Team Dynamics

What My Team and I Learned About Teamwork in 2019

By John Estafanous

ceo & founder, RallyBright

December 11, 2019

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The clock is winding down on 2019, and things are as hectic as they are every year at this time. Like a lot of CEOs and other managers, I’m trying to lead a company to a strong finish (our best ever). For me that means guiding and supporting my internal team, keeping our company partnerships strong, serving current customers while bringing on new ones, and continuing to develop our platform. 

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Despite a long to-do list, the end of the year is a natural time for reflection. This year more than any other perhaps, I’ve been thinking about teamwork. After all, RallyBright is in the business of helping teams and their managers accomplish more. We’re lucky to be in the trenches with so many teams, witnessing their successes and struggles. And we also have our own internal team with its own ups and downs, of course. 

As I thought about how I grew or changed as a team member throughout the past year, I was curious about what my own teammates learned in relation to teamwork in 2019. So I asked some of them.

Here’s what we all learned this year, starting with me. I hope reading through these helps you identify and appreciate your own growth this year, and whets your appetite for continued learning in 2020. 

We learned…  
“…that true teamwork means asking for help”

John Estafanous, Founder and CEO

I think I’m a typical founder in a lot of ways. I like to do things quickly and to figure them out myself. But true teamwork means you have to be honest and vulnerable, and to acknowledge when you need help. There are some things I can’t do, or it just doesn’t make sense for me to do efficiency-wise, and that’s fine. I can add more value by playing to my team members’ strengths and focusing on reducing friction wherever I can. 


“…that growth is a team sport”

Barg Upender, Chief Technology Officer

What I learned about teamwork in 2019 is that growth is a team sport. Each person has to do their piece based on their super-power: whether that’s creating great content, amazing design, effective campaigns, a smart sales process, excellent follow-up with customers, or something else. One of the things that differentiates high-performing teams is that they collaborate to remove friction so that they can prioritize delivering consistent performance. Every day I learn something new from my team, and for this I’m grateful.


“…to remember to assume positive intent”

Dr. Karlyn Borysenko, Chief Science Officer 

I wouldn’t necessarily say it was new information, but it’s always helpful to me to remember to assume the people I’m working with are operating from a place of positive intent. This is especially true when things get busy and everyone is stressed out because it’s so easy to lose your cool and assume a more adversarial relationship with your team when there are differences of opinion or approach. But I try to always keep in mind that most people are just coming into work and trying to do the best they can. They probably aren’t trying to work against me and it’s important to take a moment to try to see things from their point of view. 

One of the things that can help are the assessments on our platform in regard to performance environment and burnout. It’s important to keep track of where you’re at because the higher you are on those scales, the more likely you are to assume ill intent of the people you’re working with. It can help to put things in perspective, and be a good sign that it’s time to focus on your own well-being to get things back on track.


“…to notice my teammates’ preferences, then adjust accordingly”

Josie Raney, Content Lead 

For me, teamwork in 2019 meant learning about how someone’s personality and behavioral style affects how (and sometimes if!) they think, communicate, plan, collaborate and execute. I learned a good deal of this through the DISC part of our platform. (I also learned more about my own tendencies.) 

It seems so simple but I had never really stepped back to assess how I operate at work and on teams and what I might learn to improve through that reflection. Were my tendencies and attitudes helping my teammates or frustrating them? I started taking greater note of details like what pace they work at, how they brainstorm, and how much they speak up in meetings.

To sum it up, I’d say that I learned that I could improve the quality of our teamwork by modifying my behavior based on what I could tell my teammates preferred at a given time. I did this so that we could be in stronger alignment and therefore, hopefully, accomplish more. (And this wasn’t a one-way street; I noticed my teammates doing the same.)


“… to be open with my teammates and encourage positive communication”

Jake Moffett, Resilient Teams Consultant

Sometimes it’s tough to be frankly honest with your teammates. They’re the people you see everyday, and it’s easy to think they can read your mind. That’s of course not true, and I tend to forget that. I’ve learned that for a team to work, all the members need to be open with one another when feeling confused and lost. But also we need to be open with one another when someone does well and is excelling! 

Clear communication is key for a team be resilient, but that includes positive communication. I want to be on a team that’s resilient and aligned because I know others want me there too. That makes a huge difference to me. To feel important and crucial to a team. 

Reflecting on my experience with teamwork in 2019, I’ve learned to be more open, to ask others to be more open, and not to take critique so personally (still working on that one… I’m not the greatest at compartmentalizing!) 

How was your teamwork in 2019? If your team needs a reboot for the new year, we can help. Sign up for a free demo of RallyBright’s Resilient Teams.

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