3 Invaluable Lessons from Shane Snow

  1. There are three “ingredients” to making a great team – cognitive diversity, cognitive friction, and intellectual humility.
  2. The key to success is being able to engage in the friction without it getting personal.
  3. Teamwork is about making people better together because they’re different.

This week, host Sue Dyer speaks with Shane Snow about what it takes to make a Dream Team and the psychology great leaders use to get their teams working with each other instead of against each other.

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The following show notes are a transcription from the Construction Dream Team Podcast episode 18 audio interview between Sue and Shane. Please subscribe to Construction Dream Team for the latest episodes on our website, iTunes or Stitcher! We would LOVE a 5-star rating to help us show up in the search engines so more of Construction Nation can listen to industry leaders and experts on their computers, phones, or tablets!

About Guest Shane Snow (1:10)

Shane is the author of Dream Teams, a book written after years of researching the top dream teams. Shane believes that the best teams are more than the sum of their parts, but collaboration often falls short. Shane looks at teams through the lenses of history, neuroscience, psychology, and business. Shane is an award-winning journalist, entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, storyteller, Founder at Large in the media company Contently, board member of the Hatch Institute, and a Fellow at the Royal Society of the Arts.

Shane’s Journey to Becoming Author of Dream Teams (3:53)

  1. Shane’s parents led him to think differently in a wonderful way, spending time in the construction world and learning how things work (4:20)
  2. Shane’s mother was a teacher for deaf students and was all about reading and learning (5:00)
  3. Dream Teams was inspired by Shane’s challenges growing a company and building a team (6:00)

What Shane Views as the Greatest Strengths of a Leader (7:00)

  1. We have an old idea of what a leader should do stemming from when we survived by banding together and the leader made us feel safe against physical dangers (7:17)
  2. Leaders later evolved into someone who knows what they are doing and is big and tall (8:00)
  3. The best kind of leader to solve today’s problems can persuade people, solve challenges, and create an environment where the team is smarter and greater than the leader or any individual (9:28)

How to Create the Dream Team (11:11)

Shane explains the three “ingredients” it takes to create a dream team:

  1. You need cognitive diversity.
  2. You need your team to engage in different ways of thinking and combine their skills.
  3. You need intellectual humility – open mindedness (this sits between being too stubborn and being too gullible).

How The Three “Ingredients” for Creating a Dream Team Work on a Large Project (18:45)

  1. Think of team building like casting for a movie, you need those who bring out the best in the project and in each other (19:55)
  2. You need to trust people to do what they do best, but when there are snags the project leader engages (20:27)
  3. Everyone has to be on the same team, or they’re off the team (22:14)

Shane’s Advice to Project Leaders Who Want to Create a Dream Team (22:50)

Have a shared purpose, everyone needs to know what they’re doing and why they’re there. Allow people to work in a way that allows them to do their best work. People need to be on board with your purpose and understand the difference between a cult and culture – both have a shared devotion to something. In a cult, you have to behave and think in a certain way or you are not part of the group.  In a culture, you are asked to contribute something to the team so everyone can move forward to their shared purpose. 

The Barriers to Dream Teams That Keep Them From Seeing Results (28:00)

  1. Not talking about the important issues, having “organizational silence” (28:12)
  2. Too much tension – a little tension is good, too much is detrimental (29:00)
  3. Not having the toolkit to change your mind or talk about hard issues with humility and allowing people to “save face” (29:50)

The Worst Challenge Shane Has Faced (31:50)

Three challenging things happened to Shane at once – things at his company were getting hard, he was going through a divorce, and he got a cancer diagnosis. This time was humbling and made him realize that things in life will be hard and he needs to be more equipped to deal with them. He got through this time by letting other people help him.

The Best Advice Shane Has Ever Gotten (36:25)

People are more important than stuff. His mother was always hitting things with the car, but his father would never say something mean, he would always worry about his mom. If people are the most important thing, you’ll think about teamwork differently.

A Little About Shane’s New Project (38:05)

Shane has been traveling around the world for the last six months. He wants to live in other cultures to develop intellectual humility and to do new research for upcoming projects. He is exploring different immigrant communities in America for an upcoming television show.

Resources for Podcast Listeners

Shane’s Parting Advice (43:03)

Develop this habit for intellectual humility – express that you’re willing to change your mind if you want others to change their minds. Ben Franklin would say, “I could be wrong, but I really think …..”  By admitting he could be wrong, it made it safe for people to disagree with him and allowed him to save face if he did change his mind.

Contact Shane

Shane’s Website shanesnow.com

Shane’s LinkedIn Profile

Collective Wisdom Use this episode as a tool, send it out to your entire team and have a dialogue.  The more people you have helping – the faster you can build your Construction Dream Team.

Don’t forget, we have started a Construction Dream Team LinkedIn Group.  I know there are a lot of you out there on LinkedIn; please join Construction Dream Team LinkedIn.  We are going to have conversations on there and invite our guests to answer questions and to listen to what you have to say and to listen and share concepts.  Remember…Construction Dream Team drops every Monday morning at 4 am PST. Please join us next week when Sue will interview another industry leader or expert about the people side of construction.

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