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The Key Habit of
Highly Effective Teams
Justin Rosenstein
@rosenstein
Hi, I’m Justin Rosenstein, co-founder of Asana.
(but this deck isn't about Asana)

For a decade, I’ve been
obsessed with one urgent
question for every leader...
Why do some teams march in unison
and achieve big dreams…
while others waste time, get stressed,
and lose steam?
I’ve found that the answer is
CLARITY
CLARITY OF
PURPOSE
CLARITY OF
PLAN
CLARITY OF
RESPONSIBILITY
Highly effective teams get 3 things
from their leaders.
Clarity of PurposeClarity of Purpose
1. Highly effective leaders give their teams
To organize the world’s
information and make it
universally accessible 

and useful
To give people the power
to share and make the
world more open 

and connected
To help create an open
world — where everyone’s
at home and can belong,
anywhere
Today’s best-performing teams know why they exist
and what they are trying to achieve.
Ours is:

To help humanity thrive
by enabling all teams
to work together effortlessly
Ask yourself:
If we’re wildly
successful, 

how will the world 

be different?
It’s easy to forget purpose when everyone’s
working hard and in the weeds.
A leader’s job is to ground the team
in its purpose.
Focused on relating purpose to
customer feedback
Every week, we review
quotes from our customers
that remind us when we are
and when we’re not fulfilling 

our purpose.
Look, we’re helping teams work together with 

less effort!
Ouch! We need to adjust because we’re not meeting
our purpose for this guy.
Deliver software to…
An engineer writes
code to…
To help humanity thrive
by enabling all teams
to work together effortlessly
Clarity of Purpose
filters down to everything
your team does — even
writing a line of code.
Focused on relating purpose to
everyday tasks
With Clarity of Purpose, team
members see the importance 

of their work — no matter how 

small or mundane their task 

might seem.
Does your team know:
Why your organization or project exists?
If you’re wildly successful, how the world will be different?
How your day-to-day activities relate to your purpose?
Are you providing Clarity of Purpose?
Clarity of Purpose shows your team why…
Next, Clarity of Plan will show them how.
Clarity of PurposeClarity of Plan
2. Highly effective leaders give their teams
Without Clarity of Plan:
Projects slip
past their
deadlines
Teams march
dutifully forward…
in the wrong
direction
Meetings end
with no clear
actions
1. 2. 3.
To achieve Clarity of Plan:
Start by creating a master strategy with
your team.
Purpose
Master Strategy
Master Strategy
The strategy articulates
the top-level pillars of how
you’ll fulfill your purpose.
Design Mobile Customer
Success
Ensure all teammates give
feedback and have access to
this master strategy.
Master Strategy
Master Strategy
Key Result
Purpose
Next, create key results you’ll be
tracking and working to achieve.
These are measurable goals to
be delivered by a specific date.
Key Result Key Result
Now you can map out the projects 

and tasks that will drive your 

key results.
Master Strategy
Key Result
Project
Task
Purpose
Key Result Key Result
Project Project Project Project Project
Task Task Task Task Task Task Task Task Task Task Task
Armed with Clarity of Plan,
your team will march confidently forward.
As you do, check in regularly on progress.
Celebrate successes, big and small.
But what happens 

when things aren’t
going according 

to plan?
Clarity!
Conduct a 5 Whys
1. Ask “Why?”


2. Then ask “Why?” of the answer you get.
3. Keep up the curiosity until you get to
the root problem, so you can address it
and get back on plan.
Why?
Why?
Why?
Why?
Why?
Are you providing Clarity of Plan?
Does your team know:
What the master strategy is and how to help craft it?
How their tasks fit into the master strategy?
How to measure successes against your key results?
How to get to the root of the problem when things veer off course?
Clarity of Responsibility settles the who.
If Clarity of Purpose shows your team why…
And Clarity of Plan shows them how...
Clarity of Purpose
Clarity of
Responsibility
3. Highly effective leaders give their teams
Clarity of Responsibility happens when
you make one person responsible for
each piece of your team’s plan.
When everyone knows their
areas of responsibility — the places 

they have autonomy — it eliminates
ambiguity, reduces politics, and
empowers team members to bring
their full motivation to work.
While only one person should hold
responsibility for a project, others can hold
responsibility for a task within it.
Remember: chaos starts when you make
two people responsible for the same thing.
Project
Task Task
Great leaders give Clarity 

of Responsibility and then
actually hand it off...
Micromanages, meddles, and holds 

tightly onto the controls 

rather than handing over responsibility
and empowering the team
Instead, it’s OK to ask them for an
outcome and give them the space 

and freedom to deliver it.


Then advise, coach, support, and 

help them grow — which they’ll 

really appreciate.
Focused on developing his 

team through responsibility and
accountability
Ask yourself:
Which kind of
leader am I?
Does your team know:
The one person responsible for each piece of your plan?
What their individual areas of responsibility are?
That they have autonomy to figure out how to deliver an outcome?
Are you providing Clarity of Responsibility?
While the path to achieving
great things will always 

be a challenge…
You can 

maximize
your team’s 

chance 

for success.
If you keep in mind that…
As a leader your job is to empower
everyone around you with maximum
clarity.
Clarity of
PURPOSE RESPONSIBILITY
It’s the difference between having great
dreams and achieving great things.
PLAN
The Key Habit of Highly Effective Teams
Want to send me feedback or questions?
I’m @rosenstein

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The Key Habit of Highly Effective Teams

  • 1. The Key Habit of Highly Effective Teams Justin Rosenstein @rosenstein
  • 2. Hi, I’m Justin Rosenstein, co-founder of Asana. (but this deck isn't about Asana)
 For a decade, I’ve been obsessed with one urgent question for every leader...
  • 3. Why do some teams march in unison and achieve big dreams…
  • 4. while others waste time, get stressed, and lose steam?
  • 5. I’ve found that the answer is CLARITY
  • 6. CLARITY OF PURPOSE CLARITY OF PLAN CLARITY OF RESPONSIBILITY Highly effective teams get 3 things from their leaders.
  • 7. Clarity of PurposeClarity of Purpose 1. Highly effective leaders give their teams
  • 8. To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible 
 and useful To give people the power to share and make the world more open 
 and connected To help create an open world — where everyone’s at home and can belong, anywhere Today’s best-performing teams know why they exist and what they are trying to achieve. Ours is:
 To help humanity thrive by enabling all teams to work together effortlessly
  • 9. Ask yourself: If we’re wildly successful, 
 how will the world 
 be different?
  • 10. It’s easy to forget purpose when everyone’s working hard and in the weeds.
  • 11. A leader’s job is to ground the team in its purpose.
  • 12. Focused on relating purpose to customer feedback Every week, we review quotes from our customers that remind us when we are and when we’re not fulfilling 
 our purpose. Look, we’re helping teams work together with 
 less effort! Ouch! We need to adjust because we’re not meeting our purpose for this guy.
  • 13. Deliver software to… An engineer writes code to… To help humanity thrive by enabling all teams to work together effortlessly Clarity of Purpose filters down to everything your team does — even writing a line of code. Focused on relating purpose to everyday tasks
  • 14. With Clarity of Purpose, team members see the importance 
 of their work — no matter how 
 small or mundane their task 
 might seem.
  • 15. Does your team know: Why your organization or project exists? If you’re wildly successful, how the world will be different? How your day-to-day activities relate to your purpose? Are you providing Clarity of Purpose?
  • 16. Clarity of Purpose shows your team why… Next, Clarity of Plan will show them how.
  • 17. Clarity of PurposeClarity of Plan 2. Highly effective leaders give their teams
  • 18. Without Clarity of Plan: Projects slip past their deadlines Teams march dutifully forward… in the wrong direction Meetings end with no clear actions 1. 2. 3.
  • 19. To achieve Clarity of Plan: Start by creating a master strategy with your team. Purpose Master Strategy
  • 20. Master Strategy The strategy articulates the top-level pillars of how you’ll fulfill your purpose. Design Mobile Customer Success
  • 21. Ensure all teammates give feedback and have access to this master strategy. Master Strategy
  • 22. Master Strategy Key Result Purpose Next, create key results you’ll be tracking and working to achieve. These are measurable goals to be delivered by a specific date. Key Result Key Result
  • 23. Now you can map out the projects 
 and tasks that will drive your 
 key results. Master Strategy Key Result Project Task Purpose Key Result Key Result Project Project Project Project Project Task Task Task Task Task Task Task Task Task Task Task
  • 24. Armed with Clarity of Plan, your team will march confidently forward. As you do, check in regularly on progress. Celebrate successes, big and small.
  • 25. But what happens 
 when things aren’t going according 
 to plan?
  • 26. Clarity! Conduct a 5 Whys 1. Ask “Why?” 
 2. Then ask “Why?” of the answer you get. 3. Keep up the curiosity until you get to the root problem, so you can address it and get back on plan. Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?
  • 27. Are you providing Clarity of Plan? Does your team know: What the master strategy is and how to help craft it? How their tasks fit into the master strategy? How to measure successes against your key results? How to get to the root of the problem when things veer off course?
  • 28. Clarity of Responsibility settles the who. If Clarity of Purpose shows your team why… And Clarity of Plan shows them how...
  • 29. Clarity of Purpose Clarity of Responsibility 3. Highly effective leaders give their teams
  • 30. Clarity of Responsibility happens when you make one person responsible for each piece of your team’s plan.
  • 31. When everyone knows their areas of responsibility — the places 
 they have autonomy — it eliminates ambiguity, reduces politics, and empowers team members to bring their full motivation to work.
  • 32. While only one person should hold responsibility for a project, others can hold responsibility for a task within it. Remember: chaos starts when you make two people responsible for the same thing. Project Task Task
  • 33. Great leaders give Clarity 
 of Responsibility and then actually hand it off... Micromanages, meddles, and holds 
 tightly onto the controls 
 rather than handing over responsibility and empowering the team
  • 34. Instead, it’s OK to ask them for an outcome and give them the space 
 and freedom to deliver it. 
 Then advise, coach, support, and 
 help them grow — which they’ll 
 really appreciate. Focused on developing his 
 team through responsibility and accountability
  • 35. Ask yourself: Which kind of leader am I?
  • 36. Does your team know: The one person responsible for each piece of your plan? What their individual areas of responsibility are? That they have autonomy to figure out how to deliver an outcome? Are you providing Clarity of Responsibility?
  • 37. While the path to achieving great things will always 
 be a challenge…
  • 38. You can 
 maximize your team’s 
 chance 
 for success.
  • 39. If you keep in mind that…
  • 40. As a leader your job is to empower everyone around you with maximum clarity.
  • 41. Clarity of PURPOSE RESPONSIBILITY It’s the difference between having great dreams and achieving great things. PLAN
  • 43. Want to send me feedback or questions? I’m @rosenstein