A tool for the times: build teams at a distance

Remember conversations by the watercooler?  

In this client spotlight, we want to introduce you to a client who has a low cost, low interruption, high impact virtual watercooler alternative: trivia. 

It turns out that watercooler conversations matter when it comes to building rapport and developing relationships within an organization.  

HP developed a whole management practice called management by walking around that luminaries such as Tom Peters attributed to high levels of corporate success.  

What happens when you remove the watercooler?  

Enter self-proclaimed trivia nerd Collin Waldoch who together with his partners in business developed Watercooler Trivia.  

The idea is to engage your team in some fun banter.  It doesn’t have anything to do with work per se, but it does build trust and relationships that make work more efficient and drives better outcomes.   

This seems to be particularly important with so many of us working remotely – remote work was on the rise before COVID-19.  The pandemic has just accelerated this trend.

The challenge with remote work. 

Working remotely introduces a whole new set of issues into your business life. Management by walking around is great until miles of road, commuting time, and a mandate to separate interfere.   

Socializing can be a real challenge and remote workers can get lonely.  This is a problem for extroverts (who need the stimulation) and introverts (who need to be cajoled out of their shells).  

And this lack of social interaction can make team building very difficult. Without the conversation and the trust, teams don’t get, you don’t realize the synergy of having teams work together.  

People become islands. 

So technologies that bring people together are key.  

Zoom and similar video conferencing software have surfaced as very useful tools, but they have their limitations: a video conference can be very formal and force you into having a meeting to discuss anything.  

Watercooler offers a less formal approach.  

Their platform offers a low-cost company trivia quiz.  Once a week everyone gets the quiz, via Slack, email (and soon MS Teams).  They can answer when they want during the day and then the results show up the next day.  

There is recognition for the fastest answer, best answer, funniest answer and actually getting the most questions right.  

We’ve had fun with this at Rosenberg Chesnov, and though some of us (well, me) are lousy at trivia, the conversations that the program inspires has been valuable.  

And apparently, we are in good company: their clients include Lift, Medtronic, Accenture, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Benefits ranging from team cohesion to just having better days. 

Really, it is a low cost, low overhead fun that helps bring your team together.  

They offer a free four-week trial, no strings, so give them a try and let us know what you think.  

Jeff Coyle, CPA

Jeff Coyle, CPA, Partner of Rosenberg Chesnov, has been with the firm since 2015. He joined the firm after 20 years of business and accounting experience where he learned the value of accurate reporting, using financial information as a basis for good business decisions and the importance of accounting for management.

He is a diligent financial professional, able to manage the details and turn them into relevant business leading information. He has a strong financial background in construction, technology, consulting services and risk management. He also knows what it takes to create organizations having built teams, grown companies and designed processes for financial analysis and reporting.

His business experience includes:

Creating and preparing financial reporting, budgeting and forecasting.
Planning and preparation of GAAP and other basis financial statements.
Providing insight on financial results and providing advice based on those results.

Jeff also has a long history of helping individuals manage their taxes and plan their finances including:

Income tax planning and strategy.
Filing quarterly and annual taxes.
Audit support.
General financial and planning advice.
Prior to joining the firm in 2015, Jeff was in the private sector where he held senior financial and management positions including Controller and Chief Financial Officer. He has experience across industries, including construction, technology and professional services which gives him a deep understanding of business.

Jeff graduated from Montclair State University, he is a CPA and member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants and New Jersey State Society of Public Accountants.

Jody H. Chesnov, CPA

Jody H. Chesnov, CPA, Managing Partner of Rosenberg Chesnov, has been with the firm since 2004.  After a career of public accounting and general management, Jody knows the value of good financials.  Clarity, decision making, and strategy all start with the facts – Jody has been revealing the facts and turning them into good business results for more than three decades.

He takes a pragmatic approach to accounting, finance and business. His work has supported many companies on their path to growth, including helping them find investors, manage scaling and overcome hurdles.  His experience and passion for business reach beyond accounting and he helps businesses focus on what the numbers mean organizationally, operationally and financially.

He has a particular expertise in early-stage growth companies.  His strengths lie in cutting through the noise to come up with useful, out of the box, solutions that support clients in building their businesses and realizing their larger visions.

Prior to joining the firm in 2004, Jody was in the private sector where he held senior financial and management positions including General Manager, Chief Financial Officer and Controller.  He has experience across industries, which gives him a deep understanding of business.

Jody graduated with a BBA in Accounting from Baruch College, he is a CPA and member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants.

In addition to delivering above and beyond accounting results, Jody is a member of the NYSCPA’s Emerging Tech Entrepreneurial Committee (ETEC), Private Equity and Venture Capital Committee and Family Office Committee.  

He is an angel investor through the Westchester Angels, and has served as an advisor for many startup companies and as a mentor through the Founders Institute.

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