Intentional Gatherings: The Connection That Makes a Difference


In our modern work context, where remote and hybrid are the new reality, Atlassian emerges as a protagonist in the narrative of organisational transformation that inspires this article. Under the leadership of Scott Farquhar, the company reveals some insights, sharing its experience resulting from 1000 days of almost exclusively remote work, where Intentional Team Meetings (ITG) take on a main role as rituals that catalyze connection, performance and learning of the teams.

The document is extraordinary, the conclusions challenging and the reflections disconcerting about how today’s high-performance teams are created, managed and developed and the role that the company itself and its structure should play in them. This article is our invitation to read the study, which is very worthwhile.

The Atlassian story transcends the corporate narrative; It is a mirror that reflects the longing for connection and purpose that we humans have always had, and that we also take to organisations. The journey of team meetings, from the industrial to the digital era, fortunately reflects a significant shift in organizational priorities — from productive efficiency to creativity and engagement. And it is now more than proven that these activities improve KPIs such as productivity, employee engagement, retention and overall performance. They are essential not only for the well-being of employees but also for organizational health, directly impacting innovation and competitiveness in the market.

But… we are no longer all in the office every day and inevitably, this connection is shaken. Atlassian’s case is even more extreme than most organisations. The “Team Anywhere” works remotely, can go to the office at least once per quarter and can work anywhere, as long as they have 4 synchronous hours with the rest of the team. Bold, right? We think so too. That’s why the story interested us. In particular the “ITG” solution.

More than a program, they are a vibrant testimony of the transformation in the world of work, where physical presence disappears but connection and collaboration remain very necessary. Aware of its importance, more than 1,600 team meetings were held in 1000 days at the company. Much more than meetings, these ITGs are moments of collective introspection, where distance dissolves into an intense dive of mutual commitment. The remarkable satisfaction of the participants [96%] is testimony to a deeper phenomenon: the reconstruction of a sense of team in a fragmented world lacks method, purpose and intensity.

In the essence of these meetings the CEO described, we discovered several truths: learning is more than Knowledge acquisition; It is an experience that must be lived, shared and deeply human. Stories like those of our Immersis “Chain Reaction” reveal how shared challenges can become opportunities for growth and self-knowledge and it was interesting to see this conclusion amplified.

But what is surprising is that the moment is not just about learning or transferring knowledge. ITG at Atlassian is carefully designed based on what is intended for that team and adjusted to respond to their specific challenges. It could be hackathons to find new solutions, silent sessions to reinforce presence and listening, and moments of codevelopment to encourage sharing and empathy between peers.

Whatever pedagogically works best. Additionally, they span the day, go into the night, encourage shared meals, promote fun, learning and joint contemplation and intensely cultivate the desired culture of interconnection.

Atlassian research shows that Intentional Meetings between teams, held approximately 3 to 4 times a year, resulted in a 27% increase in feelings of connection, an effect that persists for four to five months. These meetings are not only an opportunity to advance important projects [yes, because we also work a lot collaboratively on these days], but also a moment for new members to strengthen bonds, crucial for their integration and satisfaction in the company. Atlassian also found that meetings improve the perception of productivity, communication and team effectiveness, for both leaders and followers.

With such a significant impact, the design of offices has been changing. Headquarters and branches across the countries now have spaces where meetings occur in environments designed to inspire and facilitate interaction, from virtual rooms, indoor gardens, places physically adapted for hackathons or collaborative activities to places that amplify learning and facilitate the execution of new experiences and enable reflection. Each space prepared to host an ITG is an invitation to connection, a stage for co-creation and innovation and allows diversity of thought and transversal collaboration, essential elements for an adaptable and innovative organisation that Atlassian wants to be.

Atlassian’s experience, intertwined with the journeys of other organisations and experienced in our practices at Immersis, highlights an undeniable reality: the future of work, it is not the kilometres that separate teams, but rather the quality and intentionality of the moments shared. In an increasingly digital world, these meetings are fertile ground for trust to flourish, for commitment to be strengthened, for healthy conflict to exist, sculpting a corporate future that will be increasingly adaptable, but still intrinsically human.

This narrative about this Australian company, which is from all over the world, once again confirms our belief that intentional team meetings, and team buildings, far from being accessories, are the backbone of resilient, creative and integrated organisations. That’s why they must be carefully curated, ultra-impactful and truly immersive.

Source: Lessons learned: 1,000 days of distributed at Atlassian

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Intentional Gatherings: The Connection That Makes a Difference