Tommy Nobis Center CEO Dave Ward: Driving Culture During Crisis

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Wednesday, May 20th, 2020

The last 8 weeks have provided me new growth opportunities as a leader with my “work family.” The impact of COVID-19 on our society and the world has created an unprecedented time of change and has required us to find ways to adapt our office environments and work processes in order to continue offering our services. Most importantly for Tommy Nobis Center, I needed to find a way to keep our culture healthy and thriving during this time of social distancing.

As a leader within your organization, how well do you know your team? Do you know what core values speak to them the most, how many pets they have, knowledge of what their first cars were or the first concerts they attended? Have you ever talked to them about their families, adventures, or personal challenges or trials they have experienced?

Investing my time and attention in my team and driving our culture is a top priority. I have a very large team, and I know the answers to these questions because I chose to engage my teammates using daily “projects” that I introduced each morning via email. I encouraged my teammates to “reply all” with their answers, thoughts, pictures, videos or a combination of these, so that our teammates could better get to know each other.

I realized that this quarantine situation was an opportunity to draw our team closer together, create more vulnerability and sharing, and strengthen our connection through this crisis. These email projects enabled the team to contribute experiences in transparency and trust, thereby enriching our relationships outside of the rigor of our routine, business-related tasks.

These activities were voluntary and helped solidify our bond as a team through our mutual investment in each other. We were free to share details of our lives, character, emotions, fears, struggles and celebrations, knowing that we could safely “be human” with our Tommy Nobis Center family amidst the world’s craziness.

As we begin to consider transitioning back into our office space, I remain focused on supporting my teammates through heightening our culture awareness. The healthier and more connected our work family remains, the more effectively we will be able to serve our clients, community and one another.

Dave Ward-President and CEO