I listened to this great talk by Keith Yamashita this morning.

Keith Yamashita is one of the masterminds behind SYPartners, a creative firm that has helped brands from Apple to IBM to Starbucks define their futures and reinvent themselves. Drawing on decades of experience with creative teams, Yamashita outlined a handful of the habits that lead to incredible collaborative performances.

Creative greatness is the result of an ensemble. We often think of creativity as happening in isolation, but this is rarely the case. Navigating your dual role as a soloist and a member of the ensemble will help drive your dream to its full potential.

Find your unique superpower. When teams are at their best, every person serves a unique and essential role that plays to their individual strengths. SYPartners developed a deck of “superpower cards” to help attendees identify their superpower, which could be anything from Grit to Peace-Making to Energy.

Create an environment where people can be their best selves. Respect what each teammate’s “superpower” is, and give them every chance to use it by calling on them in specific situations that demand their expertise. “Great teams don’t come about through chance – they cultivate a set of positive habits that lead to greatness.”

My notes follow:

  • You have to create an environment where people can be their best selves
  • Brilliant people get stuck all the time
  • Created an easy way to get in touch with what causes you to get unstuck: helps you focus on it, helps you see what the roadblocks are (app: Unstuck + 11 tools to get unstuck) 
  • You have to develop your unique method of getting unstuck – you have to find your rhythm 
  • Great teams don’t just come about by chance – they cultivate specific habits that make them great 
  • Application: Teamworks 
  • Great teams when they are really at their best start first with the foundation of each person on the team understanding their superpower – what they do better and more extraordinary than anyone else on the team
  • If everyone is playing to their superpower you get great permission to work on work that has great purpose
  • Plans are often broken by what actually happens in the world 
  • A team’s resilience – to reframe something – becomes an essential habit and this all runs on trust 
  • DUOS – the smallest atomic unit of trust – you and me – we have nowhere else to shuffle the blame
  • The biggest mistake teams make is they don’t make good choices – they try to do everything and they don’t focus on the most important thing 
  • Great teams when they are at their best, what they determine is that they have to build belief in others to take action 
  • Greatness almost always requires building belief in others so they will take action 
  • 3×3 grid:
    Superpower | Purpose | Forces
    Belief | Decisions | Bold Moves
    Duos | Reframe | Outcomes
  • Great teams see the forces at play and learn how to capitalize on them
  • Seeing the forces at play takes a much broader view
  • What is the essential capability that you need to build? The ability to see…
  • Turns out that most of us are good at looking but we’re not great at seeing
  • What lens you decide to put over your eyes to see the world
  • Do you see possibility? Do you see waste that could ge eradicated? Do you see the flow of things? Do you see how time works? Do you see where things get stuck?
  • What lens you choose to use is directly correlated with how effective you are as an individual and collectively as a team what you can do
  • Your ability to switch lenses is critical to your success
  • Think about the top 10 duos in your life – think about ways you can build strength in those relationships
  • Do you respond with a sense of love or fear?
  • The best way to build duos is to extend that love and trust before it is safe for you to do so
  • In that act of generosity, that is where greatness lies
  • When greatness is your thing, there’s a lot of disappointment built in
  • Greatness is the act of being courageous and courageous enough to be fully be yourself and then surrendering to an ambition that you share with others and then go change the world
  • [17: 15] It’s amazing how much people allow and settle for time in teams where they are not using their superpower
  • Once you know your superpower – your job is to stay in that zone as long as you can and in every team interaction you can. Why is that? You will be happier because your contribution will be based on something you love to be and your team will be better off because it’s your true talent that you are bringing to the table
  • Do this activity and spend the next week consciously choosing how you spend your time. Consciously saying: Am I contributing my superpower? Do other people know my superpower?

Keith Yamashita: The 3 Habits of Great Creative Teams from 99U on Vimeo.