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Podcast | How To Supercharge Your Teams with Pam Hamilton

Just because we sit in the same room or department, that doesn’t make us a team! In fact, a lot of companies have lost sight of what a great team is because they’re just doing things the way they’ve always been done.

Those were just a couple of the hard truths Pam Hamilton shared with us in this week’s episode. Pam recently released her second book, Supercharged Teams: Power Your Team With The Tools For Success which offers 30 tools for great teamwork. And she was kind enough to share some of them with us in this conversation.

From why we all have a responsibility to call out opportunities for better behaviour to how sending voice notes can be far more effective than writing long emails, and the need for shared goals in creating effective teams – this episode is packed with ideas for supercharging teams and resetting the rules around how we collaborate.

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Running order

0:00 Introduction to Pam Hamilton
1:57 Why should someone supercharge their teams?
3:17 What has changed since the pandemic in terms of this team dynamic?
5:32 What does a supercharged team look like? And who’s accountable for it?
9:12 What should you be looking for in your culture to drive that behaviour?
10:15 How do we set goals effectively for our teams? And what comes next?
16:16 Pam’s thoughts on synchronous and asynchronous learning and working.
21:07 Effective ways to share knowledge in the hybrid working environment.
25:35 Interesting ways people have implemented Pam’s tools.
28:11 What could managers be doing to lay the groundwork for supercharged teams?
30:25 How should people be approaching offline collaboration and workshops today?
38:47 Quickfire questions.

Six takeaways on supercharging your teams

Why should someone supercharge their team?

Work has changed hugely, and it’s changing faster than it has before! However, people have been working in the same ways they’d always done, just faster. And nobody was really changing their approach or resetting it for the new world of work. So, part of supercharging our team is considering how we work well together in the current climate and make the most of shared talents. At the same time, tapping into all the data we’ve now got access to.

These trends were evident well before the pandemic but have arguably been exacerbated. We can’t be experts in everything, and it’s hard for us to contain all the expertise we need in a small team, so we work with lots of people located globally and remotely. The good news is we’ve proven this can just as effective, if not more so.

What does a supercharged team look like?

Normal teams are fine, there’s nothing wrong with them. But a supercharged team has elevated the way they work to a higher level of performance. When the pressure is on, they can achieve results and enjoy doing it. Trusting each other and knowing the strengths and weaknesses is a key part of that. You know who to pass particular tasks onto and who is best placed to help you reach that high-performance level. 

Sometimes we treat teams like families and just accept certain behaviours, but the way we work is so competitive that we should recognise behaviours that aren’t useful while calling them out in a positive or encouraging way.

It’s not just a manager’s role to recognise and drive this, we all have to play our part! Pam wanted to write a book for everyone, regardless of their seniority level or the type of team they’re working in. We all have a responsibility to contribute and call out better ways of working, and the book is designed to empower anyone to do that.

From a leader perspective, you have to give everyone the permission to ask what can be improved and make suggestions. From small things like why am I always in unnecessary meetings or email chains to big issues like toxic behaviour within a team.

Setting shared goals effectively as a team and driving people towards them

A common mistake we make is thinking that sitting in the same room or department means we’re in a team – that’s not true. If people aren’t attaching themselves to actions or trying to achieve goals within a certain time frame, we’re just a department. 

So, even if you’re in a committee with no set end date or a board meeting that happens every week, we should still have goals and deadlines that we’re setting. Pam gave a great example of a company that would normally spend two hours every Monday just providing updates to each other. They chose to flip that structure and use the time to ask if anyone needed any help – moving from information sharing to something that actually results in a decision, action or idea within a time period.

It’s also about reframing your language or goal – people might think they’ve agreed on a goal but actually have a different interpretation of what that term or word means. For example, we all might think we know what digital transformation means, but we could have varying definitions or levels of understanding.

How Pam views synchronous and asynchronous learning and working

In Pam’s opinion, some companies still aren’t prepared enough. They think that we all need to be there in a meeting while one person scrolls through 50 slides, and we all pretend to listen while clearing out our emails. It’s a waste of time and energy, especially if we’ve got people logging in from all over the world and in different timezones for something that could have been a podcast. Hence why she’s a huge fan of asynchronous learning!

The culture we’ve developed over the past 15 months has been intense and in response to a crisis – we’ve probably used the time that was our commute to work and it’s taking up free time. This is an issue Pam covers in chapter three of Supercharged Teams, which is all about taking back control of your time and essentially stopping it from being swallowed up by bad meetings or emails. 

Effective ways to share knowledge in the hybrid working environment

Unfortunately, we’ve lost the opportunity to overhear each other. This is particularly hard on newer people to your team, as they can no longer understand the culture through the actions of others or get a pulse for what’s happening at the company through osmosis.

Offering buddying and shadowing opportunities virtually is an option, giving them chances to not necessarily participate but overhear others talking. However, it’s not spontaneous like those water cooler chats – so perhaps ask someone what’s going on in their life at the start of calls or set an agenda-free meeting on particular days each week.

What could managers be doing to lay the groundwork for supercharged teams?

Part of the reason Pam wrote the book for everyone is that there’s no guidance around how to manage up in a team. How do you communicate feedback to your leaders?  Because all good relationships are a two-way street. Teams should manage leaders and stakeholders, take the responsibility to keep them updated or get them involved. Good leaders want to be challenged or brought in when they’ve got expertise to share – so become a manager within your team. 

How to connect

Find Pam on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Learn more about Supercharged Teams.

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