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Jenny SchoenbergerTalent and Development Specialist, FourKites

Day-to-day life at FourKites is collaborative, fast-paced and energizing, to name just a few descriptors. In order to innovate and execute at the pace our team does, our leaders embrace a “One Team” approach to getting things done. At a high level, we are a global, diverse team, aligned around a singular mission. “One Team” at FourKites means that our differences make us stronger and better as we work together toward a common goal, and we intentionally build trust through empathy and transparent communication. This approach shows up in different ways depending on the employee, department and scenario, and it’s an attitude that becomes even more critical as our team rapidly scales.

I recently sat down with some of our team members to find out what One Team means to them. Courtland Halbrook (Director, Product Management), Janese Griffin (Manager, Carrier Operations) and Dhava Karunamurthy (Sr. Manager, Engineering) are leaders at FourKites in different departments with team members in different time zones. Courtland joined FourKites at the start of 2021, while Janese and Dhava are more tenured, with Dhava having been with FourKites almost since our inception! They all lead effective and engaged teams, so I was excited to dive into the One Team topic with them.

Courtland, how does FourKites’ One Team mentality drive your decision-making?

Product management is a team sport. To be successful, we have to learn to gain buy-in throughout the organization, and we have to be singularly focused on providing value to our customers through the solutions we provide. This requires three key ingredients:

  1. Leading with empathy to meet our customers where they are in order to unlock value within their organizations.
  2. Working across an incredibly diverse group of individuals and gathering their unique perspectives to discover, develop and deliver a solution.
  3. Communicating transparently across the customers, working team and extended stakeholders to build trust on the journey to the best solution.

Janese, how do you vet for One Team in the interview process?

The interview process is absolutely a time to focus on yourself and the impact you’ve specifically made; however, I like to keep an eye out for if and when interviewees mention other individuals in their success. Are interviewees giving credit where credit is due, or taking it all on as their own? Do they tell any stories about reaching out to help another team achieve a company-wide goal they didn’t have specific ties to? Is the person mentioning any collaborative efforts? If these situations don’t come up organically, I do ask for them in a more direct way, so as to understand the person’s willingness to lend a helping hand when needed.

Dhava, how does One Team play a role in running a successful global team?

Global teams, with team members distributed across the continents, from varied cultural, regional backgrounds, offer great advantages like diversified thinking, local regional domain context, increased business hours coverage and overall flexibility in executing any project. However, left unchecked, this setup can lead to trust issues due to cultural and language differences, and a lack of emotional connection. Moreover, the lack of face-to-face opportunities can further amplify the complexities. I found the One Team approach to be the magic ingredient in bringing alignment and focus across the board. It makes it easy for everyone on the team to realize how their role fits into the overall vision for the company. Specifically, this also enables them to recognize how critical others’ successes are to their own.

Overall, I find that our One Team approach enables team members to respect, recognize and care for each other, and helps our team work with elevated levels of trust and empathy. This, ultimately, brings out the best in everyone, and helps us chase and achieve our very ambitious goals.

What are you all most excited about for this upcoming year at FourKites?

Courtland: It may sound trite, but I’m most excited about the size and complexity of problems we are looking to tackle. It’s all about meaningful work and the meaningful relationships built along the way.

Janese: I’m most excited about getting back into the office to see all my amazing teammates in person on a more regular basis. One of my favorite things about FourKites is the people I get to work with and learn from!

Dhava: In the pre-pandemic days, I would always learn some interesting ideas and insights during casual chats with colleagues. In our current remote environment, I miss those informal meetings. I am most excited to go back to the office, meet everyone face to face, and pick their brains to learn more!

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“Life at FourKites” is an ongoing series highlighting our company Core Values and how they’re embodied throughout the organization, through the lens of various team members. To learn more about our Core Values or more broadly about life and culture at FourKites, reach out to the Talent team directly at [email protected]. We’re always excited to talk about what makes FourKites a unique and special place to work.

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