Graduation Speeches & Virtual Teamwork

Looking to inspire, motivate, and galvanize your team and personal business efforts? Tap into the power of graduation speeches delivered by highly successful individuals who distill their experiences into bite-sized lessons.

One notable recent speech was gifted to us by Bridget Ziegelaar, Operations Manager for NASA’s International Space Station Research Integration Office, speaking at the University of Maine. Her remarks included this timeless theme:

One of the many things I’ve learned and carried throughout my career is how to be a productive member of a team. Teamwork is essential in virtually every facet of life. Even the astronauts are just one member of a team that, as a collective entity, is doing something extraordinary.
— Bridget Ziegelaar, Operations Manager for NASA’s International Space Station Research Integration Office

Whether you are a student or seasoned professional, collaboration and teamwork skills need to be practiced and continuously honed for mastery.

Whether you are a student or seasoned professional, collaboration and teamwork skills need to be practiced and continuously honed for mastery.

Third-party research published in the Harvard Business Review has shown that a team’s main predictor of success is their communication patterns. Not intelligences, not personalities, and not skill. In fact, communication patterns were found to be more important than those three other factors combined!

Building explicit processes and critical skills help team members stay energized and engaged in their work together. These processes center on getting the right information to the right people at the right time, via the right technology. When people know what they need to know they are empowered to produce. When they know how to grade urgency tasks can be accomplished in the right order. When only the right people have to attend meetings, others can stay working elsewhere. These are the foundations upon which Transactional Trust are built.

When trying to motivate Millennials and Gen Z or an otherwise multi-cultural team it pays to know that workers with excellent communication habits are significantly happier in their jobs, and therefore more productive.

Technology dehumanizes relationships; we must find ways to re-humanize them.

As Ms. Ziegelaar says “even if you are a natural born leader, you’ll be dependent on your team members to succeed. You’ll not only learn together from any failures, but you’ll also share in the wonders of your achievements.” This means paying explicit attention to how you will create your pathways to build rapport and move forward together.

Technology dehumanizes relationships; we must find ways to re-humanize them. That re-humanization is our mission at Bridging Distance. We use a simple tool for diagnosing root cause in digital workplace environment called The Distance Lens™. Viewing workplace performance through Interpersonal, Organizational, Physical, and Technological differences allow us to provide solutions to fix problem areas without inadvertently breaking ones that work well.

Congratulations, recent graduates. And congratulations to team leaders and members everywhere who are ready to commit to making “virtually every facet of life” better by improving their teamwork skills.





Stefanie Heiter