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The Game of Teams

Teams are the new unit of currency in business. Harnessing the wisdom and brilliance of teams is not easy. It can be messy, confusing, non linear and complicated. Learn from your peers and thought leaders about what it takes. Listen to their stories, pains, and pride when it works. This show is about the magic of mining work and relations for high performance, satisfaction and fulfilment on teams

Mar 19, 2019

Introduction: Jeff Turner is International Director for Facebook working in Dublin, Ireland. He has spent over 20 years in L&D knowing that to be his professional home. He has worked for a number of organisations including Lloyds Bank, BOI, AOL and O2.  He holds a Masters in Performance Management from Leicester University. He has spent the last eight or more years working with Facebook. This conversation illuminated Jeff’s passion for Learning and for making an impact. Facebook’s core philosophy internally is to connect those who have something to teach with those who are ready to learn, making learning Just in time, just enough and right for the receiver.  Jeff discussed Facebook’s values, Focus on impact, Move fast, be open and build social value. These values give freedom and authenticity to team members and leaders. 

Podcast episode summary: This episode describes the role assumed by L&D professionals and their approach to team development at Facebook. It also shares the research conducted by Facebook of 24 Teams across EMEA  showcasing the most pertinent qualities/characteristics of high performing teams. The research team along with the support of Professor David Clutterbuck discovered eight characteristics, which were described in the show. The following bullets highlight the conversation elements of this important episode. 

  • Change is a constant, people need to be out of their comfort zones to learn and have an impact- his question “when was the last time you volunteered to go outside of your comfort zone? 
  • Teams are complex adaptive systems a pattern illuminated by David Clutterbuck consultant to Facebook. Understanding this concept can help teams be more connected and productive 
  • There is a big difference between team facilitation and one off interventions and team development. Jeff and his team focus on the latter to support teams
  • There needs to be a modicum of tension for the team to get any real value from an interventionist approach. “the truth lies in the tension” 
  • Jeff and his team understand and appreciate that in order to be of any value they need to be willing to be fired to do Team Development. 
  • Jeff is cognisant of the degree of change his teams face and is mindful that some team development methodologies are too linear to be meaningful. 
  • He sees team development to a process of working with the team over 3-12 months and not a one off workshop or intervention
  • Facebook conducted significant research on their HPTs ( High Performing Teams) with the help of Professor David Clutterbuck. He helped Facebook decode the essence of teams and determine their  “secret sauce” He named 8 distinct qualities that support success and performance. 
  • He likened the 8 to a wheel with 7 spokes and a leaders confidence at the centre.  The seven spokes include, Hiring the right people, managers and leaders setting goals at the right level, a positive view of failure, working to individual strengths, Trust that teams mean to deliver, change is like breathing, Enjoyment for the work and the people and finally confidence of the leader. 
  • Facebook does use a diagnostic for teams focusing on 3components, Purpose, People and Practices. 
  • Not all teams can access the service provided by L&D which is why they have developed a sort of self service offering a diagnostic and exercises as well as a repository online
  • The L&D team at Facebook have developed their expertise to support teams, they use their weekly meetings as places for supervision and learning together. 


Quotable Quotes: “You have to be willing to be fired to do Team Development at FB” 

“The truth lies in the tension” “Change is like breathing” 


Resources: the following include the resources we alluded to over the course of our conversation

  1. Reinventing Organisations by Frederic Laloux.