We decided to convert the stakeholders into a team of trusted advisors - the "Spinach in Your Teeth" or SIYT team (term courtesy of Howard Ashcraft). The SIYT team would give honest feedback in the best interest of the brand prototype. In essence, they would tell us if we had spinach in our teeth.
Collaborative team dynamics can be tricky - most people initially assume that collaboration means elimination of conflict. Not so. In The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni identifies lack of open conflict as an indicator of team dysfunction. Successful teams trust each other. Team members are open about their mistakes and weakness, creating a space for passionate and productive conflict.
Five Dysfunctions admits that a culture of trust doesn't happen overnight. It requires "shared experiences over time, multiple instances of follow-through and credibility, and an in-depth understanding of the unique attributes of team members." At the same time, there are strategies to expedite trust. Five Dysfunctions suggests a few things which basically help team members see each other as humans:
- Discussing personal histories
- Open identification of individual strengths and weaknesses in the context of the project
- Behavioral Profiling Exercise (think Myers-Briggs, DiSC Profile, or Predictive Index)
How have you built your personal SITY team? What strategies do you use if you're on a project with a dysfunctional team?