The Red & Yellow team are always on the hunt for new ways of thinking; creative approaches to solving business (and human) problems, and the impact that technology and humans’ attitude towards their career/life balance is having on the workplace. Not only are we innately curious, but it’s also the only way to ensure that we provide education that keeps pace with the world.

While we pride ourselves on newsletters that offer exclusive, original content – created specially for our valued subscribers – every once in a while we come across existing material we believe worth sharing, like this great article by The Medium. Here’s a quick synopsis for those that don’t have time.

Why are some teams more effective than others? Is there an ideal environment?
Musings about team dynamics that led the author, Kathryn Jarrell, XPLANE’s Chief of Service Delivery, to interview as many consultants in order to find the ‘secret sauce’. Her realisation, “there isn’t a magic formula,” was supported by Google’s extensive research released round about the same time. Their data “pointed in opposite directions”, substantiating her personal frustration at not being able to find a clear pattern.

A study published by The Harvard Business Review found that “time spent … in collaborative activities has ballooned by 50% or more in the last 20 years”. The data supports what we all know already – teamwork is essential, for a number of reasons. This is why many business schools have revised their curriculums to emphasise team-focused learning that prepare students for this complex world.

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The core determinants of healthy teams
Kathryn’s key insight when reviewing all the research, was realising that two pervasive qualities prevailed: trust and respect. Easier said than done, right? Well, we love her simple solution – focused on three foundational elements, along with practical ways to make it happen.

The magical ‘how’: 3 exercises

01. Shared Goals

Trust starts with everyone working towards a shared mission or goal. While “goals” are more measurable, “missions” create passion. Both are important.

02. Team Understanding
A deep understanding of each individual’s strengths and weaknesses, backgrounds and areas of expertise, help teams to identify as an interconnected unit vs a group of individuals. All of this helps foster authentic trust and respect.

03. Established Ways of Working
This exercise will help teams to define the norms that govern the outcome, addressing critical factors like communication, decision-making, acceptable behaviour, conflict resolution and more.

Keeping on track
These 3 techniques will result in initial breakthroughs, but to ensure progress is maintained, it’s an ongoing process – not a once-off initiative. In her words “If you don’t provide consistent follow through, the trust and respect you’ve developed will begin to diminish”.

Read the full article here

The synopsis of the article was written Red & Yellow’s Head of Customer, Heléne Lindsay. After many, many years in agencies working on most of the major brands, and some interesting start-ups, she crossed over to academia, thinking it would be quieter. Wrong! She is a passionate consumer advocate, a staunch critic of brands that under-deliver and absolutely loves her Bedlington Terriers.