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Values and Vision – The ClimateAi Culture Catalyst Series: Ensuring Success Through Clarity and Collaboration with Over-Communication

Jasmine Spiess • May 28th, 2024.

Over-Communication

In our ongoing series on Vision and Values, we’ve had a chance to dig into some core values that make ClimateAi successful, like Teaming to Win, Customer Obsession, and Micro-Entrepreneurship. In each article, we’ve peeled back the layers of what drives us at ClimateAi, showing how we’re tackling the critical job of climate-proofing the global economy by ensuring a cohesive and highly engaged workforce. This time, we’re zeroing in on the value of Over-Communication. As our team is spread all over the globe, getting things done effectively and efficiently hinges on our ability to talk, share, and sometimes, over-share for better collaboration.

While we have offices in different locations, we’re primarily “remote-first,” which means our conversations often happen across different time zones and screens. This structure makes Over-Communication essential. It’s about ensuring everyone’s in the loop, feeling confident enough to ask questions, and fully grasping what’s happening. It ties directly into our innovation and collaboration, ensuring that we tackle the critical issues of climate change through our often complex technical capabilities with better clarity. Let’s dive into how Over-Communication shapes our work and culture.

The Importance of Over-Communication

The way we work has dramatically shifted in the last decade, notably with the pace of innovation in startups and the widespread adoption of remote and hybrid work environments. This shift demands more robust communication, elevating Over-Communication from a helpful strategy to an essential part of business operations, particularly in complex areas like climate technology. Here, effective collaboration across time zones and disciplines is essential for success.

Overcommunication is often overlooked in more traditional business settings. It can be burdensome and inefficient, potentially leading to cluttered inboxes and meeting calendars. However, navigating the intricacies of modern workflows underscores the critical need for better communication. It serves as a bridge, connecting diverse teams, dispelling ambiguity, and turning potential challenges into opportunities for breakthroughs.

It’s not hard to imagine how miscommunication and misalignment might reduce productivity and general efficiency. Beyond a potential loss in revenue, there’s actual cost associated with such miscommunication, estimated at around $2 Trillion per year for U.S.-based businesses. Conversely, companies that engage in over-communication stand to improve even more than the bottom line. Employee engagement and productivity can improve by 20%, while 80% say it helps them better prepare for challenges. Most note that it enhances trust between them and their managers and strengthens peer collaboration. With the increased engagement and productivity, companies that excel in open communications realize 23% higher revenues, more than double those that don’t.

Over-communication isn’t just about increasing the frequency of interactions; it also fosters deeper connections, improves mutual understanding, and facilitates more effective collaboration.

ClimateAi’s Definition of Over-Communication

At ClimateAi, Over-Communication transcends the mere exchange of information. It is about building a culture where dialogue fosters innovation and transparency breeds trust. This value is deeply intertwined with our ethos, supporting other core principles like Trust & Transparency, and Teaming to Win. Over-Communication ensures that despite our remote-first approach, no team member works in isolation, knowledge silos are dismantled, and collective goals remain in everyone’s sight.

This is how we define Over-Communication:

Lack of communication negatively impacts company culture, causing knowledge silos, misalignment, confusion, and redundant, inefficient work.

  • When in doubt, communicate or ask again.
  • Make sure you are aware of what other teams are doing – cross-functional collaboration is key to unlocking innovation.
  • Ask questions when you are unsure of something. Two minutes spent clarifying is better than two hours wasted working in the wrong direction.
  • Listen, empathize, then respond. This applies to co-worker and customer conversations.
  • Know when to ask for help.

Let’s take a look at Over-Communication in action at ClimateAi.

Case Study: Advancing the Monitor Yield Outlook Through Over-Communication

Lena Backe, a Senior Product Manager – Innovation at ClimateAi, exemplifies the essence of Over-Communication through her leadership in building the Monitor Yield Outlook product. Only a year into her tenure with ClimateAi, Lena has played a pivotal role in spearheading initiatives that meld ClimateAi’s innovative capabilities with the urgent needs of clients, particularly in navigating and mitigating the impacts of climate change. Her work focuses on leveraging the company’s capabilities to expand into new use cases and industries, driven by a deep understanding of client needs.

Lena - Over-Communication

Uniting Expertise for Innovation

ClimateAi’s new Monitor Yield Outlook product showcases a remarkable effort to build the resilience of the food & beverage sector to climate-driven risks. The offering helps customers take the guesswork out of supply risk through climate-driven yield forecasts  for key crops. From the initial concept, to a pilot with beta customers, to public launch, this venture demanded seamless collaboration across the organization.

Lena shed light on the product’s motivation: “We’re seeing more extreme weather events than ever before, which impacts our global food supply. Sourcing managers need to figure out how to mitigate this risk. Monitor Yield Outlook is one of ClimateAi’s most ambitious projects to date and builds upon years of internal research efforts.” The product aims to make tangible the climate-related impacts on yield and provide businesses with the critical insights needed for effective decision-making.

Overcoming Obstacles Through Collective Insight

Addressing the challenges of melding new capabilities into a unified product, Lena identified Over-Communication as a critical strategy. This approach was about ensuring every team understood not just their tasks but how their work fits into the broader project narrative. “Product-specific weekly meetings across functional teams, which were not previously standard practice at ClimateAi, and a centralized Slack channel for all project-related communications were key, ” Lena recounts, highlighting the importance of these practices in sharing information between teams. Extensive Notion documentation, as well as Slack and Loom videos proved especially useful in sharing recaps of larger team meetings for reference and providing visibility into other, smaller conversations that didn’t warrant the entire team’s involvement.  She continued, “It’s not revolutionary, but it helped immensely. Having a centralized place for communication and making sure everyone, regardless of their role, was on the same page helped turn our vision into reality.”

Illustrating Interdependencies and Building Trust

Building the Monitor Yield Outlook product highlighted the deep interdependencies between ClimateAi’s teams. From data science’s role in developing yield models, to engineering’s efforts in crafting a user-friendly interface, to sales and marketing’s development of pricing & positioning, and customer success’ role in identifying beta customers, each department’s input was pivotal. Lena emphasized the synergistic nature of these collaborations, stating, “This involved the productization of new capabilities by many teams in concert (…). To ensure we built something that worked at scale and turned into a product that could meet the needs of our customers, all of these people had to come together. At each decision point, they were aware, had the opportunity to ask questions and offer input over many iterative loops.”

Team Over-Communication

Forward Motion: Trust, Transparency, and the Road Ahead

On the heels of the initiative’s public launch, Lena’s insights underscore the significance of Over-Communication in bridging the gap between diverse teams and complex objectives. “Since I’ve been here, we’ve improved on cross-functional collaboration… As a company, we try to articulate not just what we’re doing but why we’re doing it,” Lena said, pointing out the evolution of communication within the company.

The Monitor Yield Outlook product is a shining example of ClimateAi’s technical and strategic prowess and illustrates a model for managing and executing projects within a collaborative culture. With Lena’s guidance, the initiative highlights how Over-Communication can catalyze team collaboration, innovation, and project management. As ClimateAi continues to lead in climate technology, the lessons learned and successes garnered from this project will shape the company’s approach to future endeavors, paving the way for further innovation and impact in service of ClimateAi’s mission.

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