playing well with others

most of our team agreements are implicit, rare to make it explicit

(I think is something we’ve been working towards in our work sessions)

happy teams: communicate well, share a common vision

unhappy teams have broken contracts (probably implicit)

“what’s their expectation of what I’m bringing to the meeting?”

“curating” the skills of a team — tell people at the outset what you expect

“what if…we put everyone in the room at the beginning!” poor communication, treating people differently, realize who is actually ON the team.

“one of the more insidious problems is failing pretty” – we let it go on too long. people don’t go to the meetings or respond to emails, but somehow there’s no consequences?! but if you’re not talking about what’s going wrong and why, it’s still failing

a really great team where they invented a person to blame everything for. “Tony forgot the coffee. Tony broke the printer. Tony put that bug in the code.”

getting teams to flow: if you’re building a team (hi Susan!) you have a lot of flexibility.

how do we build a team that communicates well?

slide will have book (etc) recommendations

“the invisible, non-work-oriented work of being on a team” – the social part of that, knowing each other as people.

“the fluffy things aren’t fluffy”

(so some of this is actually connecting with things that I’ve been talking about with my therapist, altho in re: social anxiety. weird.)

happy teams are balancing their workloads.


make your contracts explicit

write down the things that you’re going to do as a team.

what is the goal of our team? might have to a meeting, may discover that not all agree.

the question of tools. “I don’t know anyone who’s email isn’t the bane of their existence”

the process work of putting things together (categorizing, etc) seems like a lot of time, but is really, really, really important. it has to be intentional.

“most people were perfectly happy bitching about their email”

giving people a REASON to use the tool(s)

having a cadance (a pattern of working, agile, weekly meetings, whatever) is important, something the whole team buys into.

conversation with Jared Spool about skills vs roles — what happens when you have more than one person with the same skillset? And in our area, our intentions of what to do may overlap! (UX, Content strategy, etc, etc) you can cross-train with your skills, but who will make the decisions?

not team leader, but process leader; the person who builds a framework to help uphold the contract. to help you answer “are you getting what you need to reach the goal?” and say YES. in Agile the person who “removes the blockers” — neutral faciliation role

what if you’re not the person building or running the team?

sometimes it’s enough to just ask for those things; go in assuming the best until otherwise.

otherwise: be subversive. not talking behind people’s backs, but creating the environment in which you want to work. (which is pretty much what I used to do with Dale)

just start communicating well. be in charge of getting the team to know each other. start asking what the goals are. going out for coffee. being the bridge (my words, not hers).

an introvert who has practiced the craft of networking. her story is sort of the opposite of mine, only in so much as what I’m learning about meeting people I’m learning from someone who is AMAZING vs the cautionary example.

LOL. (I’m starting to think that there’s a lot of introverts who are really into making connections between people who “ought to” know each other.)

[minor personal revelation about previous job and small talk. talk to Oakwright.]

“reset” is probably the best idea for teams that have been working poorly for a while. can you bend the team leader’s ear? “Can we have a check-in on how the *team* is doing?” Every team has something working well, start with that!

forcing ourselves to be intentional (I think that’s one of the overall lessons of this) — “what’s important for us to agree to?” (I wonder if the Social Contract is a good model for this?) you don’t call people out for failing it, but build a culture where that’s just how it is.