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The Art and Science of Team Optimization


Mon Jun 01 2015

The Art and Science of Team Optimization
  • The world needs three types of leaders: artistic, scientific, and interpersonal. And the world needs them to work together to change feelings, knowledge, and behaviors as a team. Their initial joining up or onboarding is one of the crucibles of leadership. Doing it poorly produces lots of pain; doing it well will accelerate success. 

    Artistic leaders work with different media, care about perceptions, create new approaches, and connect with others’ souls to impact feelings. These leaders, like Apple’s Steve Jobs, lead with a combination of thinking and intuition.

  • Scientific leaders work on different problems, care about solutions, develop better thinking, and connect with others’ minds to impact knowledge. These leaders, like Microsoft’s Bill Gates, lead with a combination of thinking and logic.

  • Interpersonal leaders work in different contexts, care about their cause, rally the team, and connect with others’ hearts to impact behaviors. These leaders, like GE’s Jack Welch, lead with a bias to action. 

Pull them together by helping leaders agree on context, purpose, core choices, how to connect, and the impact they will have. 

Context. Begin by choosing where to play. This gets at the context, problems and media in which leaders choose to engage. These are not necessarily different. Taking others’ points of view into consideration broadens each individual’s perspective and frame of reference. 


Purpose. Purpose is about what matters and why. There’s no inherent conflict between perceptions, solutions and causes. Indeed, when artistic, scientific, and interpersonal leaders align around a common purpose they will spark new perceptions that lead to better solutions in service to a cause more people care about more deeply. 

Choices. The strongest leaders make the clearest choices around how to win. Whether the focus is on new approaches, better thinking, or rallying the team, the chances of winning are increased by paying attention to all of them. Choose a strategic focus. Then align your posture and culture around that choice. 

Connecting. There are multiple approaches to how to connect with others. Whether you’re focused on their minds, hearts or souls these are just different doors into the same houses. Either way, you can’t lead anyone if you can’t connect with him or her. 

Impact. Feeling, knowledge, and behavior are inextricably linked on the way to what impact will be made. Where some artists are content with influencing feelings, it’s better if they move someone to action. Where some scientists are content with influencing knowledge, it’s better if people can turn that new knowledge into tangible benefits. Interpersonal leaders are all about influencing behavior. For them, everything else is a tool along the way. 

HATCHing a Better Team


Start deploying these ideas now. The immediate next step for each of you is to change your attitude. Be aware of the differences in your team members. Work to understand those differences. Believe in the ability of those differences to create value. Whether you use a Hermann Whole Brain, Myers-Briggs, DISC, or other interpersonal styles framework to conceptualize differences, pay attention to them, seek out, celebrate and leverage the inherent value of diversity of approach.

Help us create a new toolkit. I’ll be leading a session at HATCH15 to flesh out a toolkit for “HATCHing Better Teams.” In its 12th year, HATCH is a network and a series of experiences designed to activate, connect, mentor, and cross-pollinate creativity and innovation. 

Sessions like this are more effective if attendees have a chance to think about things in advance. It seems silly to build a toolkit to optimize the diversity of teams without leveraging as much diversity as possible along the way. So, please email your ideas to me at [email protected].

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