American Lean True North

Tips to Improve Culture, Connection and Camaraderie

Since the COVID19 pandemic, many employees have been asked to work from home.  How can you build connections with people that you can’t walk up to and start a conversation?  Here are tips to improve culture, connection, and camaraderie.


1.  Develop a True North Management System

Your True North Management system acts as a manifesto for the organization.  It acts as a rallying cry, a set of rules that everyone abides by.  Often, it provides the reason many employees are there.

It includes your Mission and Vision, but it is more than that.  It provides a framework when the company is decision-making.  Decisions made from the leadership group should reflect the True North Management System.

2.  Choose wisely

When selecting team members to join your team, share your Management System, and try to understand if they will be an excellent fit.  If the Management System resonates with them, their actions will support it.

That support is reflected in the culture.  When everyone is aligned with the management system your culture will take care of itself.  These are just two tips to improve culture of the many that exist.


1.  Develop communities outside of natural workgroups

Now that you have your True North for the organization and you have some team members, it’s time to develop your community.  Companies form natural workgroups based upon job function.  I believe it makes sense to develop connections and communities outside of the natural workgroups.

Brainstorm ways you can provide different communities in your company.  Can you start a new-hire community?  Can you have a new mother/father community?  A Peloton bike rider community?  A Cooking/recipe community?

The opportunities are endless for your organization to offer communities for employees to explore.

2.  Design the experience

Put yourself in the shoes of someone that would join a community.  What do you think they would like to see?  How are they treated?  Do they feel welcomed?  How much freedom do they have?  Is it guided?  Where will it be hosted?  A great brand-new community hosting service is called Circle.


1.  Have a weekly retrospective

One way to increase camaraderie is to have a weekly retrospective.  This is taken from Agile.  At the end of each software development sprint, they have a retrospective to understand what went well and how they can improve.

Do the same thing with your team each week.  On Friday’s have a retrospective.  Ask your team members, probably via Zoom, what their biggest wins were for the week.  Congratulate everyone.

Then ask what their biggest struggles were for the week.  Have a five to ten-minute discussion about how to eliminate the struggles.  This activity will help build camaraderie as team members problem solve and support their teammates.

2.  Have a show and tell

We all did this in elementary school right?  After your retrospective, let employees have a show and tell. Each person gets one minute.  They can show their pet, kids, crafts, whatever is appropriate.  Rejoice in the fact everyone gets to know their teammates better every week.

When people get to know their co-workers on a personal level, the camaraderie explodes!

As always, it’s an honor to serve you and I hope this helps you and your organization get a little bit better today.

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