The Best Teams Act Like Musicians

The Best Teams Act Like Musicians – 99U

  • Switch Chairs (and Roles) Often

“The aggregate personality is really crucial, and it’s something that you have to address with a group culture that is subtle and trusting enough that collective personality will naturally come into being,”

  • Play Your Part

“…worrying about the legitimacy of one’s contributions leads to a lot of unnecessary anxiety. Instead, understand that interpretation is embedded in the nature of the job itself.”


  • Don’t Compare


…be picky about your influences. Focus on specific qualities you admire in people rather than their overall personalities, speech patterns, résumés, or CVs.


  • Distribute Your Energy Wisely


“…Knowing where to put your energy can save you from burnout—and it’ll be healthier for your team overall. “

  • Anticipate Needs


“…anticipation is part prediction, part preparation. You predict what the person is going to say (even if it ends up being totally off-base), and you prepare your response accordingly.”

  • Don’t Assign: Nominate


“Instead of relying on higher-ups to delegate tasks, or waiting for others to volunteer time, try nominating someone once in a while.”

  • Sound Check Often


“…means you can be frank: what is the most glaring thing that needs fixing? What would you say to inspire your colleagues to do better?”

  • Know the Score


“…have a thorough understanding of what the other players are doing. That way, each person sees where he or she needs to play out, echo, draw back, move forward, hand off, or complement the other..”

  • Embrace Uncertainty


“…be inspired enough that you want to be leading it, and yet most of the time, you can’t.”


Choice Paralysis

Good talk from Sheena Iyengar, must see

Takeaways on Choice Paralysis


  1. Cut – Less is more. We need more options to be successful might not necessarily be true.
  2. Concretize – Make it vivid. More information might not help in choice. What might help if you can see concrete outcomes
  3. Categorization – More Categories, fewer choices. Category should mean something to the chooser, who they are suppose to be informing.
  4. Condition for Complexity – Go for increasing complexity. We can handle complexity if we go in increasing order. Instead of many options to start from.

Be Choosy about Choosing. 

Go Small, Get Big– Interesting read on Small Teams, Big Innovations

I remember thinking at my first job that 10 people is all it takes to do great product.  I was told you do not know enough yet, to grow big we need to scale teams and get more people so that we can deliver more value to customer.

Fast forward 12 years, I am reiterating 10 People is all it takes. I am firm believer in power of a small agile team for product development.

Big Teams, Big Initiatives, Big Failures…

Interesting read:

Quiet but unsubtle innovation insurgencies are emerging in global enterprise. Instead of investing more in innovation process or cultural transformation, I’m observing more large organizations giving greater resources and responsibilities to ever-smaller teams. Innovation initiatives that were once handled by dozens a decade ago are now run by only handfuls. The median size of the core innovation group has dropped from a football/soccer eleven to a basketball five. Less apparently enables more.

Smart Innovators Value Smaller Teams Over Better Processes
Michael Schrage
Tue, 13 Dec 2011 18:36:55 GMT

Good Read – Five Common Strategy Mistakes


Five Common Strategy Mistakes

Mistake #1. Confusing marketing with strategy.

Mistake #2. Confusing competitive advantage with "what you’re good at."

Mistake #3: Pursuing size above all else, because if you’re the biggest, you’ll be more profitable.

Mistake #4. Thinking that "growth" or "reaching $1 billion in revenue" is a strategy.

Mistake #5. Focusing on high-growth markets, because that’s where the money is.

 Five Common Strategy Mistakes
Joan Magretta
Thu, 08 Dec 2011 18:15:41 GMT