I went to hear Khoi Tu, author of Superteams, speaking at The RSA a few weeks ago. He was sharp, smart and very interesting.

The best thing you could do is just to go straight to the podcast.

But if you want more of a taster, here goes. His premise was to go and spend time with some of the most successful teams in the world including the people behind Pixar, The Red Cross, The Rolling Stones, The SAS and Ferrari’s Formula One unit. He found out what made their teams so wildly successful.

There were too many delightful nuggets: Pixar appreciate the value of ‘creative abrasion’, where team members are tasked with positively pulling apart work that has been created. The Red Cross embody the motivating power of shared purpose. The Rolling Stones contain four essential elements of a superteam – a leader (Mick), an individualist (guess who), a diplomat (Ronnie) and a stable element (Charlie). It went on, brilliantly, including the suggestion that successful teams are between four and twelve deep; that teams who work together remotely need physical or at least visual hanging out time, and Mandela’s brilliantly understated observation about FW De Klerk in answer to a question about how to make difficult relationships work: “We get on, but we don’t hang out.”

And the best bit? He’s donating the profits from Superteams to The Red Cross. Now that’s putting your money where your mouth is.

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