Every global company with distributed teams (including us at Seequent) has plenty of remote tools for working together. There's video conferencing, chat tools, content sharing feeds, collaborative documents. But even with all these options, everyone agrees that there's nothing as effective as being in the same place together.
In February this year, we enjoyed two big opportunities.
In the week leading up to our annual Awards Gala, a number of staff from different offices came to Christchurch to connect with their teams. For the senior leadership, this was the once-a-year opportunity to have in-depth, in-person conversations about strategy, analyse performance data, discuss opportunities and connect the global regional offices together.
Global team connections are fantastic, and quite often, the most productive conversations happen in between the big discussions. Casual discussions in the hallway, at the communal lunch table or in proximity to the coffee machines can inspire new ideas, remove obstacles, and cement working relationships. These are the off-script moments that define teams and ensure genuine care exists long after the meeting agenda checklist is complete.
In one instance, Seequent's lead Architect from Calgary met with a Christchurch researcher for an afternoon of brainstorming. Their time at the whiteboard resulted in the creation of an app and clear proof of concept for critical future work. The potency of these conversations cannot be overstated. As one team member puts it, "Working face to face is imperative. Many decisions and insights happen as you walk away from a meeting or are outside on a walk. These aren't possible when you hang up on Slack."
Awards Night Gala
While a lot of energy was spent during collaboration week, everybody saved some for the big Friday night Awards Gala event. A company tradition since 2016, the Awards Gala is about acknowledging the efforts of our global teams and the outstanding contributions of individuals who regularly excel at what they do. Each year is a different theme – this year it was disco glam Studio 54 hosted at the Christchurch Art Gallery. The atmosphere was energetic and vibrant, with a touch of 70's absurd.
But the real heroes of night (apart from the disco balls and dancefloor) were the people we were there to celebrate. Their contributions to the success of our business, their efforts to meet our customer's needs, and their dedication and care for what we do, was truly inspiring.
We celebrated them in truly glamorous style.
Overall Values Award winner – Tiegoum Traore
Tiegoum is a walking success story for Seequent. He works largely on his own from a home office in Mali and takes on many roles as a solo project geologist/trainer/salesperson/support contact in the region. He maintains relationships across borders with key clients. A family man, Tiegoum is supported to support us and we thank him (and his family) for the quality efforts that are being rewarded this year. Tiegoum's well-deserved nomination was primarily for a series of incidents that saw him go above and beyond the call of duty to take care of clients in distress. He almost never says no to the things we ask of him, but he probably should sometimes.
Team Awards (joint winners)
North American Technical Services team
Leapfrog Geothermal "potato pod" development team
Values awards – Pat McLarin, Jo Knight, Toni Stenhouse, Sarah Daly, Franklin Koch, Yuxi Wang
Mentor award – Iain McLean
Most popular podcast – Leigh Burgess
Most popular value story – Lorraine Tam