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Ep 73: Collaboration Equity for Remote and Hybrid Teams with Nigel Vanderlinden

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Nigel Vanderlinden Tara Nolan Game of Teams podcast

Introduction: Nigel Vanderlinden is the CEO and Board Member of Powernoodle, a structured collaboration platform for remote and hybrid teams. Nigel is a seasoned business leader with 20 plus years in the tech industry. Prior to joining Powernoodle, Nigel was Chief Revenue Officer for Plum and has held senior roles for StarTech.Com and Blackberry. Nigel Currently lives in Waterloo, Ontario Canada with his wife and two children.  

 

Podcast Episode Summary

This episode explores the meaning of Collaboration Equity, why it makes sense for the new world of work and how timely Powernoodle and the technology it provides is to support drive the motive for collaboration equity across different forms of teams and knowledge based entities. Powernoodle and the technology it provides enables distributed team work, allows collaboration to operate at scale and institutionalises and sustains equitable collaboration. 

Points made over the episode

  • Nigel believes he was destined to be an entrepreneur and in the business of start-ups focused on technology.  “He got the bug”
  • He particularly enjoys the freedom, scope for direction setting and not knowing that this environment provides 
  • He is particularly pleased that Powernoodle is of a time where his company can help solve a complex problem that is facing the world of work, a combination of remote and hybrid teams 
  • The Paradigm of the past working world is broken
  • Remote and Hybrid working requires new ways of working and new tools to support people collaborate equitably
  • Collaboration is much more than an exercise of itself for its own ends but a means to get a better business outcomes 
  • Collaboration is often seen in two narrow of a focus. 
  • Some of the traps teams fall into with respect to collaboration comprise being too adhoc, and or failing to align on a purpose for the collaboration need. The worst decisions are those you did not know you made. 
  • Teams need to declare the decision need, be intentional about their purpose and engage a design that allows for inclusive participation, evaluation and then execution
  • Nigel likes the Bain & Co. framework called R.A.P.I.D to which Powernoodle adds impact and proximity 
  • Collaboration Equity was a term coined by companies such as Google, Microsoft & Cisco. Powernoodle uses this term for their product vision and purpose. Essentially Powernoodle enables individuals, teams and others to contribute inclusive of all the ways that make them different including, gender, race, age, seniority, tech savvy or not, work preferences and work styles, language etc. Powernoodle sees it role to remove the barriers to collaboration and provide a landscape at work that is meaningful & equitable 
  • This involves five distinct categories or steps. 
  1. Create a purpose for collaboration and design a process
  2. Engage diverse perspectives 
  3. Design for inclusion -considering Psychological Safety
  4. Work to mitigate bias 
  5. Create Information Equity. 
  • 3 things to consider when understanding technology and its use; People/Process and Workplace Tools 
  • The Role of Powernoodle and the technology it employs is threefold
  1. Powernoodle is an enabler of Collaboration 
  2. It allows for a scaling process
  3. It sustains good practice
  • Resistance often presents in ways that are familiar to many change endeavours. The need to preserve the Status Quo. Change Fatigue. Change requires energy and fatigue is very real, especially after the Pandemic. Power, power comes in many guises such as HPPO (Highest paid performers in an organisation) assertive personalities, loudest voices in the room. These kinds of players often exert a disproportionate influence on the outcome of a decision 
  • DE&I & Collaboration Equity are two signs of the same coin. Collaboration Equity is often considered more focused and specific to an activity of collaboration and the organisation of people/process and technology to achieve a business outcome 
  • Nigel has read the book Indivisible by Rebekah Steele and Alison Maitland and he was stuck by how similar the two themes are. 
  • An Ideal Customer Profile for Powernoodle includes large organisations who house knowledge workers, who contain critical information often missing information that can be employed for better business outcomes. In practice this looks like organisation in Insurance, Financial Services, Energy Utilities, Government Agencies etc..
  • Nigel wishes that teams and organisations seize the opportunity, a critical moment in work history, to rethink how work is conducted together in the new paradigm that has emerged since the Pandemic. He hopes people will not be too quick to rush back to the office centric habits of the past. 

Resources shared 

  • www.powernoodle.com 
  • INdivisble: Radically rethinking inclusion for sustainable business results by Rebekah Steele and Alison Maitland.

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