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The art and wisdom of changing teams | Heidi Helfand (author of Dynamic Reteaming)

The art and wisdom of changing teams | Heidi Helfand (author of Dynamic Reteaming)


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Heidi Helfand is the author of Dynamic Reteaming, which outlines practical strategies for orchestrating successful team and company org changes. Her work is informed by more than 20 years in the tech industry at notable companies like AppFolio, Procore, and Expertcity/GoToMeeting. Today, she dedicates her efforts to sharing her knowledge through workshops, comprehensive courses, and consultative services, helping organizations navigate and optimize their team structures. In this episode, we discuss:

• The importance of reteaming and reorging

• The benefits of embracing reteaming

• The five patterns of reteaming: one by one, grow and split, merging, isolation, and switching

• Examples of successful reteaming

• Why stable teams are not always ideal

• How change can lead to great career opportunities

• The RIDE framework for decision-making

• Advice on how to set up isolated teams for success

• The anti-patterns of reteaming and the challenges that can arise

• Tactical tips for becoming a better listener

Some takeaways:

  1. Change and growth are natural parts of company evolution. Don’t fear reteaming or reorgs; instead, embrace these changes, actively plan for them, and leverage the five reteaming patterns to create a dynamic and adaptive organizational culture.

  2. The five patterns of reteaming are one by one, grow and split, merging, isolation, and switching. Tailor your approach to reteaming based on the specific needs of your organization.

  3. Isolation can be a powerful driver of innovation. Maximize the impact of these teams by placing them somewhere separate, giving them process freedom, and outlining clear decision-making structures.

  4. Listening is a muscle you can build. Start by being aware of internal distractions (level one), redirect your attention outward to focus on the speaker (level two), and expand your awareness to the environment and non-verbal cues (level three). Pay attention not only to words but also to body language and environmental factors.

  5. Reorgs don’t always have to feel top-down. There are strategies for running a more transparent process and helping team members feel empowered. The feasibility of such strategies depends on your particular org size and context.

Listen now on Apple, Spotify, Overcast, and YouTube.

Where to find Heidi Helfand:

• X: https://twitter.com/heidihelfand

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/heidihelfand/

• Website: https://www.heidihelfand.com/

Where to find Lenny:

• Newsletter: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com

• X: https://twitter.com/lennysan

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lennyrachitsky/

In this episode, we cover:

(00:00) Heidi’s background

(03:40) How Heidi got involved with reteaming and reorgs

(07:37) Advice for people dealing with reorgs

(11:56) The benefits of change and the RIDE framework

(17:11) The five patterns of reteaming

(20:00) The power of isolation

(27:38) Advice on how to be successful by isolating small teams

(33:27) Supporting and protecting internal startups

(34:33) The one-by-one pattern

(36:44) The grow and split pattern

(39:20) The merging pattern

(42:14) The switching pattern

(50:18) Anti-patterns of reteaming

(52:49) Embracing change and growth

(58:48) How to become a better listener

(01:01:28) Lightning round


Dynamic Reteaming: The Art and Wisdom of Changing Teams: https://www.amazon.com/Dynamic-Reteaming-Wisdom-Changing-Teams/dp/1492061298

• O’Reilly: https://www.oreilly.com/

• Procore Technologies: https://www.procore.com/

• Kristian Lindwall on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristianlindwall/

• Chris Smith on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chrissmithagile

Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes: https://www.amazon.com/Transitions-Making-Changes-Revised-Anniversary/dp/073820904X

• Pat Wadors on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/patwadors/

The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Products That Win: https://www.amazon.com/Four-Steps-Epiphany-Successful-Strategies/dp/1119690358

• GoToMyPC: https://get.gotomypc.com/

Teamwork: https://www.amazon.com/Teamwork-Right-Wrong-Interpersonal-Communication/dp/0803932901

• AppFolio: https://www.appfolio.com/

• SecureDocs: https://www.securedocs.com/

• Citrix: https://www.citrix.com/

The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups: https://www.amazon.com/Culture-Code-Secrets-Highly-Successful/dp/0804176981

• Tuckman’s stages of group development: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuckman%27s_stages_of_group_development

• Rich Sheridan on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/menloprez/

 • Menlo Innovations: https://menloinnovations.com/

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us: https://www.amazon.com/Drive-Surprising-Truth-About-Motivates/dp/1594484805

Toyota Kata: Managing People for Improvement, Adaptiveness and Superior Results: https://www.amazon.com/Toyota-Kata-Managing-Improvement-Adaptiveness/dp/0071635238

• Paulo Freire: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paulo_Freire

• Jon Walker on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jwalker/

Managing Corporate Lifecycles: https://www.amazon.com/Managing-Corporate-Lifecycles-Ichak-Adizes/dp/9381860548

• The Adizes Institute: https://www.adizes.com/

• John Cutler on Lenny’s Podcast: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/what-differentiates-the-highest-performing-product-teams-john-cutler-amplitude-the-beautiful-mes/

• Co-Active Training Institute: https://coactive.com/

Co-Active Coaching: The proven framework for transformative conversations at work and in life: https://www.amazon.com/Co-Active-Coaching-Fourth-transformative-conversations/dp/1473674980

Creating Intelligent Teams: https://www.amazon.com/Creating-Intelligent-teams-Anne-R%C3%B8d/dp/186922583X

The Surprising Power of Liberating Structures: Simple Rules to Unleash a Culture of Innovation: https://www.amazon.com/Surprising-Power-Liberating-Structures-Innovation/dp/0615975305

Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making: https://www.amazon.com/Facilitators-Participatory-Decision-Making-Jossey-bass-Management/dp/1118404955

The Bear on Hulu: https://www.hulu.com/series/the-bear-05eb6a8e-90ed-4947-8c0b-e6536cbddd5f

Production and marketing by https://penname.co/. For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email podcast@lennyrachitsky.com.

Lenny may be an investor in the companies discussed.

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Lenny's Newsletter
Lenny's Podcast: Product | Growth | Career
Interviews with world-class product leaders and growth experts to uncover concrete, actionable, and tactical advice to help you build, launch, and grow your own product.