Modern Workplace | The Art of Teamwork

Modern Workplace | The Art of Teamwork

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(Music) – Teamwork for me means that the sum is greater than its parts. – The gathering of everyone’s best ideas to put the best product forward. – The act of selflessness, coming together for one positive impact. – I like to surround myself with people who will challenge me. – If everyone is sitting around nodding their head in agreement, you’re probably not really leveraging the amazing competencies that you’ve pulled together. – Often, it’s precisely the thing that makes great teams great that makes teamwork hard, which is that we’re different. – The world is filled with problems and the reality is that we’re not going to solve them as one person. We’re going to solve them in really amazing, impactful teams. – To me, teamwork is everything. Humanity itself is a team. (Music) (Music) – A new generation, changes in technology, a globally dispersed workforce, and renewed company cultures are transforming the very nature of teamwork. Teams are becoming more fluid, responsive, and diverse. In order to deliver the best results, new principles, new tools, new technology are vital to empower high-performing teams. With all of these changes, how do we keep on top of things? – Shane! – Hey! – To learn more about what makes great teams work, I spoke with the man who wrote the book on dream teams, Shane Snow. – For me, I think the goal of a group is, given the set of problems you think you’re gonna be trying to solve together, what is the most diverse array of perspectives and heuristics that you can put in the pool so you can draw from? What are the different kinds of thinking that we need and therefore the different kinds of people, but not just staying at the surface level, but people who have lived lives that have led them to develop different approaches and different perspectives. – I thought it’d be fun to get his thoughts on a team in action. So we headed to Theo Chocolate. – I don’t know what they’ve got in store for us. – It is a full working food manufacturing facility, so it’s not Willy Wonka, you guys gotta put the whole thing on. You also get a beard net. – How does one wear a beard net? – Like that. – Alright, let’s go check it out. – That smell stays with ya. We’re a bean-to-bar chocolate, which means we make our chocolate from scratch. The core of it will always be it’s organic, it’s fair trade, we have a quality product. It’s always going to be rooted in it. – You’ve written a bit about this in terms of having that sort of almost, mission. There’s the North Star, but there’s room to deviate. – There’s a purpose and there’s some core principles – Yeah, and that allows us to pay farmers fair living wages. So this is Stanley, he’s been- How long have you been at Theo? – Around nine years. – nine years. So for the last nine years if you had a Theo chocolate bar, there’s a good chance Stanley roasted it. – Ooh. – There you go. – Yes. – Thank you. Love it. Alright so you’ve got 90 people. With a team of that size where people will move between disciplines, help out and whatnot, do you find, sort of, sales has an idea that then makes its way into production or production helps with marketing? – Yeah! Especially when it comes to product development. If someone has a cool idea, like there’s the new Cosmic Crisp Apple, the first apple to be actually cultivated in Washington. That idea came across the marketing team, which then ran it past product development and the confection kitchen. within a few weeks, the kitchen’s up and running, making a brand new bar. You might be one day helping make chocolate, you might be helping in the retail store. Like maybe it’s Valentine’s Day, and we have hundreds of people coming in, folks in marketing and sales teams, like, get in there, help package chocolate, everyone’s kinda able to be flexible and help each other out. So that’s pretty much the whole bean-to-bar process, you’ve seen us roast beans, mold off bars themselves, It’s just all handmade product. It’s all… people put their hearts into it whether it’s by making cool ideas for chocolate bars, actually making the chocolate bars, it’s all done by people; it’s a family. – Yeah, I love the different disciplines coming together and I know that we’re going to talk a little bit more about that. – Yeah, I think it’s also clear that none of it would happen if we were the people in that building. – That is also very true. Aaron, thank you so much, really appreciate it. – Yeah, thank you guys for coming, it’s nice to meet you guys. – After chocolate making, next I wanted to spend some time diving into the future, where things are headed. And to do that, there was no better place than one of my favorite spaces on the Microsoft campus, the NEXT Space, where we think deeply about the future of productivity. – After you. – Thank you. Wow. – So welcome to the NEXT Space. – This is super cool. I don’t even know where, where do you even start? – Where does your eye immediately go out of interest? – Well, this thing kind of looks like this organic-looking wooden spaceship so that’s where I first was drawn to. Wow, what is this? – This our Next-Generation Meeting Space. What, what actually was the key moment is we took out the conference table. – Yeah. – And what that did is it democratized the meeting space. Collaboration is a lot easier when everybody feels free to share. – What in the research led to this premise of two heads aren’t always better than one? – Most of the time, when we choose to work with someone, we choose to work with them because they’re like us and what that means is we think pretty similarly. However, if we think differently, there’s potential for us to to discover more between our points of view or to add our points of view together and discover something more. There are parts of our mental toolkits that can add up to more but only if they are different in fundamental ways. What I like about this is most people in business think that meetings suck. – Mm hmm. – Right? People who are there aren’t participating so why are they there? So if you’re going to have a meeting, how could technology actually make the opposite happen? Meetings are a pleasure, meetings are something where you get more done-
– Purposeful They’re purposeful. – And our philosophy actually takes that one step further which is if meetings can be super productive when you’re there, maybe we can have fewer of them. – Yeah. Leaders who buy in to the vision of what the future of teamwork should look like, they inevitably will have the question of, “Well, how do I do it?” Some of it is design and tools that help you execute that cultural change. – The seating is very intentional. So this is lean-forward seating. Right? It’s nothing that you would lean back in, it’s nothing that you would be able to tune out in. – Is the word I’m looking for, “boingy”? The chair is boingy? – It’s a technical term. – It makes me want to like, spring to action. – But you feel like you’re in motion. – This looks like the most awesome, – Yep, this is a,
– tablet. – heads-down space, this is the chance for you to do that individual, heads-down, flow work that you need to in order to be able to be focused. – Are these soundproof? Hello! Echo! – Uh oh! – Oh no! I broke the future of work. – It’s all fixable-here. – This building, this facility, the customers and partners who come here, are frequently wanting to talk about digital transformation. You know, that’s the buzzword in the industry. But I think what people have realized is, you can spend all of your money on tools. If you do not change how people work- – Right. you’re not going to get any difference. You’re still gonna be using the tools like you were 30 years ago. So, it’s not enough just to have the tools, you have to have that cultural transformation, as well. I found the reading about heuristics fascinating. Like, it’s that sort of diversity what helps build this sort of range of heuristics in terms of problem-solving? And tell us what a heuristic is, to begin with. – Sure. What are the ways that you can think different that actually do contribute to adding up to more. And there’s kind of two main ones. There’s perspectives, which is how you encode the world, how do you see things, the angle at which you look at things. Those are clearly built by the lives we’ve lived, which are in turn a function of who we are. And the second is heuristics, which is your rules of thumb for solving problems or navigating the world. We all have different heuristics for dealing with people, and not all of those different perspectives and heuristics are relevant to solving every problem, but they often are. – And where are some examples of people who’ve done this successfully or things that people watching can take away to try and do this more effectively in their own organizations and lives? – One of my favorite dramatic examples from history is the Wright Brothers. Now, the Wright Brothers, you look at them and you don’t think of, traditionally, what we’d say, “diversity.” They grew up in the same environment, they have a lot of similar thinking processes. So, when they would work on hard problems, they did this, essentially a game, almost, where they would force themselves to take very hard sides, very hard perspectives on whatever problem. The way that they made sure that it didn’t go over the cliff, was, at lunchtime, they would call time-out, they’d eat their sandwiches, and then they’d switch sides of the argument. And what this forced them to do, is to remember that they can’t be married to their idea. This is actually a pretty practical tactic. We are going to have a debate so that, in the middle of that, we can explore this discomfort and find something new. It’s not about winning or losing, it’s not about getting personal, that’s where the magic happens. – After focusing on the future, I really wanted to show Shane how these things are coming together today. So we headed to one of the offices, not just to see the tech in action, but to meet Mark Swift, one of the people behind the design of the tools. So, Shane, I’m excited that Mark has been able to join us, Partner Director of Design for Microsoft Teams, so, really, the product, let us say, the vanguard of solving this on behalf of Microsoft. You know, Mark, tell us a little bit more of what that role actually entails. Well, we have teams split across four locations, so, bringing the team together is obviously, not only for the product but for my team, also a challenge. That was where the crux of this came from, it’s like, how can you build teams that are more successful, that know each other better, that work together better. I’m in rhythm with how my team is thinking. I know the norms of when my team’s up, when my team’s down. So I can adapt to how my team’s feeling. In the past, the tools haven’t been there to enable us to understand each other better. – What was most impactful for you in that space? – I was really interested and fascinated by the meeting room. It felt more human, I guess? – And that’s really the idea of the future of the meeting room, it’s like, how can you capture that, if you were filming it for a movie, it wouldn’t be a single shot of a single person talking, it’d be multiple shots based on the context and the action that’s happening within the room. You’ve just been nodding, and you’re kinda smiling. You’re reacting to what I’m saying. If you’re remote, you can’t see any of that, because it’s that relationship between the people. It’s just simple things that, taking that physicality and how can you map that physicality to digital tools? The modality is just extending the conversation into more richer forms and enable decisions and forge stronger relationships, really. – Mark, thanks so much for your time. – Yes, thank you. – Thank you both. Have a good day. – See you soon. As you’re flying home tonight, what do you think is gonna be keeping your mind busy after today? – I mean, I think I have, like, 10 blog posts I wanna write about things I learned from Mark and Beth and– – Yeah. – Everything. – Biggest takeaway for me was this notion of leaning into and embracing some tension. We’re not always perfect at it, but we can be better. And that doesn’t matter whether you’re on the factory floor of a chocolate factory, standing in the halls of a modern workplace at a software company, or right in the frontlines anywhere else in the world. Leaning in, embracing our differences and working together to achieve more. (Music)

1 thought on “Modern Workplace | The Art of Teamwork”

  1. Don't forget people that this company and others are trying to SELL you their product. All this supposed research is designed to sell that product. 90% of people I have spoken to hate these modern designs in the work place.

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