Make Things That Matter
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#3 Christina Wodtke: Unleashing potential with extraordinary teams

#3 Christina Wodtke: Unleashing potential with extraordinary teams

Christina Wodtke

Christina Wodtke is an author, professor and speaker who helps groups turn into high performing teams. She is a lecturer at Stanford, advisor to many startups, and is the author of 5 books, including Radical Focus, a bestseller about the Objectives and Key Results , or OKRs, approach to goal setting, and her newest book, The Team That Managed Itself: A Story of Leadership.

Christina previously taught at California College of the Arts and was an executive at Zynga, MySpace, LinkedIn, and Yahoo.

In this conversation, we get deep into what it takes to really build high-performing teams. What is the difference between a working group, a team, and a learning team? When do you need which? How do you go about building a cadence and new set of rhythms for your organization, whether that is in product, engineering, biz dev, or elsewhere? This is a fascinating conversation about what it takes for humans to come together into something bigger than themselves and create amazing things to put into the world.

Listen now on Apple, Spotify, Google, Overcast, or Youtube.

Links & resources

Contact Christina:

Christina's books:

People, articles, resources mentioned:


Coming to California [0:03:23]
Christina's start in tech [0:06:39]
How did Christina get here? [0:07:36]
How do older & younger students affect each other in Christina's classes? [0:11:11]
What is Christina learning from her students lately? [0:12:41]
Christina's "unfortunate" personal quality [0:16:48]
Managing and teaching — do you need answers? [0:18:58]
What had Christina write THIS book? [0:20:16]
Treating your life like a startup & finding Product-Market Fit in your life [0:20:37]
How to validate a book idea, lean startup style [0:21:15]
Christina's big realization - what made OKRs work? [0:24:03]
The 3 things teams actually need [0:24:41]
What types of teams are there? [0:26:37]
Moving from a workgroup to a team [0:28:05]
What makes a team into a learning team? [0:28:49]
What makes a mindful, autonomous team? [0:30:16]
Radical Focus vs OKRs [0:32:56]
Trust & psychological safety [0:33:25]
The kinds of trust [0:34:25]
How trust is built differently across cultures [0:36:17]
In America, do we act like everyone is a robot? [0:37:11]
How can I chip away at cultural constructs? [0:38:50]
When is each type of team/group the right choice? [0:40:50]
What does it take to be a mindful team? [0:45:02]
How should people approach implementing these ideas? Giving feedback? [0:49:29]
Christina's "GASP" feedback framework [0:50:31]
Integral theory: I-We-It [0:57:51]
How long is this going to take? [0:59:50]
Where to start turning around a culture: compensation [1:02:20]
How does this team-level model integrate with the surruonding company environment? [1:05:48]
Can you make a healthy team in a dysfunctional company? [1:06:38]
Which team to start with [1:09:39]
Team health red flags to look out for [1:13:09]
GASP vs GROW? [1:16:15]
Your job as a leader [1:19:58]
The 9X process [1:22:30]
Goals, roles, and norms — and what people miss [1:23:41]
Isn't this too many meetings? [1:27:07]
How to create a lightweight meeting structure [1:29:28]
The thing that really makes the difference in goals [1:31:51]
Isn't this stuff all too "touchy feely"? [1:38:12]
Engineers are humans too [1:40:32]
The reality of work: nobody is in charge [1:41:59]
How to make a mindful team happen [1:42:47]
What impact does Christina want this book to have? [1:44:00]

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