Creating a Culture of Connection: Strategies for Team Success


As your organization grows, it naturally becomes more challenging to get to know everyone on a personal level. When I first joined KiteTech, it was a relatively small team. Over the past decade, our company has grown considerably. I will never forget how surprised I was the first time I witnessed two members of the team (both of whom had been with the company for several months) introduce themselves to each other at a company gathering. This was the first time I remember feeling like a “big” company which got me interested in exploring ways we could preserve the feeling of closeness in a “small” company. 

If you are leading the team, it is crucial to proactively seek ways to connect with your team members. Establishing robust and consistent connections can lead to happier, more committed employees, a more reliable customer experience, and ultimately, improved team performance.

What does it mean to “connect”? 

When I refer to “connecting” with your team, think of it as a spectrum. On one side of the spectrum is forming deep friendships with everyone at your organization. You don’t need to go this far. On the other end, connecting could be as simple as sending an instant message or giving a quick phone call every once in a while, to say “Hi, how are you?”. It’s not much, but in my opinion, this is better than doing nothing at all. 

Over time, these interactions, however big or small, progress you towards the high end of the spectrum. This may include inviting someone to lunch or happy hour, or intentionally going deeper than small talk in conversations. Moving up the spectrum means you get to know your people better and they get to know you better. 

Benefits of Connecting with Your Team

Before we jump into practical ways you can start connecting better with your team, it is important to understand what benefits it can bring. Here are a few key advantages to fostering team connection:

1. Improved Team Unity and Communication

The ones most directly and immediately impacted by your efforts to connect better will be your employees. Your direct reports and other members of the team you already work with on a regular basis will likely get to know you very well, at least professionally. When people know you deeply, they get to know how you work, how you like to see things presented to you, and how you prefer to communicate; they generally have a better idea of your definition of “good work”. But the rest of the organization whom you don’t work with regularly will not have this perspective, so it is important to get exposed to others whenever possible to help build this. 

Maybe you have already met everyone at your organization because you are a part of the interview process, or because you have periodic company-wide meetings. If this is the case, they likely know who you are, but not much more than that. Their perspective might be, “Yeah, she’s the CEO, I don’t really know her and never get to talk to her, but I know she is in charge, that’s where the orders come from.” Finding other opportunities to connect better with all members of the organization can help challenge this” ivory tower” perspective. I think this can help your employees feel more comfortable with you, which means they will also be more likely to voice a concern or share their input. 

2. Higher Employee Retention

When you and your employees get to know each other and become comfortable with each other, it becomes part of the culture of the organization, something that employees come to expect. As a result, they will tend to stick around longer than employees who don’t feel connected. This low turnover is a huge benefit in many ways, but maybe best of all is that it gives your employees a better chance of connecting more deeply with each other and even further enhances the culture and environment. 

3. Improved Customer Service

Believe it or not, doing a better job connecting with your team can have a profound impact on your customers as well. 

To start, if connecting with your team has made your employees happier and more engaged, your customers who are interacting with them will probably be the first to notice. Happy people tend to be contagious; if you have employees who are answering your phones, for example, that employee may be the only rep from your company that customer works with that day or week or even longer. Your customer’s experience is now firmly and solely in the hands of that one employee, so you want to make sure to create an environment where people can answer the phones with smiles on their faces. 

Also consider prospects you want to convert to customers. Especially if your customer is considering a long-term commitment with you, they may want to know about your company’s culture. They know that happy employees typically lead to better experiences for the customer, so it is in your best interest to be able to (honestly) show off an excellent company culture with low turnover. 

4. Better Business Results

If your employees are happy, your customers will be happy, and this is a measure of success in itself. Customer satisfaction is often one of the most important key performance indicators on many teams. 

It’s great to work with people who are happy, both employees and customers, but there is something more to be considered in how connecting with your team can bring results. 

In a previous article, I discussed the importance of creating clarity on your team. The premise is essentially that your company’s vision and goals should be communicated over and over again to all members of the team, every chance you get. The moments you create in an effort to connect better with your team are also perfect opportunities to communicate clarity. In addition, if you have strong relationships with your employees, they are more likely to want to help you and the rest of the team achieve goals. 

We have also discussed how connecting with your employees can lead to lower turnover. Over time, you will build a loyal team where many team members have been with the company for many years. They will not only have strengthened their expertise in their roles, but they will have done so in the context of your company and your customer base, which potentially makes them better for your team than a seasoned veteran in the field who has never worked with your company. 

Strategies for Cultivating Team Connection

Now that we understand the impact made possible by connecting with your team, here are some specific suggestions you can put into practice to connect better with your team. 

1. Walk the Halls 

It is quite hard for your employees to get to know you, or vice versa, if you spend all day in your office and never interact with them. Walking the halls creates countless opportunities for you and your employees to connect. It is important to distinguish between walking the halls and scheduling meetings with all the individuals on your team. Hallway interactions are more organic, so typically these interactions feel much more human and less like you are just checking a box. 

With the rise of remote workers, walking the halls is obviously more difficult, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. If your organization uses an instant messaging platform, you should participate every once in a while, in the group chats. This is a great way for remote workers to stay connected when the organic interactions of the office halls are simply not possible. These group chats can seem like a waste of time, but when the alternative is a team full of people who never interact, I think they are actually tremendously valuable and can even improve productivity. 

2. Observe Department Meetings 

This one can be tricky because it can backfire easily. You want your team’s meetings to be productive on their own without you, and inviting yourself to their meetings unexpectedly can hint that you don’t trust they are spending the time wisely. If you feel the need to attend department team meetings because you think they need supervision, I suggest instead working closely with that department head to express your concerns. 

If your motives are pure and your team understands that you just want some perspective and a chance to see them in action, then your primary job is to just observe. You may find that you want to submit ideas for thought and participate in the discussion, which is fine, just be sure you don’t take over the meeting and dominate the discussion. If done right, your employees will feel like you are along for the ride as opposed to just sitting at the top looking down waiting for results. 

3. Organize Company Events 

This is one that many companies already do in some capacity, but it is an important one for a few reasons. First, it makes the statement that creating opportunities for your people to connect is enough of a priority that you are willing to spend money (maybe even close the office for the day). Company events can include holiday parties, retirement parties, summer picnics, and volunteer groups. 

I have been to many company events where we are able to interact in very different ways than we can while at work. This leads to shared experiences, inside jokes, and a more well-rounded understanding of one another. People work better together if they have connected more deeply in different ways, and company events provide exactly this opportunity. 


While none of us can add more hours to the day, we can certainly choose to be intentional about fostering connections at all levels of our organization. By making this a priority, we can cultivate a workplace where team members are happier, more comfortable, and more engaged with one another. In this positive and united environment, not only will our employees thrive, but our customers will be more satisfied, and our business will be primed for enduring success.

Picture of Daniel Gilbert

Daniel Gilbert

Chief Operating Officer
Kite Technology Group

Harnessing the Power of Your Team’s Input

In my article, “Resolutions for Leading Your Team Better in 2023,” I shared 4 resolutions that you could work on to help you excel as a leader this year. In this post, we’ll explore the second resolution in more detail: foster input from everyone.

There is a superpower that comes alive when a team combines the thoughts and talents of all its members to tackle challenges together. The key to unlocking this superpower is making sure that everyone on your team has a voice and the opportunity and comfort to share their thoughts. By fostering a culture of inclusivity and valuing every team member’s input, you not only increase the likelihood of finding the best solutions but also cultivate an environment where individuals feel valued and fulfilled. 

While this may seem straightforward, fostering company-wide input requires intentional leadership. Let’s start by dispelling common false assumptions that often prevent leadership from harnessing the full power of their team’s input. Then, we’ll explore practical ideas to empower your team and tap into their collective wisdom. 

Common False Assumptions to Soliciting Team Input

1. “I don’t have time to get input from everyone.” 

I won’t deny that asking more people for their opinion means that it will take longer. Still, I think it is worth the time it takes in most cases. There are certainly decisions that are big enough to impact every single member of the team, so the benefits of getting input from your team far outweigh the time burden it creates. 

You should also make sure your communication systems are set up to get your team’s input in the most efficient way. One simple way to maximize your team’s input while minimizing the time you spend is to have your department heads send out surveys to their teams, while your role focuses on synthesizing the information they collect. 

2. “I already have the right answer.” 

This is probably the most dangerous assumption to make when you are leading a team. You may have an excellent solution to an issue, you may even get it right on your own most of the time, but don’t let this stop you from harnessing the power of your team. By perpetually relying on yourself, you are sure to miss out on cultivating innovative solutions and creative ideas for the issues you are trying to solve. 

3. “My team doesn’t want to give input and doesn’t mind if I make decisions for them.” 

Maybe this is true, but if this is an assumption, it is most likely false. Some teams have gotten so used to not being asked for input that they stop expecting to be able to give it. As a result, it can seem like members of the team really don’t care whether their opinion is asked. Even if it is true that your team members would rather have decisions made for them without their input, I would argue that your team is not reaching its full potential. Remember, a team’s superpower is in its ability to tap into the minds of all its members. 

Tips for Getting Your Team’s Input 

1. Serve as a Facilitator 

When you are leading your team, there is obviously an obligation and assumption that you will be holding the steering wheel. But consider in discussions when you should take off your leader hat and put on your facilitator hat. You are not a subject matter expert in every area – that is why you built your team with highly capable people. You should be facilitating the discussion with your talented people, not “leading” it. This may seem like a minor difference, but facilitating gives your team the feeling that there is room for their input. 

2. Encourage Everyone to Speak Up 

It is often common for one or more members of a team to naturally speak less. Entire discussions can go by and, while they may be perfectly attentive, they may contribute little or not at all. This does not necessarily mean they have nothing to say – maybe they are just less inclined to speak up. So, ask them. Observe which team members have not given their input and encourage them to speak up. If you are worried that you may make someone uncomfortable, be intentional about talking to them separately after the meeting. The key is being intentional, because if you don’t call it out during the discussion, it is easy to forget. 

3. If You Ask for Input from Others, Be Prepared to Consider It 

If you take away anything from this article, make it this point: Only ask for others’ input if you are truly open to seriously considering it. If you say you value others’ input but never do anything about it, your team will quickly find it insincere and stop sharing it with you. There will obviously be times when you choose not to take an opinion, and you won’t be able to make everyone happy all the time. Your team needs to understand they won’t always get their way, but if it seems to them like they are wasting their breath, it won’t be long before they just stop speaking up. 


One of the greatest privileges within any team is to have a voice that matters. When team members feel that their individual input is valued, they are more likely to feel more fulfilled and a sense of empowerment in their role. As a result, their creativity and energy soar, positively impacting not only their work but the client experience as well. As a leader, it is vital to foster a culture where every voice matters. In return, you will unlock the true potential of your team’s collaborative superpower to achieve extraordinary things together.

Picture of Daniel Gilbert

Daniel Gilbert

Chief Operating Officer
Kite Technology Group

Cultivating Team Clarity for Greater Success

In my recent article, “Resolutions for Leading Your Team Better in 2023,” I shared 4 resolutions that you could work on to help you excel as a leader this year. In this post, we’ll explore the first goal in detail: Focus on Team Clarity.

As a leader, you have a vision for your team, which includes what you want to achieve, where you want to be, and the path to get there. Strong leadership involves translating this vision into clear guidance for your team. By doing so, you boost your team’s chances of success, making it crucial for you to reflect on your role in fostering team clarity.

Understanding team clarity and why it’s important

Creating clarity provides your team members a playbook to follow to help them work cohesively, focus better, and ultimately provide a consistently positive experience for them and your customers. A simple way to define clarity in team leadership is in the context of a foundation consisting of four primary areas: Purpose, Values, Goals, and Roles.


Why are you in business in the first place? Is it to help people? If so, how, and what group of people? Whatever your reason, your team needs to understand clearly. When you define your purpose, you attract others who care about the same purpose and give their best to help achieve it.


What is important to you, and what should be important to the members of your team? How should your team behave? Defining values should drive your hiring and performance review process, but they also serve to remind team members how to act when they are faced with making decisions.


What (specifically) is the team trying to accomplish this year? How about this quarter, month, week or day? What about 3, 5, or 10 years from now? Your long-term goals should be well defined so that your team can zoom in and define their priorities for the short term.

Otherwise, your team will react to the demands that are in front of them, and in a year may find that they haven’t gotten anywhere, or at least haven’t gotten where they intended.


Roles fit into the team goals by defining how each person on the team should contribute to the whole. We all have job descriptions and understand our jobs, but don’t underestimate the benefit of being diligent, even obsessive, about strengthening role clarity for your team. You want your team members to stay in their lanes so that they don’t step on each others’ toes and they give 100% of their focus to their piece of the whole.

Strategies for improving team clarity

If anything you have read thus far has made you think, “Gee, I guess I could do a better job with this,” start there. Building the foundation (purpose, values, goals, roles) takes some time, but it is well worth the investment of time. If you read this far and thought, “We haven’t written this stuff down because our team members just know – it’s in our heads,” I would challenge you to go through the exercise and write it down anyway (it should be easy if you already know it). Putting it in writing will make sure that everyone is looking at exactly the same playbook, and also enables you to quickly tell the public what is important to your company.

If you already have a strong foundation, here are some tips to help you get even better.

Keep it Simple

Simply stated, keep it simple. Your team foundation should be concise and specific. Every member of your team should be able to memorize all four parts and should be able to recite them on command. You may say, “Well, it’s already pretty simple, my people just have bad memories,” I think you can probably make it even simpler.

Build Frameworks

If your team can memorize the four foundational areas, they will have a guiding light to tell them why they are working and how they should behave and make decisions. You may find it helpful to create frameworks to help your team memorize it, like abbreviations, visualizations, or analogies. For example, KiteTech’s Values are: (1) Relentlessly Solve Problems, (2) Embrace Teamwork, (3) Deliver Extraordinary Client Service, (4) Project Positivity, (5) Always Ask “Why?”, (6) Think Like an Owner, and (7) Honor Commitments. These values have been defined and unchanged for years, but they have been put in a very deliberate order because it creates and acronym that spells “RED PATH”. We say, “At KiteTech, we follow the RED PATH”, and it helps our team tremendously to be able to memorize and name our core values.

Use Multiple Forms of Communication

Your foundation should be well-defined and consistent, but that doesn’t mean you can’t communicate it in various ways. Different people receive communication best in different ways; some people need to read something in order for it to sink in, while others need to see visuals. Some people live and breathe out of their email inbox, while others pay better attention to instant messaging. You should also communicate it verbally so that it becomes a common part of the team dialogue and banter.

Overdo It

There is no such thing as too much clarity for your team. You should take every opportunity you can find to communicate your team’s four foundational areas, in many different ways. A good way to gauge whether you are communicating enough is to ask your team members to do their best impression of you. Seriously, try it. If you have well at communicating team clarity, they should be able to quote you without thinking (they have memorized your foundation – isn’t that what you want?).

It may be a good idea to start all of your regular team meetings by doing a quick review of your foundation. (To be clear, I am suggesting reading and stating it, NOT making changes to it. In fact, this should virtually never change, except in the context of setting new goals to keep your team moving forward).

Ask Team Members to Explain Each Other’s Goals

I stated before that your team roles should be defined well enough that every members stays in their lane. However, it is still important for team members to be familiar with each other’s goals to help them really understand the big picture. It also is a good test of how well you have created clarity for your team. Ask one of your department heads to explain one of your other department’s goals. If they can do it (accurately), that is a sign of good team clarity. Now ask one of your other department heads to explain it. Did they explain it accurately, and in the same words? Not only does this strengthen your team clarity, but it can also strengthen the relationships between the members of your team by exposing them to each other’s world of work.


On a successful team, the power of the team is greater than the sum of its parts. Yes, a huge part of building a successful team is finding capable team members who are good at what they do. But a talented team cannot reach its full potential if they don’t have team clarity and a common vision. 

As a leader, it is essential that you effectively communicate this clarity and ensure that everyone is aligned with the team’s objectives. By doing so, you’ll create an environment where each team member feels motivated to give their best and you’ll pave the way for your team’s ongoing success.

Picture of Daniel Gilbert

Daniel Gilbert

Chief Operating Officer
Kite Technology Group

Enhance Document Collaboration with Microsoft’s Share and Comments Features

Need to quickly share a spreadsheet with a colleague? Did you notice a typo in that important document about to be shared with clients? How about sending that PowerPoint directly to everyone in the meeting so they can follow along with you? Today, we will be looking at Microsoft’s Share and Comments features that are present in their 365 apps like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. These features allow you to quickly and easily collaborate with others in your organization.

Sharing Files with the ‘Share’ Feature.

On the top right of any Microsoft application you open, you will be able to see a button that says ‘Share’. By learning how to utilize this feature you can quickly give others in your organization access to important files. Clicking the button brings up the Share menu.

send link

You will be able to email an access link directly to a colleague and accompany it with a message or create a link that you can share in your organization via Teams or any other messaging software.
By clicking on the globe icon directly above the ‘Message’ field, you will be given several options for sharing:

  1. You can select who you would like to share the file with:
    1. ‘Anyone with the link’ will generate a shareable link with you that you can share with anyone who has the same Microsoft application. This may be useful for quickly sharing information with clients or others outside of your organization. You can also set an access password for added security. Please Note: this will be a temporary link; it will expire after a set amount of time determined by your organization. You can modify this timeframe by clicking the calendar icon (3).
    2. ‘People in Organization with the link’ will generate a link specifically for others in your organization. This link will never expire.
    3. ‘People with existing access’ will generate a link for those who you are already sharing the file with. This is useful if someone loses the original link or forgets how to access the file.
    4. Finally, ‘Specific people’ will share the file only with the people specified. They must have the email that you set to be able to access the file. This is useful if you have a confidential file that only certain members of your organization should have access to.
  2. The ‘Allow editing’ and ‘Open in review mode only’ options allow you to determine if the other members that you share the file with should be able to make changes. ‘Open in review mode only’ will only let them open the file in review mode where they can make comments and suggestions, but never changes. ‘Allow editing’ determines whether the member can make changes to the file.
  3. Finally, the ‘Block download’ button will prevent others from downloading a copy of the file for their personal use.
    Another helpful feature of sharing is the ‘Comment’ and ‘Review’ functions. These allow you to quickly interact and collaborate with others on your file.

Review Feature

The ‘Review’ function allows you to quickly and easily suggest changes or edits to others. Once someone else makes a suggestion on your document, the suggested change will show up to you in red. 

From here, you can click on the red text to either accept or deny the change.

If you choose to share the file in review mode only, this will be the only option collaborators have to make or suggest changes.

Comment Feature

Making a comment on a file is just as easy; simply highlight the portion that you wish to make a comment on and click ‘New Comment’.

This will allow you to type out a comment that other collaborators on the file or document will be able to see.

Once a comment is posted, it will always show up in the comments field and there will be a symbol where the comment is placed. 

You can also mention specific people in your comment using the @ sign or reply directly to comments made. You can even give the comment a thumbs up if you would like!


Microsoft’s 365 applications’ Share and Comments features are a great way to quickly and easily collaborate with others in and outside of your organization. If you are a KiteTech client and require any help with these features, or have further questions about sharing options, don’t hesitate to contact our Help Desk for further assistance. 

If you are curious about Kite Technology and want more information on our Managed IT and Consulting Services, please contact us to schedule a conversation. We’d love the opportunity to learn more about your organization and see how we can help!

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Jordan Mabe

Finance and Procurement Manager
Kite Technology Group

adam atwell

Adam Atwell

Cloud solutions architect

Adam is passionate about consulting with organizations across the country to help them develop and execute a cloud adoption strategy that meets their business needs and future objectives. Adam oversees and manages our company strategy for Microsoft 365 adoption and is responsible for future growth and development inside Microsoft 365 and other cloud technologies.