The Three Things NOBL Learned from Running Team Design Bootcamps

The Three Things NOBL Learned from Running Team Design Bootcamps

Teams across the globe always search for transparency and great communication within their organizations. An issue that can easily be fixed with better guidance. That’s why organizations like NOBL exist. NOBL is a team of organizational designers, experience designers and team coaches that can help put meaning back into your company.

NOBL recently partnered with Breather by offering Team Design Bootcamps throughout a few of our key Breather locations. The first of many of these workshops kicks-off TONIGHT, February 7th at 6:30PM at our 45 West 28th Street space in New York.

In October, NOBL launched our first round of Team Design Bootcamps at Breather locations in New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Like-minded individuals from all over North America, South America, and Europe gathered to share some of the challenges that they’re facing in their own organizations. One thing became clear—no matter what the size of the organization or your industry, everyone is facing similar issues:

  1. Every team is struggling to find the right level of autonomy. Teams are torn between vague missions directed from the top down, consumer needs emerging from the bottom up, and misalignment with other teams’ requests. To address these competing demands and establish a level of control, teams must think about whether they should be operating in a “fixed” or “fluid” fashion. “Fixed” methods are better for tasks or markets that require consistency, while “fluid” methods are better in uncertain environments where experimentation is more important.

  2. Like it or not, meetings are critical to how work gets done. Meetings aren’t inherently bad—in fact, they’re essential in a collaborative workspace—but they must become more productive and efficient. Developing a regular schedule of meetings with your team will improve communication and accountability while removing unnecessary meetings from your agenda. Need some guidelines? We’ve compiled a series of articles on running better meetings.

  3. While change is necessary, implementation leaves a lot to be desired. While organizations claim to want change, they aren’t effectively communicating the need for change, or empowering people to make the necessary changes. As a result, teams are getting frustrated by broken promises and feel that they’re being left in the dark.

So aside from attending one of our upcoming Bootcamps, what can you do to start tackling these issues? There’s no silver bullet, but there are some simple ways to get moving in the right direction. The most important thing you can do is look for ways to turn your team into a self-aware, self-editing team. By that we mean, a team that steps back and looks at how they’re working—not just what they’re working on—and then develops and implements ideas to make the process better. One of the simplest, and most overlooked, ways of doing this is a retrospective:

  • A Team Retrospective focuses on team dynamics: how people are interacting with each other, and what policies need to be adopted to make the workplace more supportive and productive.

  • A Process Retrospective takes place after a project is completed, and reviews what went well and what could have worked better. These have also been referred to as “post-mortems,” and help the team double down on success while avoiding pain points in future projects.

When you’re trying to establish a new habit, it can help to get out of your regular environment, which is why going to a different location (even for a few hours) is great. And you don’t have to organize an elaborate offsite retreat or spend a lot of money—just going to a new location a few blocks away can inspire the team.

It also helps to start small. At the end of your next status meeting, ask people for feedback about the meeting: was it too long? Did everyone need to be there? Then try to suss out one simple policy that can be applied to future meetings. This will get you in the habit of looking for improvements, rather than going with the status quo.

Didn’t get a chance to attend one of our Bootcamps? Don’t worry, we’ll be launching more in 2017, so sign up for NOBL’s newsletter to hear about the next round of sign ups.

Author: Bree Groff, CEO, NOBL
Bree Groff started her career in education, helping schools become places where students are empowered to share their best selves and best work with the world; where learning is personal, essential, and best done with others in pursuit of wildly ambitious goals.

Now, Bree does the same for Fortune 500 companies as the Managing Director of NOBL’s NYC practice. Previously, Bree was the Director of Innovation at Flint Hill, a Senior Service Designer at Peer Insight, and a psychology researcher at eHarmony and the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, exploring communication and decision making. She holds a BA in Psychology and Biology from the University of Pennsylvania and an MS in Organizational Learning and Change from Northwestern University.

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