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Smart Teams summary

Dermot Crowley

How to Work Better Together

4.2 (118 ratings)
21 mins

Brief summary

'Smart Teams' by Dermot Crowley is a guide to improving team productivity through effective communication, collaboration, and task management. It provides practical tips and tools for creating a culture of efficiency and shared accountability within teams.

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    Smart Teams
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    The right company culture is key to building more productive teams.

    Do you find yourself spending most of your working day dealing with unexpected interruptions or wasting time in unfocused meetings? Is your inbox overflowing with unread emails? Are your priorities constantly derailed by last-minute requests?

    If you recognize your workplace in this picture, you work in a culture of friction. Friction is the loss of productivity that happens between people, like when your plans for the day are disrupted by having to pick up the pieces of someone else’s unmet deadline.

    It’s a fact of life that emergencies can happen, and it’s natural that your productivity takes a hit as a result. But a lot of the time the slump in your productivity comes down to a build-up of little things that you don’t even notice until you realize how little you got done. It’s things like meetings always running late and too many irrelevant emails arriving in your inbox happening day in, day out that are a clear sign that there’s too much friction in your working life.

    Fortunately, most people mean well and don’t deliberately set out to work in a way that disrupts others. But if poor practices are widespread in a company, it can really work against those good intentions.

    For example, your colleagues might invite you to their meetings because they value your opinion, not realizing that you might have other priorities. But if your company culture pressures you into saying yes to every invitation, this can prevent you from being as productive as you could be. Instead of focusing on the real purpose of your role, you’ll spend too much time half-listening to irrelevant discussions.

    This means that to really increase productivity, we need to pay attention to how our actions could inadvertently be making other’s lives more difficult. It’s a question of taking a look at our working lives and pointing to behaviors that create the friction. They could be something very specific – perhaps it’s a norm in your company not to bother with a clear subject for emails, making it hard to prioritize your inbox. Or it can be something more general like a lack of empathy and respect for each other’s time.

    Once we know what the problematic practices are, we can start to change them.

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    What is Smart Teams about?

    Smart Teams (2018) is a practical guide to enhancing your team’s productivity. It gives you tools and strategies that you can use to help you and your team communicate better, collaborate effectively, and stamp out the disruptions that stop you from achieving your goals.

    Best quote from Smart Teams

    Our challenge is the unproductive friction we create for others when we cooperate, and of course the friction they create for us.

    —Dermot Crowley
    example alt text

    Who should read Smart Teams?

    • Business leaders who want to create a more productive company culture
    • Professionals seeking to collaborate more effectively
    • Anyone who wants to know how team productivity works

    About the Author

    Dermot Crowley is a trainer, speaker, thought leader and productivity expert with more than twenty years’ experience in the productivity industry. He is director of Adapt Productivity, a Sydney-based training company he founded in 2002. He is also the author of the best-selling personal productivity guide Smart Work (2016).


    © Dermot Crowley: Smart Teams copyright 2018, John Wiley & Sons Inc. Used by permission of John Wiley & Sons Inc. and shall not be made available to any unauthorized third parties.

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