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The Magic Behind Winning Teams (And the Discipline Behind the Magic)

Winning team cultures don't happen by accident, and team isn't just a who, it's also a how. In this comprehensive eBook, Opus Agency COO Dena Lowery explains the discipline and approach required to build and sustain a thriving team dynamic within your organization.

Citing research from MIT and the Harvard Business Review; thoughts from bestselling authors Simon Sinek and John C. Maxwell; proven best practices from leading brands like Salesforce, Cisco, and Microsoft; input from executive training and strategic coaching firms; and even the advice of an NBA head coach, Lowery defines the three key pillars of high-performing teams, and how they can create success for your customers.

With actionable insights and self analysis tools, this is a must-read for business leaders and anyone else interested in creating winning teams.

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The Magic Behind Winning Teams (And the Discipline Behind the Magic)

  1. 1. Dena Lowery | Chief Operating Officer | Opus Agency The Magic Behind Winning Teams (AND THE DISCIPLINE BEHIND THE MAGIC)
  2. 2. 2 I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team. I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team—not the individual­— is the ultimate champion. Mia Hamm OPUS AGENCY
  3. 3. OPUS AGENCY 3 FOCUS ON THE TEAM, NOT THE DREAM “One mistake I’ve seen people repeatedly make is focusing too much attention on their dream and too little on their team. But the truth is that if you build the right team, the dream will almost take care of itself.” New York Times bestselling author John C. Maxwell Teamwork 101: What Every Leader Needs to Know INTRODUCTION: THE OPUS PERSPECTIVE Team is everything. IN BUSINESS, and it doesn’t matter what the industry is, the ability to build and sustain a cohesive team can mean the difference between success and failure. Being the best in your field simply isn’t good enough anymore—we live in an era of innumerable acceptable options, where everyone is good at what they do. Truly great companies—the ones that sustainably grow and thrive over time—focus on teamwork as a core competency, bringing talented individuals together, creating a shared vision for everyone to coalesce around, and empowering the team with tools and knowledge to make success repeatable.
  4. 4. OPUS AGENCY 4 “Do your business #relationships start with a strong #team? See @OpusAgency’s #eBook. #EventProfs #TeamCS” INTRODUCTION: THE OPUS PERSPECTIVE Create the team to create success. THE GOAL OF THIS EBOOK is to share what Opus has learned about building great teams. In our case, we’ve built an operational philosophy to foster a culture of team while creating Customer Success. We call it TeamCS™—more on that later. But suffice it to say, we’ve cultivated a platinum list of clients, industry awards, and steady year-over-year growth, and we attribute that success to TeamCS™. Event marketing, at its core, is a relationship business—at the client, agency, and partner levels. Relationships are what make the industry go, and those relationships are sustained through a team’s understanding, focus, follow-through, and delivery of quality results. When team members understand objectives at the client and stakeholder levels, they focus their talents on their role as a part of a team, follow through on responsibilities, and expect exceptional delivery from one another. TeamCS™ | People + Values + Methodology = Customer Success
  5. 5. 5 The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual. Vince Lombardi Talented People OPUS AGENCY
  6. 6. OPUS AGENCY 6 TALENTED PEOPLE: THE OPUS PERSPECTIVE Build a team, not an all-star roster. IN RECENT YEARS, the art of “team” has almost become a lost art, as firms have increasingly focused on recruiting and retaining the mythical All-Star Employee. Sourcing the best possible talent is, of course, still hugely important—the old adage that “a company’s greatest asset is its people” remains true. But it isn’t just about adding high performers to your team. Your goal should be to attract, retain, and develop people who are not just talented and motivated, but who are also mindful about wanting your organization to be successful on a holistic level. Empathy is an incredibly underrated skill to consider when structuring an organization. Can your people see each project, client initiative, annual objective, and overall company vision through others’ eyes, as well as their own? Can they define what success and failure look like to the leadership team? A project lead? Their colleagues or other cross-departmental stakeholders? And most importantly, to the customer?
  7. 7. OPUS AGENCY 7 TALENTED PEOPLE: THE OPUS PERSPECTIVE BUILD A TEAM, NOT AN ALL-STAR ROSTER CONTINUED If you can build a team where each individual contributor is capable of seeing the work not in terms of their own success, but the success of their teammates and the customer, you’ve accomplished the first step toward building a team capable of achieving remarkable heights. LENDING A HELPING HAND SINCE THE UPPER PALEOLITHIC “Human beings have thrived for fifty thousand years not because we are driven to serve ourselves, but because we are inspired to serve others.” New York Times bestselling author Simon Sinek Leaders Eat Last
  8. 8. OPUS AGENCY 8 TALENTED PEOPLE: THE OPUS PERSPECTIVE Structure, assess, adjust, repeat. You need to first spend the time to develop a framework and structure. And don’t limit your thinking to the people you currently have on-hand—build out a structure that best supports your department and business. Consider:» » What roles are missing?» » What roles will you need as you grow?» » What current roles may need to be redefined? Once your structure is framed, make an honest assessment of your talent:» » Who fits in their current role?» » Who is under-utilized, or may need training or direction?» » What talent is missing?
  9. 9. OPUS AGENCY 9 TALENTED PEOPLE: THE OPUS PERSPECTIVE STRUCTURE, ASSESS, ADJUST, REPEAT CONTINUED Teams excel in environments where they understand the structure, their role, and their potential. So empathy and big-picture thinking are beneficial—but how do you recruit for those traits when it’s time to start adding new talent? Here’s what we look for at Opus:» » Have they been part of high-performing teams in the past (work, sports, hobbies)?» » Do they volunteer in their community?» » What have they learned about your company prior to interviewing?» » How well can they articulate how their skills will translate to your organization’s success? “10 questions to ask when building a high-performing #team: @OpusAgency #eBook #CustomerSuccess #EventProfs #TeamCS”
  10. 10. “@Microsoft’s @katiqu on protecting your team #culture: @OpusAgency #eBook #CustomerSuccess #EventProfs #TeamCS” OPUS AGENCY 10 Kati Quigley Sr. Director, Worldwide Partner Community Marketing TALENTED PEOPLE: HEAR FROM THE EXPERTS Microsoft MICROSOFT STRIVES TO “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” In other words, Microsoft is in the “optimizing people” business. Here’s how Kati Quigley— Microsoft’s Senior Director of Worldwide Partner Community Marketing—does exactly that: First, we recruit both externally and internally—looking for diversity in age, experience, gender, and nationality—while seeking skills that are complementary to the manager and the team. You should always try to hire people that are smarter than you are. Next, we agree to a set of shared values as a team, talking often and openly about our goals, how we like to work, different work styles, and how we will function as a team. We do this on both a team level, as well as manager-to-employee. As team members, we do our best to lead by example and conduct frequent and ongoing check-ins with one another to ensure cohesion and that potential problems are dealt with early on. The goal? Constant clarity on team values and objectives. It’s not easy, and there are always obstacles or challenges to protecting your team culture—outside influences, timeline pressures, inconsistent engagements outside of your team, volume of work, etc. But there’s no way to function if we’re all working in silos, and if communication is not open, frustrations and confusion mount until the team breaks and work could fail. We gain efficiencies, as well as job satisfaction, when we work together.
  11. 11. OPUS AGENCY 11 Eight Ways to Build Collaborative Teams by Lynda Gratton and Tamara J. Erickson (Harvard Business Review; November 2007). Reprinted by permission of Harvard Business Publishing. TALENTED PEOPLE Roles feed the goals. CULTIVATING A HEALTHY atmosphere doesn’t happen by accident, or simply as a byproduct of the personalities involved. It requires an intentional focus and clearly defined goals. While studying how to “create collaboration” (they found eight specific ways), Harvard Business Review surveyed 1,500 people on 55 distinct teams, and their findings often defied expectations: Which is more important to promoting collaboration: a clearly defined approach toward achieving the goal or clearly specified roles for individual team members? The common assumption is that carefully spelling out the approach is essential, but leaving the roles of individuals within the team vague will encourage people to share ideas and contribute in multiple dimensions. Our research shows that the opposite is true: collaboration improves when the roles of individual team members are clearly defined and well understood—when individuals feel that they can do a significant portion of their work independently. Without such clarity, team members are likely to waste too much energy negotiating roles or protecting turf, rather than focusing on the task. In addition, team members are more likely to want to collaborate if the path to achieving the team’s goal is left somewhat ambiguous. If a team perceives the task as one that requires creativity, where the approach is not yet well known or predefined, its members are more likely to invest time and energy in collaboration.
  12. 12. “@HarvardBiz on 8 ways to create #collaboration, in this @OpusAgency #eBook: #Teams #CustomerSuccess #EventProfs” OPUS AGENCY 12 TALENTED PEOPLE … so what are the eight ways? 1. Investing in signature relationship practices Executives can encourage collaborative behavior by making highly visible investments— in facilities with open floor plans to foster communication, for example—that demonstrate their commitment to collaboration. 2. Modeling collaborative behavior At companies where the senior executives demonstrate highly collaborative behavior themselves, teams collaborate well. 3. Creating a “gift culture” Mentoring and coaching—especially on an informal basis—help people build the networks they need to work across corporate boundaries. 4. Ensuring the requisite skills Human resources departments that teach employees how to build relationships, communicate well, and resolve conflicts creatively can have a major impact on team collaboration.
  13. 13. OPUS AGENCY 13 TALENTED PEOPLE … SO WHAT ARE THE EIGHT WAYS? CONTINUED 5. Supporting a strong sense of community When people feel a sense of community, they are more comfortable reaching out to others and more likely to share knowledge. 6. Assigning team leaders that are both task- and relationship-oriented The debate has traditionally focused on whether a task or a relationship orientation creates better leadership, but in fact both are key to successfully leading a team. Typically, leaning more heavily on a task orientation at the outset of a project and shifting toward a relationship orientation once the work is in full swing works best. 7. Building on heritage relationships When too many team members are strangers, people may be reluctant to share knowledge. The best practice is to put at least a few people who know one another on the team. 8. Understanding role clarity and task ambiguity Cooperation increases when the roles of individual team members are sharply defined, yet the team is given latitude on how to achieve the task. Eight Ways to Build Collaborative Teams by Lynda Gratton and Tamara J. Erickson (Harvard Business Review; November 2007). Reprinted by permission of Harvard Business Publishing. Learn more:
  14. 14. OPUS AGENCY 14 Elena Cartasegna Co-Owner TALENTED PEOPLE: HEAR FROM THE EXPERTS The Starting Point THE STARTING POINT delivers large-scale change through executive training and a mobile learning platform for CEOs and management teams around the world—they know a thing or two about building high-performing teams. Opus has a long-standing relationship with co-founders Elena Cartasegna and Henrik Lannerhjelm; we reached out for their thoughts on team building: To know how to recruit and lead a great team, you first have to know what you’re competing about. For most organizations, the answer is talent. You can’t grow your business beyond your people. People are your business today. All the global leaders we meet want their people to be more innovative, to do more and take more ownership. Yet people can only do and take ownership for what they understand. This means the most essential task for leadership is to build and protect a culture in which your people—your team—can choose to learn and grow. We call it a habitat for talent. The habitat is the enabler for change.
  15. 15. Henrik Lannerhjelm Co-Owner OPUS AGENCY 15 TALENTED PEOPLE: HEAR FROM THE EXPERTS THE STARTING POINT CONTINUED We’ve been living in a world that rewards those who know what other people don’t know, who have information other people don’t have. We’ll soon live in a world where everyone knows almost everything. With the technological revolution, knowledge has become a widely available commodity. If everyone has access to every bit of information, then the ability to compete is not about knowing things. It’s about having more understanding than your competitors, not more knowledge. Understanding is figuring out the total picture, while knowing is grasping the details. Understanding is the competence to do what you don’t know.
  16. 16. 16OPUS AGENCY TALENTED PEOPLE Self analysis. ARE YOU FOSTERING a team-focused culture? Ask yourself these five questions: Am I hiring for empathy? Am I fostering collaboration by defining roles first and goals second? Am I not just competing for talent, but fostering a growth habitat after the hire? Am I differentiating with understanding rather than knowledge? Am I employing these eight best practices for building a collaborative team? 1. Investing in signature relationship practices 2. Modeling collaborative behavior 3. Creating a gift culture 4. Ensuring the requisite skills 5. Supporting a strong sense of community 6. Assigning team leaders that are both task- and relationship-oriented 7. Building on heritage relationships 8. Understanding role clarity and task ambiguity 54321
  17. 17. 17 Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results. Andrew Carnegie Shared Values OPUS AGENCY
  18. 18. “What are the shared #values that bind a high-performing #team together? @OpusAgency #eBook #EventProfs #TeamCS” OPUS AGENCY SHARED VALUES: THE OPUS PERSPECTIVE Turn a crowd of talented people into a team.­ SO YOU’VE EXERCISED due diligence, vetted for empathy and understanding vs. knowledge, and hired the best talent—good start. Now comes the hard part. Once the team is assembled, the trick is to define and defend a set of shared values everyone can coalesce around. Nailing the logistics—being consistently effective at delivering on your value proposition— should simply be a given. It’s the ante to play the game. But if you don’t have good values and a universal understanding of the why behind the what by when, you simply won’t last. No matter how brilliant your business plan. That’s why at Opus, our leadership talks openly about our values, which are a significant component of performance expectations and reviews, and selection criteria for our employee of the month and year-end employee awards. Integrity. Transparency. Innovation. Shared learning and experiences. Valuing respectful conflict in the shared search for the best answer. Embracing pressure with positivity and holding your fellow teammates up when they need it—these values become the glue that bind your team together when pressure starts ratcheting up. Here’s how you do it. 18
  19. 19. OPUS AGENCY 19 Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek (Portfolio, 2014) SHARED VALUES Adhere to your vision. SIMON SINEK’S BESTSELLER Leaders Eat Last considers highly effective teams. Including this remarkable story of how a culture of trust, transparency, and collaboration led to the invention of a product now used at nearly every desk, kitchen refrigerator, and brainstorming session in the world: Spencer Silver, the scientist who is partially credited with the creation of the Post-it, was working in his lab at 3M, actually trying to develop a very strong adhesive. Unfortunately, he wasn’t successful. What he accidentally made was a very weak adhesive. Based on the job specs given to him, he had failed. But Silver didn’t throw his “failure” in the trash out of embarrassment. In fact, the unintentional invention was shared with others at the company, just in case someone else could figure out a way to use it. And that’s exactly what happened. A few years later, Art Fry, another scientist at 3M, was in church choir practice getting frustrated because he couldn’t get his bookmark to stay in place. He remembered Silver’s weak adhesive and realized he could use it to make the perfect bookmark! And that was the birth of what would become one of the best-recognized brands in history, with four thousand varieties sold in over a hundred countries. The cross-pollination of ideas—combined with an emphasis on sharing across product lines—has led to an atmosphere of collaboration that makes 3M a place where employees feel valued. “Innovation from interaction” is one of the company’s favorite mottos.
  20. 20. OPUS AGENCY 20 Jeanne Robb Director, Global Corporate Events SHARED VALUES: HEAR FROM THE EXPERTS Cisco AT OPUS, we do a lot of work with Cisco, a company that has spent more than 30 years helping prove “that amazing things can happen when you connect the previously unconnected.” That connection can be literal, as in networks and servers, but it can also be experiential, which is why the company focuses on events marketing to support its message. Here’s Director of Global Corporate Events, Jeanne Robb, on the values which sustain a connected team culture: Team-first attitude: It’s all about the team. People can look great on paper, and they might even do a really good job, but ultimately their success will be determined by how they treat other people. Peer recognition: At staff meetings, we call out recent programs and have those involved present, so they have face time in front of their peers. We also celebrate successes by sending kudos emails from executives, stakeholders, and peers to our Senior Director and team alias email. Saying “we,” not “I”: We try so hard to foster a really open, caring environment, and push the team forward, ensuring they have time with executives and top management. I make a conscious effort to include employees every time stakeholders and executives come to me with questions on their programs—I want them to have that visibility.
  21. 21. “@cisco’s @JrobbRobb: “Community creates passion, which creates commitment.”@OpusAgency #eBook #EventProfs #TeamCS” OPUS AGENCY 21 SHARED VALUES: HEAR FROM THE EXPERTS CISCO CONTINUED Community building: If the team isn’t your number one focus, it’s hard to motivate people. I feel so blessed to have such a strong team, but it didn’t come because they’re all just good people. They are, but we worked really hard to foster that sense of community. Celebrating successes: That community creates passion, which creates commitment. I’m constantly trying to motivate my people to embrace all that they’ve achieved— “Look at what we’ve done. Look what we’ve achieved.” You won’t have a team if you’re not celebrating those successes.
  22. 22. OPUS AGENCY 22 SHARED VALUES Teamwork is (actually!) a science. AT OPUS, we often talk about how good teams don’t happen by accident. Turns out, MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory proved exactly that. In various industries across multiple countries, researchers equipped employees with electronic badges that collected communication behavior data—tone of voice, body language, who they talked to and how much, and more. The results proved how well we communicate has a direct impact on the bottom line. Concerned about uneven performance across its branches, a bank in Prague outfitted customer-facing teams with electronic sensors for six weeks. The first two maps display data collected from one team of nine people over the course of different days, and the third illustrates data collected from interactions between management and all teams. The New Science of Building Great Teams by Alex “Sandy” Pentland (Harvard Business Review; April 2012).Reprinted by permission of Harvard Business Publishing. COURTESY OF SOCIOMETRIC SOLUTIONS. GRAPHIC RECREATED BY OPUS AGENCY. REPRINTED BY PERMISSION OF HARVARD BUSINESS PUBLISHING. MANAGEMENT TEAM2 TEAM3 TEAM4 TEAM5 TEAM6 TEAM7 TEAM8 TEAM9 TEAM10 AMOUNT OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN TEAMS INTERNAL TEAM ENERGY F E D C B A AMOUNT OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN INDIVIDUALS AMOUNT OF INFORMAL ENERGY G H I F E D C B A TOTAL TEAM ENERGY (DOT’S POSITION REFLECTS WHO CONTRIBUTES MOST) IDEAL TEAM ENERGY AMOUNT OF INFORMAL ENERGY AMOUNT OF ENERGY CONTRIBUTED TO TEAM G H I Energy HOW TEAM MEMBERS CONTRIBUTE TO A TEAM AS A WHOLE Clearly, these data come from a team at a branch with poor customer service. We can see that A,C, and E give off more informal energy than the rest of the team does. A, B, and C contribute a lot to the team, while the others contribute nothing. The pattern illustrated here is often associated with hierarchical teams in which a boss (C) issues commands while his lieutenants (A and B) reinforce his directions. The three are a “team within a team,” and it’s unlikely that the others feel they have no input. Often leadersare shocked and embarassed to see how much they dominate a team and immediately try to change the pattern. Sharing such a map with the team can make it easier for less energetic individuals to talk about their sense of the team’s dysfunction, because data are objective and elevate the discussion beyond attacks or complaints. Engagement HOW TEAM MEMBERS COMMUNICATE WITH ONE ANOTHER This diagram shows that the same team’s engagement skews heavily to the same three people (A, B, and C). G is making an effort to reach the decision makers, but the team withing the team is where the engagement is. Those three people may be higher up the ladder or simply more extroverted, but that doesn’t matter. This pattern is associated with lower performance because the team is not getting ideas or information from many of its members. Leaders can use this map both to assess “invisible” team members (How can they get them more involved? Are they the right people for the project?) and to play the role of a “charismatic connector” by bringing together members who ought to be talking to one another and then helping those members share their thinking with the entire group. Exploration HOW TEAMS COMMUNICATE WITH ONE ANOTHER This map shows that management is doing a lot of exploring. Although its internal team energy is relatively low, that is OK. Energy and engagement cannot be high when exploration is, because when you’re exploring you have less time to engage with your own team. In a high-functioning organization, however, there would be more exploration among all the teams, and you’d see an arc between, say, Teams 3 and 4, or Teams 5 and 9. A time lapse view of all the teams’ exploration would show whether teams were oscillating between communication within their own group (shown by the yellow dots) and exploration with other teams (shown by the green arcs). If they’re not, it could mean silo busting is needed to encourage proper exploration.
  23. 23. Terry Stotts Head Coach, Portland Trail Blazers OPUS AGENCY 23 SHARED VALUES: HEAR FROM THE EXPERTS Take it from a professional team-builder. OPUS IS BASED just outside Portland, Oregon, which means you see an awful lot of Trail Blazers red and black around our office during basketball season. We figured we could learn about building great teams from someone who does just that for a living, so we reached out to head coach Terry Stotts. And then the darnedest thing happened—he replied! Stotts’ Blazers squads have been known for achieving success by adopting a we-before-me attitude, and a collegial team culture that’s increasingly rare in today’s star-driven professional sports landscape. Here are some of his key philosophies on building a winning team culture:» » Great team members hold each other accountable to the high standards and excellence their culture expects and demands.» » Team chemistry consists of the number of players on a team that make a commitment and priority to winning—the greater the number, the better the chemistry.
  24. 24. “.@trailblazers Coach Terry Stotts on #leadership & building a #winning #culture in latest @OpusAgency #eBook #Team” OPUS AGENCY 24 SHARED VALUES: HEAR FROM THE EXPERTS TAKE IT FROM A PROFESSIONAL TEAM-BUILDER CONTINUED» » Great teamwork is the only way to reach our ultimate moments, to create the breakthroughs that define our career.» » Successful teams have this mantra as part of their everyday existence: ”It can never be about me.” Teams win through joint efforts, so stop worrying about the potholes in the road and enjoy the journey.» » Do not overvalue your role to the team, and do not undervalue your teammates. Together, you win championships—each must raise the level.» » Four ways to be a great team member: 1. Lead by example. 2. Share positive, contagious energy. 3. Use your strengths to help the team. 4. Encourage!
  25. 25. 25OPUS AGENCY SHARED VALUES Self analysis. ARE YOU DEFINING and defending the shared values that will keep your team aligned? Ask yourself these five questions: Am I defining not just the what by when, but also the why? Am I fostering a culture where it’s okay to fail along the path to innovation, and information is transparently shared across the organization? Am I making a conscious effort to say we, not I? Are we considering not just the structure of our teams, but also: 1. How team members contribute to their team as a whole 2. How team members communicate with one another 3. How teams communicate with one another Am I approaching every day with Coach Stotts’ four ways to be a great team member in mind? 1. Lead by example. 2. Share positive, contagious energy. 3. Use your strengths to help the team. 4. Encourage! 54321
  26. 26. 26 Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success. Henry Ford Repeatable Methodology OPUS AGENCY
  27. 27. REPEATABLE METHODOLOGY: THE OPUS PERSPECTIVE Plan the work, work the plan. YOUR PEOPLE ARE IN PLACE. Your shared values are clearly defined, widely communicated, and modeled by your leaders in both word and deed. Now, it’s time to put theory into practice: Defining your methodology. And while that may not exactly be the most pulse-quickening term, building the right infrastructure and replicable processes to support your team culture really is the “secret sauce.” Success is to be found not just in bringing the right people and values together, but in teaching people how to be a team. It isn’t enough that teams work well together; The needle is moved when teams solve together. Taking advantage of strengths and shoring up weaknesses, encouraging mindful work that anticipates customer needs, sharing best practices across the entire organization (not just within individual teams), arming people with processes and tools to do their jobs with ever-increasing efficiency and the resulting bandwidth—these are the ingredients teams need to win. OPUS AGENCY 27
  28. 28. REPEATABLE METHODOLOGY: THE OPUS PERSPECTIVE PLAN THE WORK, WORK THE PLAN CONTINUED Successful teams share several defining characteristics:» » Everyone on the team talks and listens in roughly equal measure, keeping contributions short and sweet.» » Members face one another, and their conversations and gestures are energetic.» » Members connect directly with one another—not just with the team leader.» » Members carry on back-channel or side conversations within the team.» » Members periodically break, go exploring outside the team, and bring information back. *The New Science of Building Great Teams by Alex Pentland (Harvard Business Review; April 2012). Reprinted by permission of Harvard Business Publishing. Learn more: OPUS AGENCY 28
  29. 29. REPEATABLE METHODOLOGY: THE OPUS PERSPECTIVE Team isn’t just a who, it’s also a how. STRUCTURE AND A PROVEN, replicable process enable creativity. Established methodologies streamline the mundane, repetitive part of your team’s work, freeing them up to collaborate more effectively, determine innovative solutions, and focus on “polishing”— the eye-catching differentiation that will set your organization apart from the crowd. Consider:» » What are the general methods and practices utilized in your organization? Are they honed to true best practices and shared with the entire team?» » Do you have a central repository where master templates live as they evolve to meet the team’s needs?» » Are you strengthening the entire organization by sharing best practices across functional groups?» » Are you giving your people the tools to reduce repetitive work in order to foster collaboration?» » Are you providing training and mentorship for career growth that goes beyond simply skills training?» » Are you fostering an environment where outreach, relationships, and understanding are built atop the foundation of proven methodologies? OPUS AGENCY 29
  30. 30. “@salesforce VP of Strategic Events @eventgaucho on value of a “first #offer”: @OpusAgency #eBook #EventProfs #Team” OPUS AGENCY 30 Michele Schneider Vice President of Strategic Events REPEATABLE METHODOLOGY: HEAR FROM THE EXPERTS Salesforce OPUS HELPS SALESFORCE bring its brand to life at events around the world. We’re proud to partner with a company that Forbes Magazine has named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies five years running; FORTUNE has chosen as one of the World’s Most Admired Software Companies for the last three years; and that was ranked in the top ten of FORTUNE’S 100 Best Companies to Work For list for the last two years. Clearly, the leader in Customer Relationship Management places a premium on building and supporting high-functioning teams. VP of Strategic Events Michele Schneider has honed her best practices over six years of creating marquee events for the company: Trust and transparency are huge. The more we share with each other, the faster we can work, the more productive we can be, and the more we can help each other. It is crucial to be comfortable giving and receiving feedback—which isn’t always easy for everyone. We work in events, and there are hundreds of design elements to consider, spread across huge spaces. There will always be requests for changes during the pre-show walkthrough, so I coined the concept of a first offer. If you call the initial setup a first offer, no one takes the changes personally—after all, it was just an offer.
  31. 31. OPUS AGENCY 31 REPEATABLE METHODOLOGY Make the dialogue ongoing. REMEMBER THAT HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW piece on The New Science of Building Great Teams? It has some fascinating lessons to teach about the value of effective, ongoing communication, as well. These maps depict the communication patterns in a German bank’s marketing department in the days leading up to and immediately following a major new product launch. The department had teams of four members each in customer service, sales, support, development, and management. Besides collecting data on in-person interactions with sociometric badges, we gathered e-mail data to assess the balance between high-value face-to-face communication and lower-value digital messages. We did not provide iterative feedback in this project, but if we had, by the end of week one, we would have pointed out three negative trends the group could have corrected: The invisibility of customer service, overreliance on e-mail, and highly uneven communication among groups. If these issues had been addressed, the problems with the product might have surfaced much earlier, and the responses to them would probably have improved. MANAGEMENT MANAGEMENT MANAGEMENT MANAGEMENT SALES SALES SALES SALES SUPPORT SUPPORT SUPPORT SUPPORT CUSTOMER SERVICE CUSTOMER SERVICE CUSTOMER SERVICE CUSTOMER SERVICE DEVELOPMENT DEVELOPMENT DEVELOPMENT DAY 2 MANAGEMENT IS CLEARLY DOING MOST OF THE COMMUNICATING DAY 15 AS THE LAUNCH APPROACHES, COMMUNICATION IS STARTLINGLY LOW. DAY 6 MANAGEMENT BY E-MAIL CONTINUES DAY 23 TWO DAYS AFTER LAUNCH, TEAMS ARE FINALLY COMMUNICATING IN PERSON, AS THEY TRIAGE A DISASTROUS CAMPAIGN. Most communication is via e-mail, not face-to-face. In an ideal siuation, the green arcs would be thicker than the gray ones, and there would be strong connections among all teams. Sales is now clearly engaging with development, probably to learn the final details of the product offering and understand its technical aspects. Management is communicating face-to-face a little bit with every team except customer service, and most groups aren’t talking much to one another. The big jump in communication here might be a result of sales’ hammering development about why the product isn’t working and how it can be fixed. For the first time, e-mail communication is lower than face-to- face communication. In a crisis people naturally start talking more in person. Customer service is the least connected to other teams. Customer service is still not involved. Only sale and support interact with each other a lot in person— most likely because they are prepping for the launch. Customer service and support are locked in all- day meetings trying to patch the problems. Green indicates face-to-face communication Thickness of arcs indicates the amount of communication between groups Gray indicates communication via e-mail DEVELOPMENT GRAPHIC RECREATED BY OPUS AGENCY. REPRINTED BY PERMISSION OF HARVARD BUSINESS PUBLISHING.
  32. 32. OPUS AGENCY 32 REPEATABLE METHODOLOGY MAKE THE DIALOGUE ONGOING CONTINUED For one week, we gathered data on a team composed of Japanese and Americans who were brainstorming a new design together in Japan. Each day, the team was shown maps of its communication patterns and given simple guidance about what makes good communication (active but equal participation). Day 1 (Fig. 1): The two Japanese team members are not engaged, and a team within a team seems to have formed around the member at the top right. Day 7 (Fig. 2): The team has improved remarkably. Not only are the Japanese members contributing more to energy and engagement (with the one at the bottom becoming a high-energy, highly engaged team member) but some of the Day 1 “dominators” (on the lower right, for example) have distributed their energy better. The New Science of Building Great Teams by Alex “Sandy” Pentland (Harvard Business Review; April 2012).Reprinted by permission of Harvard Business Publishing. GRAPHIC RECREATED BY OPUS AGENCY. REPRINTED BY PERMISSION OF HARVARD BUSINESS PUBLISHING. FIG.1 FIG.2
  33. 33. REPEATABLE METHODOLOGY: HEAR FROM THE EXPERTS SPARK Executive Solutions SPARK EXECUTIVE SOLUTIONS has been helping leaders and business professionals—including those at Opus—build high-performing teams with a healthy working culture for 20 years. Here’s what owner and leadership consultant, Alyssa Gasca, has learned along the way about instilling shared values in a collaborative team: The highest performing companies are those that choose to consciously focus on building healthy teams. The most important thing is to create an atmosphere where team dynamics and culture can be discussed and addressed in a constructive way—honest talk and healthy conflict cannot be taboo. Organizations that learn how to do this effectively are the ones that attract and retain the best people over the long run. The secret to implementing and maintaining team culture is translating it into behaviors and habits that all of the team’s leaders clearly understand, model, and hold one another accountable to. An organization can say they value “transparency,” but if someone is not being honest when they speak, or information is omitted and people are not comfortable asking questions about it, then that culture is not succeeding in being “transparent.” If a company says that they are “innovative,” but do not allow individuals to take risks and gracefully recover from making mistakes, then they will not be successful creating a culture of truly innovative behavior. “#Leadership pro @GascaAlyssa on the method behind building workplace culture: @OpusAgency #eBook #EventProfs #TeamCS” OPUS AGENCY Alyssa Gasca Owner 33
  34. 34. REPEATABLE METHODOLOGY By the numbers… GRATTON AND ERICKSON have found patterns of communication to be the most important predictor of a team’s success…as significant as all the other factors—individual intelligence, personality, skill, and the substance of discussions—combined. »» The best predictors of productivity are a team’s energy and engagement outside formal meetings. Together those two factors explained one-third of the variations in dollar productivity among groups. »» Drawing on that insight, we advised a call center’s manager to revise the employees’ coffee break schedule so everyone on a team took a break at the same time, allowing people more time to socialize with their teammates, away from their workstations. »» It worked: AHT [Average Handling Time] fell by more than 20% among lower-performing teams and decreased by 8% overall. »» The manager is changing the break schedule at all 10 of the bank’s call centers…and is forecasting $15 million a year in productivity increases. »» He has also seen employee satisfaction at call centers rise, sometimes by more than 10%. Learn more: OPUS AGENCY 34 Eight Ways to Build Collaborative Teams by Lynda Gratton and Tamara J. Erickson (Harvard Business Review; November 2007). Reprinted by permission of Harvard Business Publishing.
  35. 35. 35OPUS AGENCY REPEATABLE METHODOLOGY Self analysis. ARE YOU PROVIDING your teams with the tools they need to win? Ask yourself these six questions: Am I mentoring the team to move from working well together to solving together, identifying core skills and talents that strengthen the overall team performance, resulting in client success? Am I providing team members with an avenue or forum to provide feedback? And are they empowered to provide and prepared to receive feedback? (e.g., the first offer approach.) Are we monitoring not just whether but how and how often teams are communicating? (Successful product launches may hang in the balance!) Are we encouraging and engaging in active and equal participation in our planning, designing, brainstorming… actually, in pretty much everything we do? Are our leaders modeling our organization’s values daily in all they do? Are honest talk and healthy conflict taboo? (Hint: They shouldn’t be.) 1 2 3 4 5 6
  37. 37. TeamCS™ What’s your organization’s North Star? THE OPUS OPERATIONAL PHILOSOPHY to foster a culture of team while creating Customer Success is called TeamCS. It’s grounded in the thinking outlined in this eBook, and enabled by highly effective, strategic teams. We spend a lot of time thinking about team—we’ve been doing so since 1993, and any success we’ve enjoyed is owed to the thoughtfulness with which we’ve nurtured a culture of teamwork. That doesn’t just make Opus a fun place to work (although it certainly is), but more importantly, it’s a philosophy that drives Customer Success. In short, we’re seeking to redefine the concept of what team really means. OPUS AGENCY 37
  38. 38. TeamCS™ People + Values + Methodology = Customer Success IT’S DECEPTIVELY SIMPLE, but nearly impossible to replicate. PEOPLE: We’ve spent over 20 years perfecting the concept of “team”—not just the who, but the how. In an industry where team is everything, Opus hires, trains, and mentors people specifically for effective collaboration. Our environments are created for teamwork and our service lines are totally integrated. VALUES: Opus employees operate with absolute clarity about how and why we do business— everything revolves around operating with integrity. We’re immersed in a culture of trust, transparency, open communication, and respect. METHODOLOGY: An unrelenting focus on Customer Success is baked into every milestone of every project we undertake. Our systems and processes are renowned in the industry for empowering success and enabling collaboration. “#TeamCS: The secret sauce behind how @OpusAgency operates. See the #eBook: #Team #CustomerSuccess #EventProfs” OPUS AGENCY 38
  39. 39. TeamCS™ What does this mean to our customers? TeamCS IS HOW OPUS has branded our culture of team, but the philosophies are applicable for any organization. For us, this means we become a part of our customers’ teams. They learn that they can trust us to listen, provide frank assessments, and deliver what we promise. For each pillar of TeamCS, we hold ourselves accountable to the following credos: PEOPLE: You can trust that our team will be well-trained experts at our respective jobs, but more importantly, that we are experts at collaboration. VALUES: You can expect that we will understand your objectives and provide relevant ideas and new strategies. We will perform with integrity and give our very best in every circumstance. We will work with positive attitudes, always seeking to provide creative solutions and results. METHODOLOGY: You can trust that our TeamCS methodology will ensure that proven systems and processes are always in play and constantly being improved. OPUS AGENCY 39
  40. 40. 40OPUS AGENCY OPUS AGENCYprovides event marketing, management, and production solutions to Fortune 1000 companies. Since 1993, we have been a trusted adviser to a diverse group of customers creating unique, high-quality events. We design, plan, and execute brand experiences that accelerate results and enable Customer Success. Our passion for Customer Success drives every aspect of our business—our amazing people, the values they share, and our best-practice methodology. We would love to show you how TeamCS works! COO Dena Lowery is responsible for Opus Agency’s operational performance. Leading a tenured team of executives to individual performance and client success, she excels at developing teams that run with a foundation of operational excellence along with a vision and drive toward innovation. A 20-year events marketing veteran, Dena is active within the industry and formerly served on the board of CEMA (Corporate Event Marketing Association), as well as local philanthropic boards.  Being the youngest of 10 children (and the only girl!), Dena honed her teamwork and negotiation skills at an early age. Growing up in a crowd, she learned to set herself apart, and always brings unique and innovative perspectives to the projects she consults on and the teams she leads. She graduated from Portland State University and resides in Portland, Oregon with her husband. Dena Lowery | 503.710.0635 |