For over half a year, our team has started every all-hands meeting with a segment called “Inside Scoop.” Each week a different team member shows photos about anything they want for 5 minutes. This simple exercise has been a powerful way to get to know different sides of people on the team.
We got the idea from The Tim Ferriss Show with Vivek Murthy, former (and perhaps future?) US Surgeon General:
“[…] This inside scoop exercise that we instituted was actually very simple. It was five minutes in our weekly all-staff meeting where we picked one individual and we asked them to show us pictures for those five minutes. Pictures of anything they wanted except it couldn’t be connected to the work that they were doing right now to their current job. Some people showed examples of careers they had before, others showed pictures of their families. People picked what they wanted.
“I’ll tell you [..] that five minutes of sharing built relationships that we had not built over the past year. And within a few weeks we started to see people stepping out of their lanes and helping each other. We started to see people who had previously been quiet in meetings start to raise their hand and participate because they felt that they were seen and that they were appreciated for who they were. That was a very powerful moment for us. So workplaces that can create opportunities like this, semi-structured opportunities for people to share more about who they are, that is very powerful.”
It can be challenging to build a tight-knit team remotely. Traditional activities for building rapport don’t translate well to Zoom. Virtual happy hours quickly get unwieldy with larger groups. “Inside Scoop” – these 5 minutes of photos – is one of those rare activities that is equally fulfilling whether in person or remotely.
During the past couple of months of “Inside Scoop,” the team has shared a variety of fascinating stories, including photos of:
- Solo hiking the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada
- Hand-building their house from scratch over the past 3 years
- Going on a research expedition in Antarctica
- Their kids
- Their high school rock band
- Their quarantine adventures of incubating and hatching chickens
- Diving with sharks
- Building and launching an environmental monitoring balloon
- Their woodworking projects
- Going dog sledding in the Arctic Circle
- Running a half marathon in India
- And much more
“Inside Scoop” is a way to not only get to know people’s past but also stay up to date with their latest projects, vacations, and adventures. I highly encourage everyone to try this simple but powerful exercise with your team.
And when you do, let me know how it goes!