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.
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
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).
Interview with Katie Ott:
Week 1 Resources
- Greg Petroff, “The Future of Workflow,” on Forbes.com, February 27, 2019
- Lisa B. Kwan, “The Collaboration Blind Spot,” on HBR.com, March 2019
- Lori Wright and Natalie McCullough “New survey explores the changing landscape of teamwork,” on Microsoft.com April 19, 2018
- Patrick Lencioni, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable, 19th ed, 2000
- Rob Cross, Reb Rebele, and Adam Grant, “Collaborative Overload,” on HBR.org, January 2016
- Rob Cross, Scott Taylor, Deb Zehner, “Collaboration without Burnout,” on HBR.org, July 2018
- Allen Brown, “Establishing Trust in Virtual Teams”
- Christine Brouillard, “Overcoming Us Vs. Them: Working with Multiple Distributed Scrum Teams”
- Jenifer Schlotfeldt and Missy Yarbrough, “Bringing Content and Design Together to Make the Dream Team Happen”
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
- Amy Jen Su, “How to Help Someone Discover Work That Excites Them,” on HBR.org, September 13, 2017.
- Dan Cable, “How Humble Leadership Really Works,” on HBR.org, April 23, 2018.
- Emma Seppälä, “What Bosses Gain by Being Vulnerable,” on HBR.org, December 11, 2014.
- Laura Delizonna, “High-Performing Teams Need Psychological Safety. Here’s How to Create It,” on HBR.org, August 24, 2017.
Tech Comm Leadership
- Scott Abel, “Understanding How Mindset Can Help You Build High-Performing Technical Communication Teams: An Interview with Andrew Lawless” Intercom online.
- Wendy Richardson, “Executive Perspective: Leadership Responsibility in Technical Communication, Wendy Richardson, Intercom online.
Diversity and Teams
- David Rock and Heidi Grant, “Why Diverse Teams Are Smarter,” on HBR.org, November 4, 2016.
- Sujin Jang, “The Most Creative Teams Have a Specific Type of Cultural Diversity,” on HBR.org, July 2018.
- Tessa Ann Taylor, “Diversity, Inclusion and Culture: How to Build Great Teams,” on NYTimes.com, April 29, 2018.
Leading without Authority
- Ben Woelk, “The Introvert in the Workplace: Becoming an Influencer and Leader,” Intercom online.
- Carol Kinsey Goman, “3 Crucial Skills for Leading without Authority,” on Forbes.com, May 21, 2017.
- Andy Molinsky, “How to Keep a Global Team Engaged,” on HBR.org, May 14, 2018.
- Art Markman, “3 Ways to Identify Cultural Differences on a Global Team,” on HBR.org, June 15, 2018.
- David Champion, “The Leadership Behaviors That Make or Break a Global Team,” on HBR.org, June 22, 2015.
Leadership and Teams
Roundtable Monthly Topics
STC's Roundtable Discussions
Join our community for the top technical communication content.
Roundtable Monthly Topics
Did this month’s theme spark questions? Are you interested in learning more? This is the forum to ask questions and discuss your experiences, challenges, and insights related to the monthly topic.
General Tech Comm Queries
Do you have questions about technical communication? Use this forum to connect with other Roundtable members or curators to ask and answer your questions.
General Roundtable Queries
Do you have questions about Roundtable, or are you experiencing technical challenges? Use this forum to ask and get answer to questions.
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.