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  • Kathryn

The measure is the team

Updated: Feb 14, 2020

In all my work, the key ingredient is people and good communication. Tom Loosemore has some great thinking on this:

"The unit of delivery is the empowered, multidisciplinary team."

Enabling people to work together by creating a clear shared vision, but more than that celebrating difference. We need all kinds of people and their valuable skills, insights and input to make a team work and a service develop. People work at their best when they bring their whole selves, so whether you like listening to christmas music in the office, collect stamps or have an obsession with Harry Potter, love cycling, own a parrot, are on a fitness regime kick boxing, prefer earl grey tea from the machine, hate peas or just need to be quiet... I know I've celebrated working with people for all the things that they each bring (there's a person behind each of those details). The need to control/block can be dissolved when someone knows how their contribution fits into a shared bigger picture.

The ability to be open increases when the team know that risk, experimentation and learning as you go is allowed. We know so much, but we also know so little... things are always changing. The key is to be open... to really engage and work together and that takes trust.

Changing an organisational culture of control into one of trust is a journey many of us are on. I've found the Global Jam events a brilliant place to learn about people and how to enable them (and about myself and my need to let go). If someone is just not in tune on a thing, then switch to something else. Follow people's passions and use that positive energy. It's ok to not understand something, just try it and see what you learn by doing.

Others have written far more eloquently about this subject, but it involves all of us, so every perspective is important. I find the people stuff the most rewarding and also the most challenging. Communication for me is key and knowing where I stand enables me to do what I do well. I've messed up and I've really made a difference - the key is to review, learn and keep on keeping on. In organisational design there are a very wide set of perspectives to consider, my next challenge is to learn how to juggle them and enable us to work together better.

A few of the teams I have had the pleasure to work with, MCR Service Jam, Co-op Digital, Global Jams HQ, Leeds Cycle Hack, ODI Leeds and Leeds GovJam.

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