Inside Swip
Inside Swip

December 2017
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How They Get Sh*t DONE: Dr.Liane Davey – The author of “Leadership solutions” and “You First”


What’s in common?

Bobbleheads, Crisis Junkies, Bleeding Backs, Spectators, Royal Rumblers – what’s in common in all of this terms? Okey, it’s a pretty hard question. Don’t feel bad about not knowing it. These are all counter-productive behaviors that, otherwise healthy teams, tend to slip on and become poor.

Here is a little bit more for each of them:

All of this comes from the deep observations of our guest today – Dr. Liane Davey – the co-author of Leadership Solutions: The Pathway to Bridge the Leadership Gap” and the author of You First: Inspire Your Team to Grow Up, Get Along, and Get Stuff Done” (The book where the concept of team pathologies comes from).

So, without further ado, here are Dr. Davey’s tips and tricks on collaboration and effectiveness:

The interview

Dr.Liane Davey – psychologist, public speaker, and business strategist. Co-author of Leadership Solutions: The Pathway to Bridge the Leadership Gap” and the author of You First: Inspire Your Team to Grow Up, Get Along, and Get Stuff Done”

Q: In your opinion, what is the team characteristic that has the most impact on the effectiveness of collaboration inside a team?

A: Is it cheating to have two? I have to include alignment to the purpose of the organization.

Twenty years ago, I got started in the team effectiveness space with my doctoral research on how team dynamics impact innovation. One of the most striking findings was that teams can’t collaborate and innovate in isolation. They need to be well-connected to the strategy of the organization.This way they create the right kind of value.

That said, in the ten years I’ve been consulting extensively with real teams, I’ve discovered a second characteristic that I find extremely important: trust.

Teams where the members trust each other have significant advantages over those where they don’t:

First, when you have confidence in your colleagues, you let them do their jobs. That means the team doesn’t waste time workshopping everyone’s individual work.

Second, teams with trust have the confidence in one another to broach conflict and to do it constructively. When you don’t trust one another, you either avoid conflict altogether or have conflict in destructive ways; either passive-aggressively or full-on aggressively.

Third, teams with high trust actually enjoy adding value for one another and that makes their collaborations more effective.

Q: In your experience, what is the number one mistake that teams make that saps their effectiveness as a team?

A: Teams fail to define their business purpose. If you don’t know what your organization is counting on you to do, it’s easy to fall into some serious traps.

First, if you haven’t got a lofty mission, you just waste your time in the operational detail. Second, if you don’t have a shared purpose, you end up contributing as a group of individuals, rather than as a team. Third, if you don’t define the tensions that are supposed to exist within your team, it’s easy to fall into the trap of not disagreeing enough.

If you articulate the unique value each role should bring to your team and how those are often in tension with each other, you make explicit the obligation each team member has to bring their unique perspective—particularly when that perspective is in conflict with another on the team. Most teams never take the time to spell out their unique value as a team and the result is that they never get as a whole greater than the sum of the parts.

Q: How many teams do you currently work with/in?

A: I’ve been working in the area of team effectiveness for 20 years and exclusively for the last 10 years. I work with about a dozen teams each year and have worked with at least a hundred teams in all different industries in my career to date.

Liane’s Tips On Better Collaboration

  1. Figure out what your organization is counting on your team to do
  2. Do some kind of an assessment process to raise self-awareness and to highlight (and normalize) the natural friction that will come from the diversity of thought.
  3. Set ground rules as a team. Be specific about the uncomfortable situations—how will we disagree with each other, what does our version of productive conflict look like, what will we do when someone steps out of line.

Do those three things and your team will be on a much better trajectory.

Hi! I am George Spasov - Growth guy at Swip. I simply love creating things! I've created many articles for sites like, Swip, etc. I've been part of the creation of three startups. I love hearing creative electronic music and I love the brain-shattering creativity of mystery/crime novelists. Like my creations? Follow me and Swip around in social media!

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