Quickly Build Trust and Understanding on a Team

One hurdle to people doing and saying any of these [relationship enhancing] things is that they don’t feel comfortable enough with their colleagues to even start. Scott Crabtree ran into this at Intel when his division reorganized and he suddenly had to work with people he didn’t know very well. Things got competitive and confrontational fast, and he felt his happiness and productivity drop in lock-step. So he confided in his manager, and was impressed with the response.

“We decided to each give what’s called a Pecha Kucha presentation. In Japanese, Pecha Kucha roughly means chit chat, but it’s a specific format of presentation. Usually, each person brings 20 slides with just pictures on them, and they get 20 seconds to explain each slide. In typical Intel fashion, we cut it to 10 slides and 10 seconds each, but we made the rule that people could only share things about their lives outside of work.”

Crabtree talked about growing up in Massachusetts, living in Oregon and watching his four-year-old daughter grow up. Others shared similarly personal details. “The difference was immediate and significant,” he says. “We immediately started treating each other less like competitors and more like collaborators. As our cooperation improved, my mood improved. As my mood improved, my productivity improved. It’s the best tool I have ever seen for quickly building trust and understanding on a team.”

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