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Amy Edmondson

How to turn a group of strangers into a team

By Murat Bicak
Senior Vice President, Strategy at Project Management Institute (PMI)

Brightline has partnered with TED to curate this series of talks to help you think about what you might explore at work in 2019. To build on this aspiration, I recommend one of my favorite TED Talks: "How to turn a group of strangers into a team" by Amy Edmondson. 

Amy researches "teaming," which she defines as teamwork on the fly. It's what happens when we coordinate and collaborate with people across boundaries of all kinds to get work done. 

I would expect that we've all experienced how difficult it is to work with strangers, and that's why I believe we should pay attention to Amy's talk. Because more and more, work is being completed via project teams that don't know each other. 

Amy lists three must-haves for a workplace: situational humility, curiosity and psychological safety. If these characteristics exist, she says, then teaming might work -- but a perspective shift is also required for success. Amy suggests that the mindset we need to build a sustainable future requires us to recognize that we can't do it alone, that we need each other. 

I hope you can work with new teams to test these ideas. And I hope that you can create an environment for teams where situational humility, curiosity and psychological safety coexist and support delivering results. 

Happy Holidays!

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