or at ion
C ol labthe act of working together
one of the most important
skills a person can possess
“No matter how
inventive, creative, or
productive you might be,
as one person alone, you
can achieve only so
ver he ad In reality, collaboration
O involves overhead that results
in less work being produced
than might be expected.
S ine ry the combined efforts of
many can be collectively
greater than the sum of their
Per thinking about your job as a series of performances
Your personal goal should be
to give the best individual
performance you can while
ensuring that your team gives
the best collective
performance it can.
Jus Often organization deﬁnes
Ru les other rules simply because
they are believed to be
necessary for conducting
They are encoded into the Rules provide a safeguard
procedures, processes, and against chaos and anarchy.
methodologies employed by
your team and your
Af ford People are more likely to
follow rules when they fully
utono my understand their beneﬁts.
A Some rules may apply only to
Having too many rules or
rules that are too complex is
that remembering them can
If we are to maximize
performance, it is essential to
employ just enough rules to
afford autonomy, while at the
same time avoiding chaos.
P roc ess
ve me nt
Impro Rules maintained simply for
tradition’s sake may deny a
team the freedom to evolve
Processes that work in one
context may not scale to a
Processes that depend on
critical skills may need
revision when those skills are
no longer available.
The same is true of any lean,
cross-functional team on
which everyone plays a
Individuality is about more
The team is truly only as
than self-expression and
strong as its weakest link.
creativity. It’s also about the
conﬁdence to play a unique
part without any backup.
In a jazz orchestra, individual
parts have little redundancy.
Every part is critical to the
“A hundred mediocre people
may never be able to match
the achievements of one
genius, no matter how much
time they have.”
One of the most important
skills of highly effective people
is their ability to allocate a
sizable portion of their
personal bandwidth to
“When building a team,
aim for the quality of
people, not quantity.”
“The way a team plays as a whole
determines its success. You may have the
greatest bunch of individual stars in the
world, but if they don’t play together, the
club won’t be worth a dime.”
Av oid ing Irving Janis,1972
pth A collective mindset that is manifested
when a team’s quest for cohesiveness
leads it to all but abandon individual
creativity and critical thinking.
It’s important to ﬁnd a workable balance between
strong individual talents and team-centric
collaboration, and to ensure that people always
feel empowered to speak out.
Team players understand that
their individual contributions
are vital to the team’s
success. They also know that
they alone could not achieve
the same level of success
without the rest of the team.
If you trust someone, you are
conﬁdent that you can
depend on that person to
fulﬁll an obligation. If you
respect someone, you likely
admire that person and hold
his or her work in high regard.
Co nte xt
en ds on
D ep Tom trusts Mike to ﬁx a complex bug in the server code, but there’s no
way he’d trust him to even touch the user interface layer.
Bob doesn’t really trust Jin Li to interview the candidates for the ﬁnancial
controller position by herself, but he has great respect for the way she
handled the termination of the previous ﬁnancial controller.
Lily is constantly amazed by the results John delivers as a project
manager, but she doesn’t have much respect for the way he goes about
meeting his objectives.
Sharon really respects Lee for giving her the time and the opportunity to
grow into a new role, even though she had trouble in the beginning.
Sanjeev trusts his brother-in-law to repay a loan but is pretty sure that he
can’t trust him to keep a secret.
Tr ust an
When trust is present, things move
faster, and costs are lower.
Lack of Trust => Bureocracy => Time => Cost
Spread Spreading the word about
the efforts and results of
individuals helps to build
trust and respect for those
Similarly, communicating the
progress of the team can
help build trust and respect
for the team.
Metrics are very useful.
Reason for Loss of Trust or Respect Preventative or Restorative Measure
Failures or poor performance due to excessive bureaucracy Use just enough rules
Lack of faith in people’s abilities Employ top talent
Lack of teamwork or excessive egos Put the team ﬁrst
Lack of enthusiasm, motivation, or follow-through Commit with passion
Sense of being ignored or failing to respond Listen for change
Lack of initiative Lead on demand
Suspicions of poor management, fraud, or corruption Act transparently
Conﬂicting efforts Make contributions count
Poor efﬁciency, waste Reduce friction
Inability to deliver on time or lack of communication Maintain momentum
Constant breakdowns, defects, errors, low productivity Stay healthy
Lack of innovation or creativity Exchange ideas
Lack of excitement or inability to compete Take measured risks
Commit with Pa
“Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.”
Commitment contributes to the stability of the
team and helps its members execute even
when they must overcome challenges.
When people commit themselves to a team,
they pledge their time, attention, and energy to
help the team achieve its goals.
Passion is infectious.
passion can inspire
others, including your
customers and partners.
Feedback as a result of our actions
Relevant data from collaborators we work with
Relevant data from consumers we work for
Relevant data from competitors we work against
All other data relating to a speciﬁc situation
ser vat ion
Observing is the act of
acquiring data through
various inputs or senses.
observation begins with
expanding one’s ﬁeld of
view and being open to
everything that is going on.
wa ren ess
Per Observing your own actions.
wa the actions of collaborators with
Tea m a observing
whom you work.
gr ees of
Lis ten ing
2. Pretend listening (patronizing)
3. Selective listening
4. Attentive listening
5. Empathic listening
Separating the signal from the
noise is often a challenge, but
it’s probably the most
important part of observing.
The danger of receiving a
lot of data is saturation.
It’s important to know
how to ﬁlter the useful
information from noise.
Metrics “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not
everything that can be counted counts.”
In business, metrics such as key performance
indicators (KPIs) are used to keep score. When
used effectively and appropriately, they are an
essential part of observation.
Everyone must agree that the method of scoring is
a fair and useful measure of the team’s success.
isso na nce
cogn We already know that two people can be in
the same situation and observe different
things. Even if they observe the same things,
they can interpret their observations differently.
Conﬁrmation Bias: One of the most
dangerous tendencies that we all have is the
proclivity to see what we want to see.
Disconﬁrmation Bias : Avoid or discount
information that contradicts our preconceptions.
One of the most
that we all have is the
proclivity to see what we
want to see.
Avoid or discount
information that contradicts
isso na nce
c ogn cognitive dissonance is the
uncomfortable tension that results
from simultaneously considering two
If we understand our
biases, we are in a better
position to appropriately
compensate for them.
think o utside the box
when people talk about To even begin that process, you
thinking outside the box, they must understand that everyone’s
are referring to the process of box is different and is bounded
approaching a problem with by their experiences, including
a different perspective. their biases.
De ma nd
L ea d on
“The only deﬁnition of a leader is someone who
“leadership is inﬂuence—nothing more, nothing less.”
Init iat ive The most important part of leading is
taking initiative. Initiative is not and
should not be solely limited to those in
obvious positions of leadership.
Every member in a team must actively look for and identify
change and then react to it individually or as part of a
When leaders straitjacket people
with restrictive command and
reporting structures, they inhibit
creativity and agility and limit their
organization’s ability to respond to
change. The path to success lies in
giving up control.
gh Co nt
ust En ou