Dream Team

This week's trek is inspired by Suzanne Johnson Vickberg and Kim Christfort's work on building good team chemistry.

Are there days when you feel like the last thing your team would ever do is hug it out?

Every team has ups and downs but when chronic conflict plagues a team even the most basic tasks can be hard to accomplish. Vickberg and Christfort would argue that critical to building a high functioning team is the ability to tap into every working style, not just the most dominant.

Introducing Your Dream Team Exercise

What It Is
A 20-minute exercise to help you better understand the dynamics that might be making it hard to work well as a team.

Why We Love It 
We all have those moments when we wish we could make it easier to work as a team. This exercise helps you identify the most common working styles that are needed to realize your dream team.

How It Works
1. Identify a group you are working with at the moment where you feel the dynamic could improve. This could be a group you are a part of for a project, a team that you are leading to accomplish a specific goal, or your direct reports.
Take a few minutes to review the characteristics of the four different working styles outlined below courtesy of HBR's New Science of Teamwork. Select the role(s) you tend to play most often with the group you identified in #1.

  • Pioneers are risk-lovers who “value possibilities” and “spark energy and imagination on their teams.” They are comfortable with gut-based decisions, have a “big-picture focus,” and are “drawn to bold new ideas and creative approaches."
  • Guardians are order-seekers who “value stability” and “hesitate to embrace risk.” They bring rigor and pragmatism to a team as “data and facts are baseline requirements for them, and details matter” as does “learn[ing] from the past.”
  • Drivers are fierce competitors who “value challenge and generate momentum.” They are results oriented and place a premium on winning. They often “view issues as black-and-white and tackle problems head on, armed with logic and data.”
  • Integrators are camaraderie builders who “value connection” and “believe that most things are relative.”  Since “relationships and responsibility to the group” are important to them, they tend to be “diplomatic and focused on gaining consensus.”

3. Now, consider the role each of the members of your group tend to play. Take a few minutes and think through the biggest areas where your team tends to get stuck or where tension arises. How might the different working styles at play account for some of these hiccups? Are there any working styles missing and how might that contribute to pain points along the way?

4. Finally, consider what you might be able to do to ease the dynamic. How can you help the group better understand the value of each working style? Given your own specific working style, how might you learn to be more open to the range of working styles in others?

Source: HBR.

Want to dig deeper into this topic?
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treks@lifetrekkers.me and tell us which one you liked and what you learned!
Here's what your fellow trekkers have to say about past treks:

"The Tutu trek was one of my favorites. Bob Carey's story was really inspiring and the exercise motivated me to reflect on a number of things that I feel vulnerable about in life and the work place."
Alex Farivar, Product Manager @ Google
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