The Science of Coffee and Great Teams

 In Collaboration, Leadership, Teamwork

Have you ever linked the science of your daily cup of coffee with that of great teams?

Starting back at the desk on Monday, I wonder if your thoughts first turn to coffee? Mine do. It’s a daily ritual to run a brew through my Saeco espresso machine (eBay $100, has lasted for 5 years) before leaving the house to arrive at work with hot java in hand!

Some people go a bit nerdy with their coffee – a cafe in Melbourne presented my long black with a small card telling me all about the origin of the beans, water temp and run time through the machine. I don’t care, I just want it to taste good.

However it highlights the number of variables that define your coffee – such as the beans, roasting method, grind, extraction technique and even the prevailing humidity. Work teams, projects and partnerships have many variables too. Just when you think the formula is right, there’ll be something that changes and you have to refine or adapt your approach.

It’s a mix of art and science. You need strong foundational skills and flexibility around them. Here’s a checklist for you:

  • Is your team strongly aligned to the same outcome?
  • Are there overwhelming tensions between individuals and group goals?
  • How well do they seek to listen to, empathise with and learn from each other?
  • Are your people conversing in commonly understood and inclusive language?
  • Do they approach their work with great, positive attitude?
  • Is everyone accountable for their efforts?
  • Does your group as a whole take ownership of its performance?
  • Is there a strong level of trust between members?
  • How do you continually reinforce team strength?
  • What measurement systems are in place?

Take a moment to reflect on the many variables in your teams as you tuck into your favourite brew this morning!

Phil Preston is an expert in harnessing the power of collaboration to work better, together. You can stay in touch by following him on Linked Incontacting him directly or using the form below to opt in to occasional emails.

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  • Mark Wearne

    Hi Phil, I answered all of the above questions for an organisation I was recently sacked for speaking out attempting to collaborate with the hierarchy about the dysfunction, however they didnt want to listen or at least explore the causes. They openly admitted there is a big problem with communication, small sub groups all gossiping and back stabbing. However it was apparent that they did not want to address these tough issues. Perhaps they like the chaos and dysfunction. As they say, you can bring a horse to water…………….

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