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E303 | The Importance of Having the Right People in your Team with Ruth Wageman


This conversation between Ruth Wageman and Dominic Monkhouse delves into the critical elements of crafting high-performing teams.

Ruth and Dominic discuss the challenges of working with leadership teams and the need for clear purpose and interdependence.

Ruth talks about the ‘Six conditions for team effectiveness’, which include the essentials of creating a real team, clarity of team purpose, and a sense of team norms and values. The conversation highlights the importance of these conditions in driving team performance and the need for leaders to continuously revisit and adapt them. The third essential for building effective teams is having the right people. This means identifying the capabilities needed to achieve the team’s purpose and finding individuals who can contribute those capabilities. It’s important to have a team that is small enough to allow for effective collaboration and to have a diverse range of experience and perspectives. Collaborative skills are often overlooked but are crucial for effective teamwork. It’s also important to create a supportive context for the team, including a sound structure for the work, supportive norms of conduct, and an organisational context that promotes teamwork.

On today’s podcast: 

  • Creating a high-performing team requires clear purpose and interdependence.
  • The six conditions for team effectiveness include creating a real team, clarity of team purpose, and a sense of team norms and values.
  • Leaders need to continuously revisit and adapt the conditions for team effectiveness.
  • Many teams lack clarity of purpose and are not truly interdependent, which hinders their performance.
  • Building a great team requires a focus on the unique added value the team brings to the achievement of the organisation’s mission. The right people are essential for effective teams
  • Collaborative skills are often overlooked but crucial for teamwork
  • A small team with diverse perspectives is ideal
  • Creating a supportive context is important for team success

Follow Ruth:

Who is Dr. Ruth Wageman

Ruth Wageman is Primary Co-founder and Chair of 6 Team Conditions and one of the foremost scholars and practitioners studying and working with teams, especially leadership teams. The core of Wageman’s research, teaching, and consulting for the last 30 years has been focused on the conditions that influence superb team performance. Wageman’s work places particular emphasis on teams whose purpose is to solve complex problems and lead system transformation. She builds collaborative leadership capacity within and across organisations.

Wageman has been a professor at Columbia, Dartmouth, and Harvard, where she has led many original research programs about the design and leadership of teams. Widely published in both academic literature and in the business press, Wageman wrote “Senior Leadership Teams: What it Takes to Make them Great,” (HBS Press) with Deb Nunes, Jim Burrus, and Richard Hackman, as well as many seminal articles published in Organization ScienceAdministrative Science QuarterlyAcademy of Management Review and Journal of Organizational Behavior. Ruth designed the Team Diagnostic Survey with Richard Hackman and Erin Lehman. It is a powerful, well-validated assessment that measures team effectiveness and how well the six conditions that drive effectiveness are established for a team; she also leads accreditation workshops and supervises coaches in the use of the instrument in their practice.


  • CEO Coaching & Top Team Development
  • Collaborative Leadership & Governance
  • Community Organizing for System Transformation
  • Leadership Theory and Practice

What you’ll learn from Ruth Wageman

02:59 The Importance of Clear Purpose and Interdependence in Teams

09:57 The Six Conditions for Team Effectiveness

24:05 Creating High-Performing Teams: The Essentials and Enablers

30:06 Revisiting and Adapting the Conditions for Team Success

35:02 The Importance of Having the Right People

44:21 Creating a Sound Structure for the Team

54:39 The Role of Organisational Context

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