For years I have been pitching that the physical face-to-face workshop is a cornerstone of healthy Super User Communities. One of the key reasons is because it creates interactions and experiences that build trust and psychological safety, critical elements to team performance. But, it's not always well received because you have to spend money to make this happen. And, with very large Super User teams, well... that can be a LOT of money. Regardless, my opinion and recommendation is still strong, GET YOUR TEAM TOGETHER. If budget is the issue, get creative in how you make this happen, but don't give up the request.
Teams are made of humans. Humans are motivated by bonding, shared experiences, and other healthy team dynamics. Super User leaders know how to use these experiences to create the necessary safety and trust zone that fuels engagement and performance. One of the best ways to ignite their performance and keep the fire burning is to create the shared excitement and engagement towards the common mission. Physical workshops are like adding wood to the fire. If you don't add wood for an extended period of time, well... we all know what happens. Then when you need that heat again, you can't just add some wood, you've got to get the fire going again.
So, about Google. They invested in a 3 year research project on how to build the perfect team. This is a great read. It's a long article, so grab a cup of coffee, sit back and enjoy. It's well worth the read.
The paradox, of course, is that Google's intense data collection and number crunching have led it to the same conclusions that good managers have always known. In the best teams, members listen to one another and show sensitivity to feelings and needs.The fact that these insights aren't wholly original doesn't mean Google's contributions aren't valuable. In fact, in some ways, the ''employee performance optimization'' movement has given us a method for talking about our insecurities, fears and aspirations in more constructive ways. It also has given us the tools to quickly teach lessons that once took managers decades to absorb. Google, in other words, in its race to build the perfect team, has perhaps unintentionally demonstrated the usefulness of imperfection and done what Silicon Valley does best: figure out how to create psychological safety faster, better and in more productive ways.
When I read this article, I thought I would explode with excitement!!! Healthy Super User teams are this! This is research validation of what we call "the secret sauce." Humans need to bond, create experiences, and feel passion about being a part of something valuable. The performance boost comes when we inject psychological safety and trust into this. An investment in this will create strong and long dividends for individuals, teams, departments, and the company. You cannot overlook the role that physical interaction plays. This is why I believe physical workshops are a cornerstone, a MUST-HAVE. If you found this exciting, here's more Google insight from their SVP of People Operations, Laszlo Bock, in The five keys to a successful Google team.
Look around and you will see and hear, "Companies need to invest in innovation, in transformation." How do you do this with your existing workforce? It doesn't happen by just telling them to innovate and transform. I believe teams like Super User teams are essential for transformation and innovation. Now, go be SUPER!