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What is the key to assembling the right team?

4m 42s

In their One Question for UpTop Health video series, UpTop Health experts discuss the key to assembling the right team from their article, “How Third-Party Firms Improve Cross-Functional Communications.”

Moderator: John Sloat, (CEO)
Interviewees: Craig Nishizaki (Head of Business), Michael Woo (Director of UX)
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Episode Transcript

Moderator:  Hi, welcome to One Question with UpTop Health. And today we’re focusing on the article ‘Third-Party Firms Improve Cross-Functional Communications.” After reading the article, the question I came up with is what is the key to assembling the right team? And Craig, I’ll let you start off today.

Craig: As you think about the team that you’re going to assemble, it all starts off with the problem that you’re trying to solve, and then within that construct if you think about the characters that are going to play a role cross-functionally you want to have a champion, the leader who leads the effort to solve the problem. You need to enlist subject matter experts, thinking of it from the technical, business, and process perspective. You need to make sure that you have a customer advocate; someone that represents the customer (and the customer could be internal or external depending on what the problem is that you’re trying to solve). Then you want to have a person or persons that are bridge builders; they function as the person that has the ability to cross functional lines and ask questions.

As you’re looking at it internally, the framework that we use when we’re looking at our team internally as well as how we look at folks that we’re working with is the model from Patrick Lencioni and The Ideal Team Player where he’s looking for folks that are humble, hungry, and smart. It’s a really great reminder of the characteristics that help foster cross-functional communications.

Then you have the role of the third party. Where I think the third-party has the advantage in facilitating this team once you’ve assembled it, is that third-parties typically are going to be asking questions out of curiosity to really understand, then providing that outside-in perspective kind of a pattern matching. We’ve seen this before to dig deeper and then culturally, typically a third-party is not looking to climb the career ladder, so they’re not as worried about asking something that maybe a faux pas, if you will. Then having a results-driven mindset to kind of keep things moving forward. So you add that together as a third-party with the right team assembled from a client and it’s magical, you can really see velocity and creativity and innovation come to be. Mike from your perspective, do you have anything you want to add?

Michael: I think you’re absolutely right that being an outside agency coming into a project allows us to be that neutral party which is free from any biases and allows us to take the lead on these projects. Because we are design-led, we really emphasize the users’ need above all else. What this does is it allows the approach to really objectify the problem and make decision-making transparent for all to see and they can trust that there is no ulterior motive, whereas within organizations, there could be that kind of stuff.

With us leading that process, we build alignment across teams, pulling them together through design thinking workshops, having them collaborate together and helping solve the problem. This allows representatives to contribute from various teams, whether its product, IT, customer service, design, executive sponsors, etc. All those folks that you named there, Craig, to really develop skin in the game and allow their voices to be heard. Through these workshops, we really provide that stage for them to voice their opinions, whereas otherwise they might not be able to do that at least collectively. As a cross-functional team and as an outside firm, we can really help shape which parties are involved on a project based on the value that they can contribute.

Craig: Yeah, great thoughts Mike, thanks.