Nordic Enlightened Teams

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Creating high-performance business teams is a continual challenge. Especially when they are virtual, diverse and in different time-zones.

Google’s Project Aristotle research discovered that the best teams are not necessarily made of the best individuals, but were better able to collaborate as a ‘we’ rather than a series of ‘I’s. Here are the main characteristics the project identified:

  • People in the best teams tend to speak for equal amounts of time, rather than a few members dominating.
  • There’s an atmosphere of high social sensibility and psychological safety. Simply, people are nice to each other.
  • Members are persistent and brave in reminding each other to maintain this.

Can we learn something from Nordic cultures – which seems to correlate to Google’s research – and apply it wherever we are from?

In the past few years, many books and articles have been published about three Nordic concepts which might usefully be applied as 3 simple rules by teams:

hygge Рa Danish quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being. It fits well with psychological safety.

lagom¬†– The Lexin Swedish-English dictionary defines¬†lagom¬†as “enough, sufficient, adequate, just right”.¬†Lagom¬†is also widely translated as “in moderation”, “in balance”, “perfect-simple”, and “suitable”¬†The word comes from the Viking tradition of drinking just the right amount as the mead is passed round the table. In business, it could be a reminder to ensure team members contribute equally to the discussion.

Sisu Рa special Finnish strength and persistent resolve to continue and overcome in the moment of adversity…an almost magical quality, a combination of stamina, perseverance, courage, and determination held in reserve for hard times. For teams it could be the determination to apply rules 1 and 2, as well as guts in general.

It’s easy to remember things in threes. Why not use the¬†hygge,¬†lagom¬†and¬†sisu¬†approach to remind us to aspire to what Google found out in its quest to create the perfect team?

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