Turning People into Teams

Rituals and Routines That Redesign How We Work

David Sherwin (Author) | Mary Sherwin (Author)

Forthcoming: 10/09/2018

Turning People into Teams
Collaborative strategies work for teams when they're designed by teams where each person is heard, valued, and held accountable. This book is a practical guide for project team leaders and individual contributors who want their teams to play by a better set of rules.Teams all want more alignment among members, better decision-making processes, and a greater sense of agency and ownership over their work. The Sherwins argue this can be achieved through specific rituals designed to address the conflict between these ideal team goals and the messy, complicated reality of human nature.

Picture this: it's a beautiful Monday morning. But you're stuck in a freezing conference room with a bunch of coworkers you don't know, listening to leaders you've never met explain how important an upcoming project is. How will you learn to work with these strangers? It can be easy, even fun, if you have the right rituals.
  
Rituals are group activities during which people go through a series of behaviors in a specific order. Some rituals are small and specific, such as the sounding of a gong before a meeting. Others are more complex, like a week-long onboarding process. Rituals bind people together for a purpose greater than themselves. They help teams develop and nurture new ways of working. And rituals are inclusive, because they solicit the perspectives of everyone on a team.

Each ritual in this book will help your team come to a collective point of view and make choices together in situations that matter. There are rituals here for finding common purpose at the beginning of a project, getting unstuck when you hit bottlenecks or brick walls, and for wrapping up at the end and moving on. They're all highly customizable to any industry, work situation, or organizational philosophy.

Teams deserve the power to shape the processes that affect their day-to-day work. By implimenting just a few of these rituals, a group of people can be turned into a team captures the strengths of each individual and achieves incredible results.

Read more and meet author below



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Overview

Collaborative strategies work for teams when they're designed by teams where each person is heard, valued, and held accountable. This book is a practical guide for project team leaders and individual contributors who want their teams to play by a better set of rules.Teams all want more alignment among members, better decision-making processes, and a greater sense of agency and ownership over their work. The Sherwins argue this can be achieved through specific rituals designed to address the conflict between these ideal team goals and the messy, complicated reality of human nature.

Picture this: it's a beautiful Monday morning. But you're stuck in a freezing conference room with a bunch of coworkers you don't know, listening to leaders you've never met explain how important an upcoming project is. How will you learn to work with these strangers? It can be easy, even fun, if you have the right rituals.
  
Rituals are group activities during which people go through a series of behaviors in a specific order. Some rituals are small and specific, such as the sounding of a gong before a meeting. Others are more complex, like a week-long onboarding process. Rituals bind people together for a purpose greater than themselves. They help teams develop and nurture new ways of working. And rituals are inclusive, because they solicit the perspectives of everyone on a team.

Each ritual in this book will help your team come to a collective point of view and make choices together in situations that matter. There are rituals here for finding common purpose at the beginning of a project, getting unstuck when you hit bottlenecks or brick walls, and for wrapping up at the end and moving on. They're all highly customizable to any industry, work situation, or organizational philosophy.

Teams deserve the power to shape the processes that affect their day-to-day work. By implimenting just a few of these rituals, a group of people can be turned into a team captures the strengths of each individual and achieves incredible results.

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Meet the Authors


Visit Author Page - David Sherwin

David Sherwin is cofounder of Ask the Sherwins, LLC We help organizations better integrate design into how they make products, and develop custom training programs and tools for cross-disciplinary teams. A Fellow at frog, a global product strategy and design firm, he was previously an Interaction Design Director and co-authored frog's Collective Action Toolkit. Previous books Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills and Success by Design: The Essential Business Reference for Designers, and I write regularly on the intersection of life and design.In past roles, he has led product and service design teams, including those focused on Lynda.comand LinkedIn Learning. He is currently an adjunct faculty member of two graduate-level interaction design programs: California College of the Arts and Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design. He resides in Oakland, CA.



Visit Author Page - Mary Sherwin

Mary Paynter Sherwin is cofounder of Ask the Sherwins LLC and a seasoned writer, educator, and public speaking coach with expertise in helping individuals and schools develop rigorous curricula and activities for their learning needs. She has worked on multiple successful training programs and product innovation toolkits, such as Kaiser Permanente s i60 Innovation Toolkit with Propelland and frog s Collective Action Toolkit. With David, she is on the visiting faculty of Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design and California College of the Arts, and was formerly an adjunct professor at St. Mary s College of California.

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Endorsements

"Turning People into Teams is a treasure trove of exercises to help your team work better together and accomplish more, no matter what discipline you work in. I look forward to sharing this book with leaders in design, product, and engineering." Katie Dill, Vice President of Design, Lyft "Our organization is always shifting our teams, programs, and products to meet the needs of our network and adapt to an evolving field. I find the rituals and routines in Turning People into Teams invaluable to keep our team grounded. From strengthening relationships when forming new teams to project delivery and evaluation, the rituals and routines in this book will level up your project management process and guide you to the best possible outcomes." Leslie Lindo, Director of Community Engagement, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies "I love the Sherwins' articulation of how rituals can be used for real strategic advantage. What I love even more is that using rituals can be one of the most inexpensive, rapid ways to drive meaningful change in your organization." Linda Quarles, Director, Strategy + Organizational Design, frog "Bringing together people with different perspectives and areas of expertise is always a challenge. In Turning People into Teams, the Sherwins equip teams with the context and exercises needed to help them understand each other, break down barriers, and align on long-term goals. Using these exercises with my company's cross-disciplinary teams of designers, engineers, product managers, and data scientists has already led to several breakthroughs in how we identify goals, share feedback, and work together." Patrick Weiss, Director of Product Design, Omada Health "In Turning People into Teams, the Sherwins share practical rituals, routines, and activities that help teams understand what it means to exhibit ownership, values, and integrity as individual contributors to a collective effort. Curating best practices from corporations, nonprofits, and academia, this book has insights into building effective teams and transforming how they work." Ratna Desai, Director of Product Design, Netflix "When working on teams, you might not always get to choose whom you work with but you should definitely choose to read this book. Turning People into Teams enlightens the reader with an inspiring, common-sense approach on how to turn a group of individuals into a team that functions on multiple levels. The Sherwins practice what they preach, and this book gets rid of the fluff and provides a practical mindset and corresponding tools to evaluate your team's rituals, behaviors, and values. They prove that it's possible for almost anyone to learn the etiquette of collaboration." Alie Rose and Simona Maschi, cofounders of the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design "In a world with so much written about team processes for greater development speed and effectiveness, Turning People into Teams provides immediately usable tools for any kind of team to work better together. For anyone leading a multidisciplinary team, this book provides simple frameworks for getting at the hard challenges of team dynamics and a common format for engaging your team that can be experimented with and freely adapted to work within any context. Many changemakers and writers focus on the initial stages of ensuring a team is aligned to a shared goal. While this is critical, in my work helping organizations transform to be more innovative, I find the true test of change to be how it plays out over time. The Sherwins provide not only effective methods for framing the problem to be solved but also tools for completing a team's efforts and learning from what has been done. Written in a tone that invites readers to craft their own solutions, this book offers a way of approaching teamwork that you and your team can own and adapt to your needs." Turi McKinley, Executive Director, Org Activation, frog

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