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The Leadership Podcast

The Leadership Podcast

Why do we do this?

We interview great leaders, review the books they read, and speak with highly influential authors who study them.

How we do this?

#1 We interview great leaders.
#2 We review the books great leaders read and write.
#3 We have fun!

Jul 11, 2018

In this episode, Jim and Jan talk about the Urban Team Challenge: What it is, how it came about, how it’s different from other team builders, and the special type of people behind it. The goal is to sharpen your team’s ability to communicate, delegate appropriately, overcome adversity, and leverage strengths.  


Key Takeaways

[2:34] In our business and personal lives, most of us are on multiple teams, and several outlets where we are working both together and independently towards a common goal. The Urban Team Challenge targets skills that may be applied in any situation, whether it’s a manager leading employees, or CEO in charge of dozens of managers.

[3:15] Jan recalls a podcast episode he listened to recently where a Jayne Poynter recalls her challenges from Living in Biosphere 2. First was running out of oxygen, but a close second was the interpersonal dynamics surrounding her. This demonstrates how important it is for those to work together efficiently in team dynamic.

[6:11] At a recent Urban Team Challenge in Atlanta, they saw first hand how it can shift team members from an individual mindset, to one team working together for a common goal.

[11:25] Both Jim and Jan recap their takeaways from the recent Urban Challenge. They feel the most important were the experience of effective communication in a time of chaos, reducing stress with good planning and adapting, cohesion between the front facing and behind the scenes parts within a team, and fully understanding standard operating procedures and expectations up front.

[15:14] When team members get fatigued and taxed, it is important for them to speak up so another in the group can take the lead. It’s also important for the group to examine the implicit assumptions they make. For example, if there are two men in their 50’s standing outside a college bookstore, instead of going for the assumption that they should stand away from each other and act engaged in their cell phone, it actually might be better for their appearance of fitting in and acting “normal”, to stand and have a conversation together.

[17:17] For a strong team dynamic and successful collaboration, trust is key.


Instagram: @WeStudyLeaders

Facebook: @westudyleaders

Twitter: @westudyleaders

Website:  The Urban Team Challenge

YouTube:  Urban Team Challenge



Quotable Quotes

  • “In a chaotic situation, you need to depend on effective communication.”
  • “It’s hard to create alignment, and most of us are conflict avoiders, and this is an exercise to bring that all out in a hurry.”
  • “We create an understanding of what it is like to work as a team.”
  • No one ever says, “We over communicated.”
  • “Every team benefits from ground rules that can be adjusted along the mission.”
  • “In order to have good communication, you need trust and open dialogue.”