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How to Assess the Health of a New Team

Jeff Polzer, a Harvard Business School professor who studies organizational behavior traces any group’s cooperation norms, and even future performance, to two critical moments early in a group’s life. 

They are:

  1. The first vulnerability
  2. The first disagreement

These small moments are doorways to two possible group paths:  Are we about appearing strong or about exploring the landscape together? Are we about winning interactions, or about learning together? At these moments people either dig in and become defensive and start justifying or they say something like, “Hey, that’s interesting.  Why don’t you agree?” I might be wrong, and I’m curious and want to talk about it some more.  

What happens in that moment help set the pattern for everything that follows.

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