Let’s Go Fika! How to Build a “Love Connection” with Teams
February is typically the month of romantic love, but love can extend beyond the romantic to love for the work you do.
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work,” said the late Apple founder Steve Jobs. “And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
Love also applies to teams. For example, the connection or emotion that helps us to care about a team member—their well-being, their opinion, their strengths, their contribution—is a love that drives superior team collaboration. But that’s putting the chicken before the egg.
The plight of highly productive “super chickens”
A few years back, tech leader and entrepreneur Margaret Heffernan gave a TED Talk in which she cited Purdue University biologist William Muir’s work on “super chickens.” Muir segregated average egg-laying chickens from the more prolific egg-layers—what he called “super chickens”—to see if those prolific layers would outperform their middling brethren.
Sadly, it was not to be. The “super chickens” pecked each other to death, leaving only a couple of survivors, while the average chickens continued to consistently produce eggs.
In other words, segregating the “super chickens”—or high achievers—from the flock does not make for highly productive teams.
In an MIT study that sought to identify why some teams perform better than others, researchers found that the teams that surfaced more and better solutions weren’t made up of “super chickens” with high individual IQs. Rather, the more successful teams:
- Gave individual members equal time to talk (that is, there were no dominant or passive members),
- Showed high degrees of social sensitivity to or “social capital” with each other, and
- Had more women in them.
In other words, while intelligence is important, ideas flow and grow in groups that are connected and attuned to each other and interested in their teammates’ well-being, their opinions, their strengths, and their contributions.
Help teams connect with “collective restoration”
What brings colleagues together in pursuit of a common goal is the trust, loyalty and bonds they develop with each other—a “love connection,” if you will. This “love connection” plays a critical role in building successful teams.
One way to inspire these connections and provide the needed social support is to encourage team engagement. The Swedish have a term for this, fika, which means “collective restoration.” Or, “let’s go fika”—as in let’s break bread with friends and colleagues over a cup of coffee.
But how does this work in cultures where competition and efficiency are prioritized over helpfulness and connection?
Very simply, it turns out. Consider the bank with 10 call centers and 25,000 people that decided to synchronize the coffee breaks of team members (cue the groans from the efficiency experts!).
Much to everyone’s surprise, giving employees time to connect away from their workstations yielded stunning results. Average call handling time fell by more than 20% among lower-performing teams (8% overall for the call center), employee satisfaction rose 10% and profits were forecast to increase by $15 million per year!
With those kinds of results, perhaps it’s time to replace “Game of Thrones-style management” and “fight-to-the-death competitions” that pit employees against each other and enable employees to connect and motivate each other instead.
Not only does this connectedness help drive teams, but it also provides resilience in times of stress. It’s what gives companies momentum and helps them build value.
Logicalis: Leading the way as a Great Place to Work®
Underscoring its dedication to employee well-being and connectedness, Logicalis US has been Certified™ by Great Place to Work®. This prestigious award is based on the results of a third-party survey of employees and their experiences working at Logicalis. This year, 80% of Logicalis employees said it’s a great place to work compared to just 59% of employees at the average U.S. company.
When asked what makes Logicalis a great place to work, employees most often mentioned the people. Our people make us a great place to work and connect.
As CEO Jon Groves says: “I am proud of many things but I am most proud of our people…our people are critical to our [and our customers’] ongoing success.” Groves creates the conditions that enable solutions to flow from our highly skilled and supportive teams through to our customers, which enables them to lead their organizations through change. That’s love.
Learn more about Logicalis’ Great Place to Work certification, or contact us for more information about our offerings.