Cover of book Dream Teams: Working Together Without Falling Apart

Dream Teams: Working Together Without Falling Apart

by: Shane Snow

Check out the book on Amazon | your public library.
28 Highlights | 7 Notes
  • When we put our heads together, we hope we'll become better, not just bigger. But the reality is, we almost always don't
  • Most of them haven't spent their lives assuming they can default to muscles to solve problems, so they use tools like negotiation and communication before they resort to force. And often that turns out to be a better way.
    Note: on why women succeed in law enforcement.
  • In technical terms, perspective is the way we map the world around us to our own “internal language.”
  • … world-class performance often comes down to an athlete's mental game.
  • &hellip I'm going to use the team word “difference” in this book as a catchall whenever I generally mean two or more things that are not the same. Whenever I use the word “diversity” from now on, I'll try to pair it with an adjective for specificity. Like “demographic diversity” or “diversity of shoe sizes.”
    Note: diversity = difference (race, gender, cognition, skills, personality, desire, will power, drive, grit)
  • … we have to look for proxies for different thinking instead
  • the more we can identify differences in life experiences, the more we can predict cognitive diversity.
  • Yamashita says that great teams take time to understand as much as possible about how their members roll: How do they learn best? Do they do their best original work in the morning or afternoon? How do they like to manage their time? What do they need in order to thrive? How do they argue? What are their biggest strengths, their superpowers?

    Then, anytime we face a challenge, Yamashita suggests stepping back and doing two things: “First, take a moment to frame the problem.” Is it a routine problem? Does it require breaking new ground? How high are the stakes? Routine problems don't require much (or often, any) cognitive diversity, while novel problems benefit from it greatly. “Based on that,” says Yamashita says, “do a casting session.” He uses the word &ldquocasting&rdquo deliberately. A movie director doesn't just grab whoever's around or whoever was in the last movie she made. The cast for every movie needs to make sense for the plot and script.

    Note: #eq, #know-thyself, Keith Yamashita
  • The study concluded that being put together to work on something with people with different viewpoints “jolts us into cognitive action” that we don't get when we work with people who we assume share our perspective.
  • … having a mix of age diversity in the room, having a mix of straight and openly gay team members, and having people who are both parents and not increases such groups' chances of better decisions.
  • It also helps us know what kinds of thinggs to look for when building teams to solve problems together: different perspectives and heuristics, and the things that are proxy for them — experience, identity, and biology.
  • … cognitive diversity makes us smarter. But unfortunately, all the studies show, it also makes us more conflict prone. And that conflict often blows our teamsup before we can make use of our differences
  • When they needed to solve a problem, they would raise their voices and start arguing. But then the shopkeepers would do something interesting. After a fair amount of debate, they would stop, switch sides of the argument, and start yelling again. The one who'd just debated against something would now argue for it, and vice versa. They'd do this until they worked out a solution to whatever they were stuck on.
    Note: about Wilbur and Orville Wright
  • Businesses that rank high in “innovation” — the ones that grow quickly and produce game-changing products and services — tend to encourage the airing and clashing of diverse viewpoints. Not just having differences, but speaking up.
  • A hundred small instances of being included as part of the group can lead to organizational trust, and even explain how people like Tikhonov and Vasiliev could fight like they did and still work together. They never stopped engaging each other in the name of the cause.
    Note: the Russian Five - hockey team
  • Kung Fu taught Diggs that friction sharpens our mental weapons, and that those weapons are more powerful together than alone. Spiritual mathematics had taught him that seemingly conflicting things can combine to form something wonderful. And chess taught him, like Valery Vasiliey and the Wright brothers, to depersonalize conflict in the name of getting better.

    “The most important thing is to realize that the problem is on the board,” Diggs would reminisce. “It's not with you”

    Note: Robert Diggs - founder of the We Tang Clan.
  • Play, according to Huizinga and later behavior scientists, is an absorbing experience where we escape from our regular social or physical obligations and experience pleasure. It becomes a refuge from real-world problems, danger, and fear.
  • Recast as play, threatening social interactions became social practice…
  • The more successful we are using a set of perspectives and heuristics, the more inflexible our brains become on that particular topic. Psychologists call this “cognitive entrenchment”.
  • Provocateurs are people who force us out of inertia
  • Continual prgress depends on leaders making it safe for provocateurs to make waves, for whistle-blowers to raise their hands, and for dissenters to speak up when needed.

    … This means that, contrary to our instinct, the collaborator who provokes or contradicts us is our ally. As Dr. Nemeth puts it, “One must learn not only to respect and tolerate dissent, but to welcome it”

  • Sometimes a solution of lower value can point the way to a bettor solution.
  • He developed a culture of curiosity on his team - where everyone looked around the world for anything that could help them with hockey.
  • The lesson is that Dream Teams don't try to figure out which perspectives to ignore. They realize that if they are going to minimize the chances of making progress, the important thing is not to ignore any perspective, no matter how weird it seems.
  • Shared values, she says, makes us more likely to think the same, to not question the way the group thinks. They shift different perspectives toward the same perspective. This is good for keeping peace, but not for problem solving. It sucks the group out of the the Zone.
  • But trusting someone's intentions - as the best teams do - is quite powerful. When we trust someone's intentions, it's suddenly all right if they are different - if they believe different things, have different goals from time to time, or even if they make mistakes. With that kind of respect, we are able to have cognitive friction without things becoming personal and blowing up
  • A team is more likely to become elite, Walker's research shows, “if it has a captain who leads from the shadows.” And crucially, every Dream Team in sports, as Walker defines it, “had open, talkative cultures in which grievances were aired, strategies discussed, and criticisms leveled without delay.” Humility allows these teams to have hard conversations without blowing up. You do it because you want what is best for the team.
    Note: Sam Walker
  • When our brains release onytocin for a person who is not in our in-group, the bias we have for them disappears. And one of the key ways we can do this that is through sharing good stories