Be the change you seek - Reflecting on Open

On Tuesday, I was at Open, which was a conference put on by Atlassian in Sydney. I'm going to share just a few things that I picked up along the way. There was so much rich goodness for anyone looking to help teams improve their performance. I'll be doing a more detailed reflection for myself in the coming weeks. If you are interested in that, let me know by replying with "Open Reflections.”

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These are just a few highlights that I thought could be helpful thought starters for you.

Elevate humanity in teams

Many of you will know that I love Atlassian. If there was ever a reason that captures it, it is this statement:

"We believe behind every great human achievement, there is a team."

Dom Price (pictured above) was the first session that I attended and he made many great points. He spoke about Atlassian's values aligning with his, about spending 2/3 of his time outside of Atlassian - I will write about this in more detail another time as it's worth a bit of a deeper dive. This initial point about the link between humanity and teams was a great reminder for me - and hopefully for you.

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Quit your second job

Psychological safety was raised regularly. Research from Google's Project Aristotle and Amy Edmonson has raised the profile and importance of psychological safety in teams. A session run by McKinsey's Mike Vierow and Tom Harkin (an exceptional facilitator) made this practical. Tom ran a couple of exercises that participants in my workshops can expect to experience that demonstrated a quick way to foster connections within teams. The concept became real.

As Mike and Tom wrapped up, they summarised with this slide. Point two is a reference to the work of Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey that talks about the cost of masking parts of who we really are at work. The implication that we often have two jobs - the one we are paid for and the other one that we are covering up all of our shortcomings. It reminded me of a phrase that I often use..." all of us win when all of us bring all of us.” Psychological safety lets us bring more to our work.

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Questions of science, of science and progress...

There were a few presentations sharing the ongoing research and statistics that support the importance of teams. There were a couple of speakers that spoke with great empathy and insight that despite the fact that teams are increasingly important to operate as our world changes and increase in complexity...teaming is hard.

In summary, when it comes to teams... "Nobody said it was easy. No-one ever said it would be this hard.”

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Be the change you seek

Yes, this is an Atlassian value. Yes, it's overused (or more to the point, misused). It seems so obvious. It was, however, the overriding theme of the day for me.

It is unreasonable and naive to expect others to quit their second job if you won't. It's almost useless to tell someone that they need to be open to feedback if you are defensive when receiving yours. As one presenter shared some of the wisdom of Morpheus (from The Matrix)..."there is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.”

I trust that these little snippets inspire you to consider how you might make your teams a little bit better. Some questions for you to consider this week:

  1. How can you elevate the humanity in your team?

  2. Are you turning up in the way that you want your teammates to turn up?

  3. Do you dare to quit your second job?