Building a Gestalt Team

In Grok the Gestalt of Teams, Diego Rodriguez says effective teams often have common approaches to work habits:

An effective innovation team is composed of people who are really good at what they were put on earth to do, but also share a common way of getting things done in the world.

Princeton WordNet defines Gestalt as:

S: (n) gestalt (a configuration or pattern of elements so unified as a whole that it cannot be described merely as a sum of its parts).

How can a team take abstract, individual ideas about how to approach work, and put them in practice in a way that is stronger than the sum of those parts?

A shared collaboration platform can help team members put their approaches into practice in a non-abstract way, by making all of the pieces of work visible, trackable, and open to contribution. That reduces the friction associated with recording and sharing ideas, reviewing and refining them, adding details, speaking up if there’s a problem, getting clarification, and ultimately getting the finished, deliverable pieces of work done.

Rodriguez also says that to build strong teams, individuals’ strengths and weaknesses need to be visible:

If you’re good at something, we want to know so that we can you let you be the lead on that. And if you’re not so good at something, we want to know that too so that we can help you get better, or keep you from wasting time on that front.

People will voluntarily tell you what they perceive to be their strengths. But without seeing their work activity and the results, one doesn’t have any way of verifying that their perceptions are correct. Conversely, they won’t volunteer their weaknesses either, because of a fear that revealing them might hurt their chances for advancement.

With a shared collaboration platform, it’s easier to detect the patterns that emerge as a team works on various projects. These work patterns can help one see individuals’ strengths and weaknesses, and where in the work process they are most evident. Knowing that, teams can better balance individual members’ skills and strengths to maintain a strong, focused, and productive group.

Image Credit: Andrew Kator

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