7 steps to team success in 2020

From WeAreTheCity’s Future Leader’s Blog

What can you do, as a team, to make 2020 our best year yet?

Getting a team to work well together doesn’t happen by chance. It requires intention, commitment and a focus on both structure/task and behavioural habits.

The start of the year is a great time to stop for a moment with your team and discuss:

“How do we best work together to best achieve our goals, and make this a truly great place to work? How can we make this year our best year yet?”

One crucial ingredient in that dialogue is to create a Team Charter. 

A Team Charter is a document that describes the purpose, framework and agreements of the team. Creating a Team Charter is a shared process (not just a leadership task), hence making it a powerful and visual shared commitment. A Team Charter that is created by everyone, is owned by everyone and therefore is carried out by everyone.

Each Team Charter is unique to the team, but typically it includes at least the 7 steps:

  1. Team purpose and clear links to the organisation’s vision and purpose (how you as a team make a difference)
  2. Expectations and goals (what are you expected to do and achieve this year?)
  3. Roles and responsibilities (who does whatwhat are the overlaps and collaboration opportunities?)
  4. Skills and expertise needed to fulfil purpose (is there anything new you need to learn and/or how can team members’ skills/expertise be shared?)
  5. Resources needed to fulfil purpose (g.what data and tools do you need to do a great job?)
  6. Operating guidelines: behaviours and how the team will work together to fulfil the purpose (g. how should you treat each other, how should you communicate, help each other, spend time together?)
  7. Signed agreement/commitment

Some seem obvious and almost implicit, don’t they? Well, then ask yourself as a team; why aren’t we doing it then. And if you are doing it, challenge yourself on how you can make it even better, strive for more together. You may have these 7 steps in some implicit form, it is also important to make them explicit for all to agree to openly.

So yes, as you reflect on these 7 steps, some are probably already in place, but it is still crucial to review them as a team to reconfirm or indeed update your shared agreement on those important ingredients of teamwork. The steps that definitely need updating each year, for every team, are 2, 6 and 7.

Once you have documented the team agreements steps 1-6 (and any other topics you have chosen to include as a team), make sure each team member gets invited to sign the document (step 7). Signing the Team Charter agreement signals real commitment and cements it. You can even call it a team promise – after all, a promise feels even more powerful.

January focus: Work smarter, not harder

From WeAreTheCity’s Future Leaders Blog

A new decade, a new year, a new month – what better time to have a proper restart?

This is the time to do it, don’t let the autopilot run your life and career, make sure you are in charge of your journey through the year.

As you kick off 2020, stop and think about how you spend your time and how you can work smarter, not harder. What do you need to focus on this year to achieve your goals and ambitions?


If you chase two rabbits, you will catch neither one

Russian proverb


Part of this is about TIME LEADERSHIP (not ‘time management’ as it’s about more than just managing your time). It is all about self-leadership, leading yourself entails planning your time well, blocking time for the important stuff too, so the urgent stuff doesn’t win every time.  It’s about thinking short- and long-term.

It could look like something as simple as this for example:

The other part is about HABITS & ACTIVITIES – being outcome focused rather than task focused. Ask yourself:

  • What should you STOP doing? (dare to challenge practices that don’t deliver for the overall outcome)
  • Is there anything you should START doing instead?
  • What should you CONTINUE doing? To celebrate your strengths and success and to ensure you appreciate what you already do well.

And then finally, ask yourself:

How will you stick to your commitments of working smarter, not harder?

Who could support you? Who else could you involve, to help you succeed?

And could there a win-win aspect here too, that helps both parties succeed?

Here’s to a smart 2020!


Efficiency is doing the thing right. Effectiveness is doing the right thing.

Peter Drucker

Leadership you can trust

Leadership you can trust

From WeAreTheCity Future Leaders Blog

There’s a lot of talk about trust – all around the world; in politics in particular, but also in business and society as a whole.

We would argue that trust is quite a straightforward thing – without it we have nothing.

We may be able to manage without trust for a while, but over time lack of trust erodes engagement and joy at work.


“No legacy is so rich as honesty”

William Shakespeare


Leaders that want to create long-term, sustainable results MUST be in the trust business.

They MUST earn your trust.

They MUST be trustworthy.

They MUST embody leadership you can trust.

If people don’t trust us, we risk

  • People going behind backs (ours and others)
  • People not daring to speak up for fear of retribution
  • People cutting corners
  • People leaving (employee turnover)

If people trust us, we

  • Invite honesty and differing viewpoints
  • Secure support
  • Build bonds that last

4 tips for how you, as a formal or informal leader, can build trust

  1. Be genuinely interested in people.

Take the time to talk with others and get to know them. Could you trust someone you didn’t know?

  1. Be generous.

Share what you know. Give feedback. Give credit where credit is due.

  1. Be consistent.

Don’t keep people guessing. Be emotionally aware; manage your emotions and the impact they have on others.

  1. Keep your promises.

Simple, but oh so effective. Do what you said you were going to do – or apologise and explain why and what will happen next if you couldn’t keep the promise.

We’re all in the trust business

Trust is the foundation for all great leadership and teamwork.

And in a world that changes faster and faster, trust will only get more and more important.

And we’re all in the trust business – every day, in everything we do.

8 tips for greater impact in meetings

From WeAreTheyCity’s Future Leader’s Blog

Like a lot of people, you probably spend a lot of time in meetings (face to face or virtual), right?

Meetings can be great, but they can also be a frustrating experience; time-consuming and not productive enough. We’ve probably all experienced that.

Ultimately, we can’t control what others do, we only have full control of our own contribution to those meetings.

So, with that in mind, what can you do to make the most of the meetings you’re in, to have the impact you want, thereby making them as productive and useful as possible?

Here are 8 quick meeting impact tips!

  1. How do you want to be?

Before going into a meeting, don’t just think about what you are going to do or say. Think also about how you want to be in that meeting. Ask yourself: what impact do I want to have? Spend time preparing your impact in advance by thinking both about what to do and how to be.

2. Have your impact radar out.

Work out what effect you are having on those around you, stop and take a look around you. How do you make people feel and react? Then you can change your approach if you need to get a different result.

3. Be a keen observer.

Observe without demonstrating any judgement, just aim to understand what is going on around you. By doing this you become better at working out what people need and how to communicate effectively with them

4. Be intentional.

Be intentional about your reactions and responses, don’t let your “autopilot” run you and your responses. Choose with care and intention.

5. Ask questions.

You don’t have to have all the answers. Better questions lead to better answers, so inject questions to progress conversations (that are stuck) and find answers

6. Share openly.

Generously share relevant information with others, this can encourage others to be generous too and you will all gain more. Avoid just repeating what others have already said.

7. Stay focused.

Remember the purpose of the meeting and stay focused on driving towards to outcomes agreed. If the conversations drift off topic, respectfully suggest parking those conversations for another time.

8. Honour people’s time.

Be on time for meetings. If you’re running the meeting – start on time and manage the agenda so you can finish on time.

Collective Intelligence = Human + Artificial Intelligence

From WeAreTheCity’s Future Leader’s Blog

In our last blog post, we talked about the power of bringing people together to multiply intelligence, creating smarter teams and smarter organisations.

What were your thoughts on that? Have you found ways where you can create opportunities for being smarter together at work, and beyond? If so, please practice collective intelligence by sharing your comments below as it can help trigger ideas for others too. Thank you!

You see, what every organisation and every leader need to ask themselves is this:

How can we unlock more of our collective intelligence?

And with that in mind, let’s continue our exploration of Collective Intelligence by turning to the subject of Artificial Intelligence.

Pretty much everyone talks about AI now.

What’s going on where you work, has your organisation started their AI journey?

Are you talking about it, are you exploring how AI can work for you?

It’s certainly true that AI is here to stay and that we all need to embrace AI or be left behind.

And we definitely think there are many exciting opportunities that come with AI – to be able to automate repetitive work, to free up people’s time to do more enjoyable tasks, to create solutions in all industries that we could previously only dream of.

As you probably know, artificial intelligence doesn’t mean that machines can think (not yet at least), it just means that they are doing something that seems intelligent – like recognizing patterns in data and predicting outcomes.

There are of course also big question marks around AI, such as how to ensure ethical practices through the creation of ethical and non-biased algorithms. These discussions will continue to evolve as AI evolves. But that’s not what we wanted to talk about today (we’ll come back to that in a future blog post).


“Some people call this artificial intelligence,

but the reality is this technology will enhance us.

So instead of artificial intelligence, I think we’ll augment our intelligence.”

Ginni Rometty


Just as Collective Intelligence is human + human (as discussed in the previous post), it’s also human + artificial. Intelligence is multiplied when the two forms of intelligence are brought together, contributing through their unique intelligence strengths.

Sometime in the (distant) future, machines are expected to be able to do anything humans do, but we are still a long way away from that scenario. There are still things that humans are better at than machines, and there are things that machines are better at than machines. And this gives us food for thought on how the two forms of intelligence can contribute to great outcomes – together.

HUMANS are currently better at

  • Emotion and empathy
  • Creative thinking
  • Planning and executing a plan
  • Consciousness

MACHINES are currently better at

  • Storing large amounts of data
  • Processing and analysing large amounts of data
  • Pattern recognition (if there is enough data)

Looking at those two lists of human and artificial strengths, what does that tell us?

Well, for example, that if we can use machines to process and analyse large amounts of data, we can free up time and get on with the creative thinking process, in collaboration with other people. We are getting the best of two worlds; we are making use of unique human and artificial strengths. We can be smarter together, creating more intelligent organisations.

Where have you seen examples of human + artificial intelligence creating more intelligent organisation? And what other opportunities do you think there could be for smarter teams and organisations, keeping in mind that the human to human interactions are crucial and set the tone for everything we do?

3 Factors of Collective Intelligence

From WeAreTheCity’s Futue Leader’s Blog

Smarter together. It has a great ring to it, doesn’t it?

To be smarter together, to achieve more together.

Because everyone is best at something, and no one is best at everything.

Collective Intelligence is bringing intelligence together; bringing different ideas, experience and characters together – to create better ideas, solutions and results. It’s about intelligent collaboration and teamwork, where 1+1 can equal so much more that 2!


Talent wins games,

but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.

Michael Jordan


Collective intelligence is when intelligence meets intelligence and is multiplied.

And we can all play a role in making that happen – especially as a leader. In fact, as a leader, it’s part of our job. By creating collective intelligence we are making our organisations more intelligent.

An interesting study carried out by a group of scientists at MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, led by Professor Thomas W Malone, found that just putting smart people together doesn’t necessarily make the group smarter. Looking at a number of factors identified in earlier research, they found that the groups that had the highest collective intelligence had the following three factors; social perceptiveness, equal participation and a higher proportion of women. The higher proportion of women in the group was statistically mostly explained by the measure of social perceptiveness.

Collective Intelligence Study

Simply put – the more people are able to perceive what’s going on around them (and how others are feeling) and have everyone contribute equally to conversations (not letting a few people dominate) are more collectively intelligent than other groups.

Interesting research. You can read more about it here.

Look around you in your team – are you encouraging social perceptiveness and equal participation? What else could you do to further develop/promote those skills and habits in your team? And what would that do to your results as a team? What happens when we are smarter together?

Now there’s another interesting dimension to Collective Intelligence – and that’s when we combine human and artificial intelligence – and that’s what next week’s Future Leaders Blog will be about. See you then!