Thinking Teams - Unlocking the Power of Talented Minds Working Together

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Recent Posts

Five Ways Good Engineering Leads to Bad Mangement
The Thinking Organization
Being Rational About Irrationality
Taking Chances
A Theater of Symbols


Organizational Design
Personal Effectivness
Team productvity
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Thinking Teams Blog

Team productvity

The Thinking Organization

This pyramid summarizes the Thinking Teams view of a successful organization, effectively moving toward its goals, powered by collaborating teams of wholehearted individuals. The pyramid builds from foundational elements; its layers show focus areas for organizational improvement and growth. 

          Starting from the base: 

  1. Self-Aware, Productive Individuals– a wonderful alignment happens when an organization enables its members to participate in a way that connects with their full selves, not just the conscious tip of the mind's iceberg (

Bendable Concrete

We often talk about life in blacks and whites, but life is lived in grays. Take the opposites “rigid” and “flexible”. The most rigid, unforgiving thing I can think of is concrete, and now there is “bendable concrete”*! Project leaders trying to enforce The Plan may see a black and white choice between order and chaos. What’s really needed is an agile shade of gray. 

Balancing project structure and flexibility is a fine art. Too little structure gives us the Wild West, unmet commitments, and a team limited to what can be achieved by the fittest survivor.

Hive Mind

I grew up pretty independent and introspective. Maybe because of that, I had always been mystified and blown away by human artifacts and activities that I couldn't imagine wrapping my head around. As an engineer, I had learned to understand and do some pretty complicated things, but I thought those people who build corporations or cities must have a kind of intelligence I could only dream about. 

At a certain point in my career, it seemed like a good idea to figure out how to be a manager.

Another Iceberg

Whenever people come together for some purpose, communication is, of course, key to success. Our communication channels – language, looks, books, etc.  - struggle to transport what’s in my head to your head. This is particularly challenging when what’s in our heads is specialized, expert knowledge, and we have come together because we have different expertise that needs to be combined to do something complicated and hard. 

Effective communication has to clear so many hurdles it’s a wonder that it happens at all!

Apples and Oranges

The saying “that’s like comparing apples and oranges” always puzzled me a bit. It’s used to point out when two things are in such different categories they can’t really be compared, but from the perspective of the universe of all things, apples and oranges are so close they’re almost identical. I guess difference and similarity are relative, contextual, and in the eye of the beholder. (The saying would make sense to me in the context of “which tastes better?; maybe that’s how it got started.) 

Launching Thinking Teams Blog

Welcome to the Thinking Teams Blog! Here we will talk about the opportunities and challenges that present themselves when great minds gather for a purpose.

Just like the quests they undertake, great minds are multifaceted and complicated. Teams come together over touch-points of common understanding and purpose, yet there is always more to it. Human expertise, and many of our complex enterprises, defy our ability to perfectly understand, predict, or control. This can lead to frustration, failure, fistfights.
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