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  • Writer's pictureJulia Posselt

Intelligent Teams. At will and with skill

Have your team code based on psychological safety, taking the future into focus.

One of the qualities that distinguish teams creating breakthrough from other teams is the emphasis on their quality of contact, their way of being in creative relationship.

1 + 1 = 5

What makes breakthrough teams more than the sum of its parts?

Firstly, when it comes to team constellation it’s about integrating diversity: Different personalities complementing each other in perspective and action; extroverts curious listening to the introverts’ voice; leaders leveraging the leader in others by allowing themselves to follow the lead of a good idea.

Secondly, it’s about bringing awareness to the unique team code: Agreeing on group norms; making the unwritten rules explicit; allowing for conversational turn-taking and equally shared voice time; willingness to having social sensitivities out in the open.

Creating a safe and courageous space…

What makes intelligent teams flourish?

One of their core strengths is the ability to create psychological safety; a muscle that wants to be trained well. Intelligent teams know what is needed for them to create a safe and courageous space. Safety allows each of them to speak up, think out loud, and disclose what is valuable to be shared with the team.

The key ingredient to that safe space is courageousness, which is needed when skillfully voicing differences, bravely taking risks, and allowing themselves as a team to fail smart. The space is filled with the team’s courage when it boldly steps into uncertainty.

Resilience as the team’s state of mind…

How to leverage team resilience in strategic programs and innovation in business?

Another strength of breakthrough teams is holding a future focus while working at their creative edge. Wandering into the unknown, bearing the uncertainty of future states not yet clear or definable. Having assumptions meet reality, dealing with emerging truths, seeing and working with pattern specific and unspecific to the ecosystem.

Shared values, a passion for the team vision, and believing in something larger than the sum of its parts. Embracing friction. Welcoming conflict as a gift of something new that wants to happen. Intelligent differentiators making the difference.

Commitment to “We” that also knows and allows “I”.

Turn insight into action…

Strategyzer, Psychological Safety: A Prerequisite For High Performing Teams, by Stefano Mastrogiacomo on October 30, 2019.

Stefano offers an easy-to-use Team Contract Canvas that will help you explore your unique team code.

For the discovery of your unique team code, try these additional questions:

  • How do we want to be together? (think “feel of the room, atmosphere”)

  • How do we want to be together when things get difficult? (think “conflict, tension and what will help using it as a creative catalyst”)

  • How do we know we have it? (think “observable indicators”)

  • What will you be accountable for? (think “what is it each team member brings to the table to really make it happen”; be super specific)

Deepen your insight…

Havard Business Review, High-Performing Teams Need Psychological Safety. Here’s How to Create It, by Laura Delizonna, August 24, 2017

Laura offers specific recommendations to create a place of spacious acceptance:

1. Approach conflict as a collaborator, not an adversary.

2. Speak human to human.

3. Anticipate reactions and plan countermoves.

4. Replace blame with curiosity.

5. Ask for feedback on delivery.

6. Measure psychological safety.

Havard Business Review, Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace, interview with Amy Edmondson, January 22, 2019

Amy Edmondson is a professor at Harvard Business School who first identified the concept of psychological safety in work teams in 1999. Extract from the transcript:

“Even at Google. So, to me, that was quite a powerful and surprising moment. Even at Google, they would have differences – which really means that leadership matters enormously. That team leaders, project leaders, even at a place like Google can make this a great energizing experience, or a kind of unsafe experience where people are holding back and then that has real consequences for the team.

You want to know more about creating culture and atmosphere with your team?

Send me an email or call me.


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