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Redesigning The Way We Work

Season 1, Ep. 21


This week on UX Cake I had a chance to catch up with David and Mary Sherwin about their new book, Turning People Into Teams. I love this topic — how do we go from being just a bunch individual people with different motivations, attitudes, working styles, communication styles, into a team where the whole is better than the sum parts? It’s about redesigning the way we work together. And the exciting thing about it is that it can happen in small incremental ways; it doesn’t mean a big re-org or overhaul. This is great for all kinds of working collaboration with very practical techniques you can put into place. 


David and Mary Sherwin are co-founders of Ask The Sherwins, LLC, a consulting and training firm that helps organizations around the world develop the capabilities they need for stronger teamwork. They have coached product and service design teams and developed innovation training for organizations such as Philips Oral Healthcare, Google UX Community and Culture, and Eventbrite. The Sherwins have collaborated on three books, including the bestseller Creative Workshop.


Show Highlights:

  • Mary shares a short synopsis of Turning People Into Teams. Teams have the ability to improve any aspect of their working process by creating rituals to create the outcomes they want. Teams have the power to create change without waiting for a budget, a great mandate, or another person in leadership. 
  • David defines what they mean by rituals and routines, for the purpose of the book.
  • Mary shares how the new book can be useful to managers who want their teams to use the book, but may also be used by individuals on a team can benefit from the ideas in Mary and David’s new book.
  • David elaborates on a section of the book dealing with when teams are stuck and offers useful tools in a “stuck” situation.
  • Mary says teams need to acknowledge when they noticed something going wrong.
  • “It’s really easy for a team to develop a robust vocabulary around all the crap that’s going wrong, but it’s difficult for them to talk about what is going well in a way that’s meaningful.”
  • David shares that teams need to figure out where they are in a project and what the expectations are between the manager and the team.
  • “If you’re going to have leaders participate in one of the rituals, everyone needs to have equal time and equal voice in sharing what’s needed throughout the ritual so that there won’t be a power imbalance.”
  • Mary discusses the 4 Player Conversation by David Kantor which was referenced in their new book. This can can help individuals understand the differenent roles in team conversations.
  • Getting the team to test an aspect of the ritual and sharing the data as proof of success can be important.


Resources:

The Sherwins 

The Sherwins on Twitter

Article about rituals 

Their new book Turning People Into Teams

Turning People Into Teams Toolkit

David Kantor’s book, Reading the Room


You can now support the future of the UX Cake podcast and be a part of the UX Cake community at Patreon.com/uxcake 


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