Deep Dive: Designing GMB for Continuous Change and Growth
David Bolt (CEO) and Rob Den Besten (COO) of GMB joined Knowledge Architecture for a Deep Dive into their Team of Teams management system, which helps drive flexible and scalable change through all areas of the organization. Over the last three years, Team of Teams has changed the way GMB builds teams, connects disciplines, develops regional offices, grows empathy and trust within a multi-generational workforce, and structures the business itself. We also discussed the positive impact the Team of Teams system has had in helping GMB to navigate the coronavirus pandemic, manage knowledge, and prepare for an uncertain future.
00:40 Introduction to GMB
03:26 Q: Take us through GMB’s journey to a “team of teams” structure.
03:46 Growth and Identifying Priorities
05:35 Q: How did you change how you treat your people?
05:44 Discovering “Team of Teams”
07:22 People First Takes Work
08:30 Q: What is Teams of Teams and why did GMB adopt the model?
08:57 4 Principles: Building Trust, Exchange of Ideas, Common Goals and Purpose, Empowering Individuals
10:24 Q: What direction are you headed in?
10:40 Creating Lifelong Learners
11:00 Q: How do these principles break into an organizational design? What does the structure look like?
11:12 Creating Rhythms and Repetition
11:44 Non-Hierarchical Team Structure
13:10 Q: What’s an example of a team and what’s one of their scopes and decisions?
13:20 Pod Structure
14:20 Firmwide Assignment: What’s Our Flexible Future?
14:53 Building Trust & Empathy - 15 minutes daily
15:55 Summary of Pods Approach
16:30 90-Day Sprint Goals
17:00 Shuffling Pod Groups
17:22 Lifeline Exercise
18:25 Q: Can you talk about how change and trust go together?
18:40 The Future is All About Change
18:57 Change Requires Trust
20:00 Q: How did you knit together multiple offices with the pod system?
20:18 Building Connection with Cross-Office Pods
21:51 Q: Do you have to be in a pod?
22:15 Q: What were some of the objections early on?
22:22 Time Commitment & Purpose
23:04 Relationships Inspire Support
23:30 Q: Tell us about the 90-Day sprints.
23:44 Structure and Innovation
24:30 Q: What are some examples of a problem you have employees tackle as a group?
24:36 Multi-Office Communication, Flexible Future, Clients
25:00 Firmwide Finances
25:29 Experiment: Replacing Printouts with Collaborative PDFs
26:40 Q: What happens next when the pods are all meeting on these topics in parallel?
26:54 Topics Introduced at GMB University
27:20 30-Day Check-ins
27:45 60-Day Assessment
28:00 Inspiration from Lean A3 Formula
29:14 Q: What is GMB University and how does it interact with the pods structure?
29:36 Formalizing Knowledge Transfer
30:06 Two Day Off-Site for Entire Company
31:20 Q: How does GMB University relate to Coronavirus?
31:30 Team of Teams Structure Enabled Change
32:04 Virtual GMB University
33:21 Employee Survey
34:08 Q: How do you address introverts who want to keep personal & work life separate?
34:36 Fundamental Belief in Human Connection
36:22 Q: What is diversity like at your firm and is sharing different for women or people of color?
36:38 Gives Individual Employees Greater Voice & Empathy
38:26 Q: What is the onboarding process for new employees in existing pods?
38:42 Abbreviated Trust Onboarding
40:26 Q: Are the people within a pod also working on projects together?
40:50 “Super Teams” for Project Teams
42:40 Q: What does the process of moving people between pods look like?
43:08 Culture & Connection Team Evaluates Pod Makeup
44:05 Informal Leadership Training for Pod Captains
45:11 Q: How do pods share what they are learning with the rest of the firm?
45:25 Cross Pod Connections, Intranet
46:33 Q: How do you measure the success of the strategy?
46:36 Turnover Rate
47:05 Inter-Office Culture Transfer
48:03 Offices Feel Equal
48:50 Q: If you were going to start again, what would you do differently for someone starting on this journey?
49:08 Lead and Let Go
50:55 Q: Could you share more about the thought process about building pods?
51:14 Pods Inspired by Random Seating
53:08 Q: Is there influence from Lean / Agile / Scrum design?
53:30 Inspiration from Scrum
54:24 Using Scrum Tools to Connect People
55:06 We Don’t Track Hours!
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David is passionate about building GMB into a ‘Team of Teams’. He believes that all people deserve to be the best they can be, to work in a place that cares about them as individuals with unique gifts and abilities, and to find the right place to grow their knowledge. His job is to inspire, lead, dream, and provide an environment for teams to learn, grow, and give.
As COO, Rob's passion lies in connecting GMB's offices in a way that elevates a 'Team of Teams' approach, fosters an empowered culture, and leads to everyone's growth. His role is to keep teams focused on reaching their goals, delivering amazing service, integrating the major functions of the business, and growing in knowledge. He believes in getting the right people in the right seats and removing obstacles so that they can be successful.
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