a part of high performing and low performing teams and I have had a chance to observe many of these same teams and I was always curious about the various factors that led to this performance. In fact, when I meet with groups I often ask people about their team experiences and they can usually point to a single team experience that was powerful. The problem is that it is often just one team experience that was powerful. We started to form the basis of our current Cloverleaf platform during my last role as Chief Administrative Officer of a video marketing agency. At this company all work in the company was done in cross-functional project teams that worked with each other for 10 weeks. We had 30–40 projects running concurrently and we got a front row seat watching the mix of ingredients that led to high impact teams.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
Perhaps one of the funniest things that happens is a regular occurrence. Because my cofounder is of the opposite sex, people often mistake us as a married couple. We are comfortable laughing it off as being work spouses only but it often leaves others in a very uncomfortable place.
How do you synchronize large teams to effectively work together?
Even the largest organizations are just a collection of small teams. Agile methodology concepts would suggest that the optimal team size is 7 and in life groups of people naturally sub-divide when they get to 20 people. A more relevant question might be how to keep all these disparate teams moving towards a common objective and with a consistent culture.
What is the top challenge when managing global teams in different geographical locations? Can you give an example or story?
Remote teams definitely have a unique set of challenges. Many of our clients are challenged by leading teams that are often remote, across multiple time zones, languages and cultures. It is often difficult to create a cohesive culture and build relationships in these types of environments. Oftentimes it is the small interactions in the same physical space that builds relationships and give space for people to know each other at a more intimate level. Eating lunch together or driving in the same car to a client meeting helps you understand each other in ways that a conference call with purpose can never afford. The biggest thing is being intentional about creating opportunities for team members in this situation to learn about each other. For example, one of our clients’ teams would post on Slack if they were driving in the car between appointments and offer a conversation during that time.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
The biggest thing is being intentional. You have to make your people a priority with your time. Create regular conversations with your entire team to make sure they feel cared for, heard and demonstrate action or at least explain why no action was taken.
Most times when people quit their jobs they actually “quit their managers”. What are your thoughts on retaining talent today?
You are exactly right. When you look at the primary causes of disengagement in the Gallup workplace survey at least 3 of the top 10 reasons come back to employees’ manager. 5 of the top 10 come back to relationships in general. Managers, clearly play an important role but other factors rate too. As an example, a recent study that we conducted at Cloverleaf, and that we will be publishing soon, looked at the biggest priorities for employees and the top issues that surfaced were regarding setting a clear vision and understanding their role in achieving that vision.
Based on your personal experience, what are the “5 Things You Need To Know To Successfully Manage a Team”. (Please share a story or example for each, Ideally an example from your experience)
I’ve found that in each stage of team development (based on Tuckman’s Model), there are small things you can do to greatly enhance the success of the team. I have written about multiple ideas for each stage here, but in short, I would recommend these five techniques:
1. Prioritize Kick-Off Meetings: Well run kick-off meetings are critical for team success. This includes both at the beginning of a project with the initial team as well as when new members are added. The focus should be on a clear communication of goals and measurable definition of how each member contributes towards those goals.
2.Coaching is a Necessity — High performance teams have a coach that has the respect of all team members and is able to mediate disagreements or offer an independent perspective and advice for moving forward. The coach isn’t necessarily the team leader but often is.
3.Use Management Tools– Provide access to psychometric tools such as those offered by Cloverleaf (examples include Myers Briggs or DISC) that give team members the framework to think about differences in work styles and leads to an appreciate of each other and related contributions.
4.Do a Daily Standup — Holding a 5 minute daily “standup” meeting where each team member quickly states what they are working on that day along with any blockers or needs they have, keeps team members up to date and on the same page. This also cuts down on potential unnecessary internal communication or confusion on who’s doing what.
5.Create Rhythm — Keeping a consistent rhythm week to week provides team members with the framework of a schedule for them to work within. For example, specified work from home days, meeting times and team lunches keeps the guesswork out of scheduling, and creates consistency and productivity for the team.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
This may seem like a cop-out but I believe what we are pursuing at Cloverleaf has the potential to bring the most good. 60% of our waking time as adults are spent at work and with 2/3 disengaged this has far reaching implications. I also look at our communication failures as a society (political discourse, mistrust of different cultures, racism), education is a part of this but we also think our platform can help provide understanding and empathy. As an example, one of our clients services large commercial farms and Cloverleaf has served as a conduit for migrant farmers from Mexico to better understand and communicate with farm owners and managers.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” by C. S. Lewis. I believe that any situation or relationship can be redeemed and that we each have the power to change our direction. Everyday in work and in life I get opportunities to try a different course to achieve a better outcome and I love that I get that opportunity.