Bob Harris is familiar with building teams. He’s the director of digital commerce experience at GoDaddy in Kirkland and also built his namesake winery in Woodinville, Robert Ramsay Cellars (Robert being his full name and Ramsay his middle name). As an entrepreneur and team leader at a world-renowned company, Harris has a thing or two to say about teams.
As someone who has built teams in both tech and at the winery, what aspects of building a successful team do you see that cross over between industries? I think building good teams crosses over all industries, and it tends to be fairly straightforward stuff: clear understanding of the purpose of the team, what teams will need to be successful, what behaviors they will need to demonstrate, and how they will measure success.
Are there aspects of working with a distributed team that differ from working with a local team? High-performing teams have great communication. When I am building a distributed team, I have people travel to be together early and often. I find it particularly important when trying to create productive conflict. As a team leader, what do you do to ensure the team experiences success? How does that differ across your two industries? In both wine and technology, the ultimate success is delighting your customers. If teams can be successful at defining what that delightful experience feels like, then they can build that experience in a bottle, a tasting room, or online.
GoDaddy came first, but has building a team at Robert Ramsay Cellars informed how you manage and build teams at GoDaddy? Absolutely. Because wine making and wine selling are very different sides of the business, we had to put mechanisms in place to ensure that we were collaborating and finding improvements across that boundary. The results have been powerful enough that I tend to drive teams at GoDaddy to find mechanisms to ensure broader collaboration and discover more inclusive improvements than I did in the past.
If you were to venture into a third industry, how would you alter your approach to building a team? Customer feedback is a great way to understand what can be improved. Whether in a new venture or not, I want to focus on creating frictionless ways to get feedback to teams from both internal and external sources, and then develop the best ways to respond.