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Assertive Niceness

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Assertive Niceness

Designing and delivering as a team isn’t always easy. Sometimes teams get crosswise with each other, clients get suspicious, deliverables get dropped, and things just aren’t going your way. This session will explore core characteristics of successful teams, how to cope when things get bad, and ways to reset the environment (even if you’re not the leader!)

Designing and delivering as a team isn’t always easy. Sometimes teams get crosswise with each other, clients get suspicious, deliverables get dropped, and things just aren’t going your way. This session will explore core characteristics of successful teams, how to cope when things get bad, and ways to reset the environment (even if you’re not the leader!)

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Assertive Niceness

  1. 1. © 2017 Versay Solutions Assertive Niceness: How to Turn Around a Toxic Team Crispin Reedy, Versay Solutions @crispinTX crispinreedy.com #BigD17
  2. 2. © 2017 Versay Solutions • Voice User Interface Designer • 15+ years in the field • Former coder; got interested in UX • President of the Association for Voice Interaction Design • Consultant for Versay Solutions @crispinTX crispinreedy.com
  3. 3. © 2017 Versay Solutions Session Description •Designing and delivering as a team isn’t always easy. Sometimes teams get crosswise with each other, clients get suspicious, deliverables get dropped, and things just aren’t going your way. •This session will explore core characteristics of successful teams, how to cope when things get bad, and ways to reset the environment (even if you’re not the leader!)
  4. 4. © 2017 Versay Solutions Format •What to Aspire To •Assertive Niceness •Discussion
  5. 5. © 2017 Versay Solutions What to Aspire To
  6. 6. © 2017 Versay Solutions Google’s Project Aristotle “What makes a team effective at Google?” The Odyssey Online
  7. 7. © 2017 Versay Solutions Why Aristotle? The Odyssey Online “The whole is more than the sum of its parts.”
  8. 8. © 2017 Versay Solutions What is a team? The Odyssey Online Team members need one another to get work done
  9. 9. © 2017 Versay Solutions rework.withgoogle.com Executives Team Leaders Team Members Sales Performance Google’s Measure of Effectiveness
  10. 10. © 2017 Versay Solutions •180 teams •Composition •Dynamics •Interviews with leaders •Existing survey data rework.withgoogle.com Methodology
  11. 11. © 2017 Versay Solutions •Group dynamics •Skill sets •Personality traits •Emotional intelligence •Demographics rework.withgoogle.com Survey Questions
  12. 12. © 2017 Versay Solutions •What factors: • Impacted multiple outcome metrics? • Showed up in different kinds of teams? • Were consistent? • Were statistically significant? rework.withgoogle.com Analysis
  13. 13. © 2017 Versay Solutions •Colocation of teammates •Consensus-driven decision making •Extroversion •Individual performance •Workload •Seniority •Team size •Tenure rework.withgoogle.com What Didn’t Matter
  14. 14. © 2017 Versay Solutions
  15. 15. © 2017 Versay Solutions thehappycatsite.com Psychological Safety
  16. 16. © 2017 Versay Solutions A shared belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes Amy Edmonson Psychological Safety
  17. 17. © 2017 Versay Solutions Frame the work as a learning problem, not an execution problem Amy Edmonson Psychological Safety
  18. 18. © 2017 Versay Solutions Acknowledge your own fallibility Amy Edmonson Psychological Safety
  19. 19. © 2017 Versay Solutions Model curiosity and ask lots of questions Amy Edmonson Psychological Safety
  20. 20. © 2017 Versay Solutions Comfort Zone Learning Zone (Performance Zone) Apathy Zone Anxiety Zone Amy Edmonson Motivation & Accountability PsychologicalSafety Low Low High High
  21. 21. © 2017 Versay Solutions
  22. 22. © 2017 Versay Solutions  Individuals have clear roles and responsibilities.  Everybody understands what everybody else is doing rework.withgoogle.com Dependability
  23. 23. © 2017 Versay Solutions  Everyone knows the team goals and the plan for achieving them  Team meetings have a clear agenda and designated leader. rework.withgoogle.com Structure and Clarity
  24. 24. © 2017 Versay Solutions  People on the team give each other positive feedback when applicable  People are willing to volunteer to help others  People publicly hand out appreciation for others when things go well rework.withgoogle.com Meaning
  25. 25. © 2017 Versay Solutions  Co-create a clear vision that reinforces how each team member’s work directly contributes to the team’s and broader organization's goals.  Reflect on the work you're doing and how it impacts users or clients and the organization.  Adopt a user-centered evaluation method and focus on the user. rework.withgoogle.com Impact
  26. 26. © 2017 Versay Solutions When It All Goes Wrong
  27. 27. © 2017 Versay Solutions Team Blame & Whine Toxic Tina Serious Problems
  28. 28. © 2017 Versay Solutions Meta Skills
  29. 29. © 2017 Versay Solutions (as much as you can)
  30. 30. © 2017 Versay Solutions Get outside of it
  31. 31. © 2017 Versay Solutions Mindfulness
  32. 32. © 2017 Versay Solutions Find A Friend
  33. 33. © 2017 Versay Solutions Assertive Niceness
  34. 34. © 2017 Versay Solutions  Why Assertive?  Why Nice? Assertive Niceness
  35. 35. © 2017 Versay Solutions  Be Brave!  Don’t Witch-Hunt, Troubleshoot  Expect Niceness  Have Small Fun  Get Face-to-Face  Use Active Listening  Foster Happy Decision-Making Assertive Niceness
  36. 36. © 2017 Versay Solutions Team members feel safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other  Frame the work as a learning problem, not an execution problem  Acknowledge your own fallibility  Model curiosity and ask lots of questions Amy Edmonson Psychological Safety
  37. 37. © 2017 Versay Solutions Bravery
  38. 38. © 2017 Versay Solutions Don’t Witch-Hunt, Troubleshoot
  39. 39. © 2017 Versay Solutions Expect Niceness Expectancy Bias Yourself Towards Niceness
  40. 40. © 2017 Versay Solutions Bodhisattva Never- Disparaging
  41. 41. © 2017 Versay Solutions Small Fun
  42. 42. © 2017 Versay Solutions Get Face To Face
  43. 43. Active Listening
  44. 44. © 2017 Versay Solutions  Don’t sweat the small stuff  Make Yes the default (if you can)  Always lead with a recommendation  Then go to choices, backed up with reasons for A or B  Educate your business team about design!  Keep the focus on project goals  When you really want to say “No”… Happy Decision Making
  45. 45. © 2017 Versay Solutions  Be Brave!  Don’t Witch-Hunt, Troubleshoot  Expect Niceness  Have Small Fun  Get Face-to-Face  Active Listening  Foster Happy Decision-Making Assertive Niceness
  46. 46. © 2017 Versay Solutions Discussion
  47. 47. © 2017 Versay Solutions @crispinTX Crispin Reedy Thanks!

Editor's Notes

  • DO NOT FORGET TO BRING THE MINI-SPEAKERS!!!
  • 115 project teams in engineering
    65 pods in sales) to study
    included a mix of high- and low-performing teams.
    Team composition (e.g., personality traits, sales skills, demographics on the team)
    Team dynamics (e.g., what it was like to work with teammates)
    double-blind interviews with leaders to get a sense of what they thought drove team effectiveness.
    Existing survey data, including over 250 items from the annual employee engagement survey and gDNA, Google’s longitudinal study on work and life,

  • - Group dynamics: I feel safe expressing divergent opinions to the team.
    - Skill sets: I am good at navigating roadblocks and barriers.
    - Personality traits: I see myself as someone who is a reliable worker (informed by the Big Five personality assessment).
    - Emotional intelligence: I am not interested in other people’s problems (informed by the Toronto Empathy Questionnaire).
    - Demographic variables like tenure, level, and location were also collected.
  • It’s important to note though that while these variables did not significantly impact team effectiveness measurements at Google, that doesn’t mean they’re not important elsewhere. For example, while team size didn’t pop in the Google analysis, there is a lot of research showing the importance of it.
  • Amy Edmonson - Professor of Leadership and Management at Harvard Business School
    TED talk

    Psychological safety - “a shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking.”

    Taking a risk around your team members may sound simple. But asking a basic question like “what’s the goal of this project?” may make you sound like you’re out of the loop. It might feel easier to continue without getting clarification in order to avoid being perceived as ignorant.
  • Learning problem – What are we try
  • Amy Edmonson - Professor of Leadership and Management at Harvard Business School
    TED talk

    Psychological safety - “a shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking.”

    Taking a risk around your team members may sound simple. But asking a basic question like “what’s the goal of this project?” may make you sound like you’re out of the loop. It might feel easier to continue without getting clarification in order to avoid being perceived as ignorant.
  • Amy Edmonson - Professor of Leadership and Management at Harvard Business School
    TED talk

    Psychological safety - “a shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking.”

    Taking a risk around your team members may sound simple. But asking a basic question like “what’s the goal of this project?” may make you sound like you’re out of the loop. It might feel easier to continue without getting clarification in order to avoid being perceived as ignorant.
  • Serious problems – So & so is defrauding the company. Sexual harassment. Really bad stuff.

    Toxic Tina – Supervisor is directly attacking people. (me!) “I don’t think you know how to do your job.”

    Team Blame & Whine – Passive Aggressiveness, Rudeness (people always interrupting each other), Fingerpointing
    Client Wishy Washy / Don’t’ Care
    PM Negative – Very detail oriented (which can feel like “picky”)
    Darling Dreadful – (1) Overexplained things (too much detail) and (2) didn’t like to make choices
    PM Political
    Rude Tech Guy
  • This is really hard to do when you’re not a manager, right? Project manager, supervisor, whatever - this person over there (not me) has “manager” in his or her job title, so this whole team stuff is his job.
    True to a degree.
    BUT.
    The only thing I have power over in this situation is myself. (That’s always true, right?) You can’t change other people.
  • Don’t JADE
    Not engaging
    “He said she said”
    “You started it!”
  • Mindfulness
    Identifying what is going on
    Not reacting to it
    “Oh that’s interesting”
    Thinking about where that’s coming from
    Then deciding how to react
    Balloon
    Zen guy cleaning the bathroom
  • Enlisting help
    Someone to discuss the situation with and explore your options
    Objectively creating plans and strategies to work on the situation
    This does NOT need to be someone who enables you or agrees with you all the time.
    TBF this does NOT have to be someone you like!
  • Assertive or Aggressive?
    Nice or Kind?
  • Learning problem – What are we try
  • Bravery as a substitute for safety
  • Lotus Sutra, Chapter 20
    At this time there was a bodhisattva monk named Never Disparaging. Now, Gainer of Great Authority, for what reason was he named Never Disparaging? This monk, whatever persons he happened to meet, whether monks, nuns, laymen, or laywomen, would bow in obeisance to all of them and speak words of praise, saying, ‘I have profound reverence for you, I would never dare treat you with disparagement or arrogance. Why? Because you will all practice the bodhisattva way and will then be able to attain buddhahood.’
    “This monk did not devote his time to reading or reciting the scriptures, but simply went about bowing to people. And if he happened to see any of the four kinds of believers far off in the distance, he would purposely go to where they were, bow to them, and speak words of praise, saying, ‘I would never dare disparage you, because you are all certain to attain buddhahood!’
  • DO NOT FORGET TO BRING THE MINI-SPEAKERS!!!

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