Nov. 8, 2020

Dream Teams by Shane Snow: How to fight your way to working better together

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About the Book

A journey through science and history to understand incredible teams and what makes them tick.

In Dream Teams, award-winning journalist Shane Snow takes us on an adventure through psychology, neuroscience, business and more, revealing what separates groups that simply get by together from teams that get better together. You’ll meet rap groups, pirate gangs, buddy cops, pioneering women in journalism and the FBI, soviet hockey teams, outrageous artists and city planners, and the people behind social movements that changed the world. And much more!


About the Author

Shane Snow is an award-winning entrepreneur, explorer, and journalist who has helped expose gun traffickers and government corruption, explored abandoned buildings and sewers around the world, eaten only ice cream for weeks in the name of science, and taught hundreds of thousands of people to work better through his books, including the #1 business bestseller Dream Teams.

Snow speaks globally about innovation and human behavior, has performed comedy on Broadway, and has been in the running for the Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism.

His writing has appeared in GQ, Fast CompanyWiredThe New Yorker, and more. He is currently a board member of the media technology company Contently, and the investigative journalism nonprofit The Hatch Institute.


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BIG IDEA 1 (4:05) – Re-look at problem mountain

Heuristics are the mental models or ways of thinking that we evolved to have in our minds. They impact how we perceive problems, people and our range of potential solutions. Our different experiences growing up, who we grew up with, where we grew up, languages we speak, gender or disability inform just some of the mental heuristics that influence our decision, behaviour and problem solving approach.

Shane says that different people’s mental models or heuristics affect their perspective of a problem. And therefore we need to ‘cast the right crew’ to solve different problems. Our differences may be more or less relevant in different situations or types of problems. 

So it’s not about casting the same crew for every problem, but what is important is knowing what type of problem you are solving first, and then picking the best mix of people to solve it.

BIG IDEA 2 (8:20) – The conflict paradox

Conflict can be a predictor of progress in a relationship. A lack of conflict can indicate organisational silence, which can end up as inertia, inaction and halt progress. But what we need to know is what it is we’re actually fighting for, how to harness that and what we are trying to get to as a result of conflict, otherwise it becomes toxic and unhealthy. 

An example in the book is the Wright brothers who are known for their loud arguments as they were trying to solve their flying machine problems. They would switch sides regularly and argue really well which lead to them finding the right answer and solving the complex problems.

Make sure that conflict is done in a healthy way, not personal attacks but a focus on getting to the right outcome and answer.

BIG IDEA 3 (11:45) – Play for belonging

Play creates points of connection, similarity and an opportunity for trust.  

In Argentina, the immigration of Jewish people and Europeans created significant tensions. However, it was a shared love of football that ended up bridging some of the cultural and religious barriers to bring people together. Despite not looking like each other, having different cultures and languages, customs and religions, they all loved football. 

It goes to show that something neutral can transcend generations, cultures, countries and languages can be the thing that connects people. Play breaks down barriers and allow people to have a point of similarity even when sometimes it seems like there’s none.

Music: Is It Hip-Hop by Lighbeats


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