Trust: an essential ingredient for teamwork

My colleague Valeria Croce asked me to record visually two fantastic sessions she organised on “Trust” with renowned speakers. I reproduce here, to accompany my visual notes, the essential passages of the articles that Valeria wrote after the sessions, as a report.

Resilient teams: how trust underpins care and performance in teams

Resilient teams: how trust underpins care and performance in teams - Sketchnotes

To trust each other at work is even more important in the context of hybrid or remote work, with limited human interaction and the difficulty to reach out to new people!

Chris Tamdjidi shared with us the evidence and learnings he collected through the years working with teams inside and outside the Commission, focussing on the important role of trust in teamwork. He observed that:

  • It is difficult to build a culture of collaboration: while most teams have established processes to perform tasks, they don’t have established processes to improve how they work together,
  • During Covid he observed an increase in individual productivity, but a decrease in collaborative productivity: it takes more effort to connect with others and collaborate in a remote setting.
  • We risk to work in micro-silos, narrow connections because of remote working – we maintain the relationships we already have, it takes efforts to build new ones.

This is why it is important to build team habits that help strengthen collaboration, team resilience and trust, especially in a hybrid environment. These habits are: Habits of attention; of connection; and of positivity.

Why being trusted (or distrusted) matters

Why being trusted matters? - Sketchnotes

Trust is critical to create an environment where colleagues collaborate, share knowledge, engage and contribute to the achievement of the shared purpose. Yet, trust-based relationships require time to be built. What can we do to start building trust from the very beginning of a new collaborative project with colleagues from outside our team or unit?

Hilary Sutcliffe and Vanja Skoric shared lessons they learned working for over 130 civil society projects.In a nutshell, they identify four areas, where most barriers to trust and collaboration can be found, namely:

  • Prior experiences and assumptions
  • Skills and procedures
  • Culture and incentives
  • Process concerns

Three aspects that are crucial to overcome barriers are: A (truly) shared purpose; a trustworthy process (based on seven drivers of trustworthiness: openness, integrity, competence, inclusion, respect and fairness); and a visible impact.

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Graphic recording of the JRC Science Summit 2022

I knew that the JRC, the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission that I joined only a few months ago, is a furnace of ideas and projects, and that the colleagues who work there are incredible people. I can see now how much I underestimated both things after I participated in the JRC Science Summit.

During 3 days, JRC colleagues offered sessions and workshops on the subjects that fascinate them, on which they work, all related to the present and future of the centre. As a graphic recorder, this was my task during the 3 days, I was amazed by the enthusiasm, the quality of the research, and maybe I didn’t understand everything either.

I was inspired by the visual identity of the event for my visual notes. I reused the color code to distinguish each of the 3 days while marking the continuity between them. Prior to the event, I created a separate canvas on my iPad for each of the 3 days, which I completed live during the event. Here is the result of the 3 canvases assembled to each other and the 3 taken separately:

JRC Science Summit 2022 - Graphic recording
The 3 canvases assembled to each other
JRC Science Summit 2022 - Graphic recording
Canvas for Day 1
JRC Science Summit 2022 - Graphic recording
Canvas for Day 2
JRC Science Summit 2022 - Graphic recording
Canvas for Day 3

Below is a small Prezi animation that goes into even more detail:

I want to thank my colleagues in the JRC who organised this event for giving me the opportunity to capture it visually, and especially Elke Hanssens for helping me put the material together.

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Knowledge Management and Collaboration in international organisations: Edge or Curse?

Three drawings to illustrate in an offbeat way, and probably memorable way, the participants’ conversations during a session on knowledge management.

The session hosted by Huy-Hien Bui and Fania Pallikarakis, whose full title is “Knowledge Management and Collaboration in international organisations: Edge or Curse?”, was held as part of the Friends of Career Development Roundtable (FoCDR) workshop in Brussels on 17 June 2022.

KM and collaboration workshop - Sketchnotes
KM and collaboration workshop - Sketchnotes
KM and collaboration workshop - Sketchnotes
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The joy of drawing the meeting of two graphic communities

I’d the privilege to visually harvest the first ever meeting of 2 communities in the EU institutions that are close to my heart, the data visualisation and the graphic designers communities.

As mentioned and repeated by the Directors-general of DG COMM, JRC and the EU publications office, these visual thinkers are crucial for the EU communication. With their visuals, communication is more impactful, clear, transparent, meaningful.

As communities, they expressed the same main needs: more sharing among members and communities, and peer support. Wishing them to work more together in collaboration with scientists, communicators, and policymakers.

A tribute to these colleagues who think and work visually:

Workshop of different communities - Graphic recording

I discovered after that my graphic recording app, Procreate, records in time lapse my work (all mistakes, attempts, modifications, corrections, etc included). You can watch in less than 5 minutes how I captured live the whole event that lasted a few hours. Interesting, instructive, isn’t it?

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Managing team conflicts

Conflict and tension are part of (work) life and can become toxic if ignored. If we address them with care, wisdom can emerge and we can foster safety and trust in our teams.

Based on non-violent communication (NVC) and Theory U, Raffaella Toticchi explained us the 4+1 steps to have the needed conversations in our teams to finally resolve the tension:

  1. Clarify the tension, perceptions and observations
  2. Invite (with care) to have a conversation
  3. Bring out the elephant (in the room)
  4. Go deeper in the di-alogue and sense-making
  5. Resolve the tension and look at further agreements and actions

The talk was part of the “Coffee and Learn” initiative organised by the One-Stop-shop in DG JRC, European Commission.

Managing team conflicts - Sketchnotes
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The birth of a new community of practice

To best support the EC’s new HR strategy, announced by Gertrud Ingestad Director-General for Human Resources at European Commission, a community of HR professionals has been constituted.

I had the privilege of attending their first meetings where they discussed how to translate their vision into practical ways of convening, collaborating and being user centric. A solid team of expert colleagues guides the first steps of this community of practice.

This is my graphic recording of the last meeting.

Welcome to the newborn.

First meeting of the EC HR professionals community
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