June 2019

Leadership and Teams

Across industries, the ways we work are changing. The digital transformation of workplaces, the rise of Generation Z, and an increasingly competitive marketplace with more complex products and services are combining to make collaboration and cross-functional teamwork both more necessary and prevalent. How are these trends impacting tech comm, which has always been, inherently, a highly collaborative enterprise? As individuals, how do we need to adapt to maximize our influence as work becomes more collaborative? During the month of June, we’ll look at different modes of working together from both an organizational and an individual perspective.

Weekly Content

The Power of Venn: Using Teams to Maximize Our Impact

There is certainly no shortage of literature describing the importance of “high-performance teams” and the rising importance of “cross-functional collaboration.” In tech comm and elsewhere, we hear often about the need to break the “silos” of our organizational team structures to work more “horizontally.” In week one, we’ll examine different modes of working together in order to understand how to select and leverage the best approach for each project or objective.

Teams of Leaders: Identifying and Leveraging Individual Strengths within Teams

Leadership is not about position or authority; it’s about impact and influence. We all can have more influence within the various teams we are members of. In fact, the value of teams and other collaborative enterprises relies on understanding and leveraging the diverse strengths of the individuals. In high-performing teams, all team members exhibit leadership. In week two, we’ll look at several assessments and tools that can be used to identify and then leverage the various strengths of team members.

Panel Discussion: TechComm Teams and Collaboration

In this live panel discussion, Paul Perrotta (consultant, formerly Sr. Director, Juniper Networks), Kathryn Showers (Manager, Sony Interactive Entertainment), and Kim Mazur (consultant, formerly VP and ADP)  will join Toni to discuss their experiences participating on and leading teams and collaborative projects. Topics will include:

  • Common team/collaboration scenarios in tech comm
  • Picking the best team structure and ways of working
  • Unifying and inspiring teams
  • Leveraging the unique leadership traits of all team members
  • The role of diversity in teams and collaboration
  • Tips for working on or leading distributed teams

Bonus content!

If you work on or lead globally distributed teams, check out Toni’s recorded conversations with Joe Penacchio (Sr. Director, Qualcomm), Lisa Hultman (Director, ServiceNow), and Suresh Alphonse Kumar (Sr. Manager, ServiceNow) about the opportunities and challenges of managing global teams.

Interview with Joe Penacchio:

Interview with Lisa Hultman and Suresh Alphonse Kumar:

Score! What We Can Learn about Teamwork and Leadership from Sports

In this recorded audio interview, Katie Ott discusses with Toni the parallels between her day job (Director of Product Content at ServiceNow) and her “side” job (co-owner and player for semi-pro women’s tackle football team the San Diego Rebellion).

Week 1 Resources


Intercom articles:

Week 2 Resources

  • Audrey Epstein, “Build Self-Awareness with Help from Your Team,” on HBR.org, August 13, 2018
  • Brené Brown, Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts, 2018
  • Brené Brown, The Call to Courage, Netflix special, 2019
  • The Power of Vulnerability, TEDxHouston, June 2010
  • Christian Valiulis, “How the Best Leaders Engage and Inspire Their Teams,” on Forbes.com, April 30, 2018
  • Danielle Harlan, The New Alpha: Join the Rising Movement of Influencers and Changemakers Who Are Redefining Leadership, Danielle Harlan, Ph.D., 2017
  • Marcus Buckingham, StandOut 2.0: Assess Your Strengths. Find Your Edge. Win at Work, 2015
  • Tom Rath, Strengths-Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow, 2008
  • Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, 2009
  • Simon Sinek, David Mead, and Peter Docker, Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team, 2017

Week 3 Resources

Downloadable materials

Servant Leadership

Tech Comm Leadership

Diversity and Teams

Leading without Authority

International Teams

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Curator Bio:

Toni Mantych:

Toni Mantych is Sr. Director, Product Content Experience, at ServiceNow, where she leads a large and globally distributed information development group. Before joining ServiceNow, she was Director of Content Strategy and Architecture at ADP. She has taught a variety of graduate courses in the Technical and Professional Writing program at Portland State University and speaks frequently on content strategy, customer experience, and leadership topics. In September 2017, she was recognized as a Top 200 Content Experience Strategist.

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