The Effective Team Dynamics Initiative is excited to announce the launch of our new podcast series, “The Whole Elephant.” This project showcases the work of the ETDI, which helps students, faculty, and staff learn how to best work and thrive together in teams. Headed by Dr. Mary-Lynn Realff and now in collaboration with national and international partners, the Effective Team Dynamics Initiative provides a framework for bringing together the strengths and perspectives of different team members and creating innovative solutions to team-based problems.
The Whole Elephant, Episode 1 Transcript
Dr. Lee Hibbard (Host):
Hello and welcome to The Whole Elephant, a podcast series showcasing the effective team dynamics initiative at the Georgia Institute of Technology. In the modern workforce, teamwork is the cornerstone of any effective organization. And whether you’re part of an academic institution. A corporate office or a local community. The ability to work as a group is a lot harder than it looks. Getting even just two people to collaborate means the bringing together of two unique perspectives, lived experiences, value systems, and priorities, and even the most skilled and familiar of colleagues can struggle to make their disparate ideas come together into something cohesive and clear. We expand that into a team of half a dozen, a dozen, two dozen people and beyond, and you’ll end up with a pile of conflict and dissenting opinions, which means nothing gets done.
There’s a parable that’s relevant here, and it’s where we get the name of this podcast. It has many versions, but the general idea of it is this. A group of people who have never seen an elephant before are tasked with venturing into the dark place where it lives to determine what it looks like. The people go in and each of them manages to locate one aspect of the elephant. The trunk, the ears, the tail, and then upon recording back, each of them describes the elephant based on the aspect of it they touched. To one of them, the elephant is a long hose like trunk. To another, the bristly brush of its tail. Each has their own perspective, but none of them are able to grasp the entirety of what the elephant truly is until they confer and work together. Teamwork is about seeing the whole elephant, bringing together disparate perspectives to create and understand something cohesive. The effective team dynamics initiative is also a lot like trying to bring together the different parts of the whole elephant, and that’s the goal of this podcast. The initiative wears many hats across Georgia tech campus and on other campuses too, and it’s easy to get a small scale impression of the work they do without seeing the entire picture.
In this podcast series, we’re going to do our best to show you the whole elephant when it comes to making effective team dynamics work for your organization and everything that’s already in motion when it comes to the initiative’s success. Teamwork is the cornerstone of the working world. Come with us as we tell you about the ways you can help your team operate with understanding of the whole elephant.
Dr. Lee Hibbard (LH):
Welcome to the podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Lee Hibbard, a Brittain postdoctoral fellow at Georgia Tech. And today I’m sitting down with Dr. Mary Lynn Realff the director of the ETD initiative to find out more about her personal history with the effective team dynamics initiative and get an overview of what the initiative looks like. How are you doing Mary Lynn?
Dr. Mary Lynn Realff (MLR):
I’m doing great. I started the day with a workout in the park and I spent an hour with students helping them. Learn how to work in teams. So I’ve had a great day so far. Thanks.
Sounds like an excellent start to the day. Fantastic. Well, to get us started, I’d love for our listeners to hear a little more about you and the work you do. So could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Yeah, sure. I was born and raised in Georgia. I have an accent when I get closer to home, uh, but I usually sound more like this when I’m in my office. Uh, we lived on 42 acres. And, uh, in a trailer, we had four horses, we had a pony, we had cats, we had, I raised a steer in 4 H for all those people who know what 4 H is and we had 50 dogs. Yes, I said 50.
Oh, my goodness. That’s so many.
Yeah. My dad was a bird dog trainer and. Now, I live in Midtown Atlanta on much less than 40 acres. Uh, it’s less than one acre, actually, and I’m a professor at Georgia Tech. And I tell you what, those years of feeding those 50 dogs have served me well. We had to take dog food to them, take water to them. In the winter, you had to break up the ice to make sure they had water. It was a team sport, uh, getting them all fed and you had to get everything arranged so that you could get the job done. And I think maybe that’s my passion around teams that, you know, you could not get that done, uh, yourself. And so I have this passion around helping people to work together, to accomplish something that someone cannot do alone. I could not have fed those 50 dogs alone at all.
Absolutely not. I mean, even just five dogs, I think I would struggle to feed all of them in an effective manner. You know, you need a strategy, even just with a few, but then you’ve got, you know, you multiply that by 10 and suddenly the strategies have to sort of balloon and expand in completely different ways. That’s a really interesting sort of background point for a passion for teamwork and teams working together. I had no idea that you had that kind of experience.
Yeah, I, uh, I prefer to work in teams, which is unusual. Our research has shown that most people prefer to work alone. Uh, and part of that we’re finding out is because they’ve never been trained or had been taught the knowledge and skills to work well together.
Yeah, I agree. And I think that, and this is something I talked to my students about when I teach with computer science students, especially they need to work in teams, but most of them have terrible teamwork experiences because they were never taught how to work on a team. They were just sort of put together in little groups and said, work together. And then you just sort of had to muddle through it. From there, and that’s led a lot of students and even people who have finished their college careers, just hating the idea of having to work with other people because of the bad experiences that they’ve had and the memories that they associate with that. So, I, I definitely agree. Most people do seem to work alone and they prefer.
Yeah, it’s, it’s funny because, uh, I work at Georgia Tech engineering school, lots of engineering students. We have other majors though. Uh, but you’ve been. As a professor, a professor would never tell an aerospace engineering student, like, oh, you, you know, you’re going to have to design and build a plane later in your life.You go figure out how to do that. Like, just figure it out or, you know, Lee, you’ve driven a car before and you’re an ME, like, you know, just figure out how to design a drive train. You’re going to have to do that later. But every day of the week, yeah. Somebody, some professor tells a student, figure it out. You’re going to have to work in a team. You’ve worked in a team before. You know, I’d never say, Lee, you, you bought something from a business. Like, just figure out what a business plan is and figure out how to do that. You, it would be, you know, unacceptable.
Well, yeah. And I think that it, it speaks to the way that we teach things and people assume that there’s only some stuff that you have to teach. There are certain skills that you have to teach and it. Most things require some sort of education or instruction in order to be done effectively. And the fact that we look at something like driving a car, which requires training and reading a manual and taking a test as completely different than working on a team is really interesting to me, because I think they both require, like, not the same specialized skills, of course, but they still require specialized skills, because knowing how to interact with other people, it’s not always something that comes naturally to us effectively, because. We’re not always good at working with people. We don’t know what people are going to react like. We don’t know how they’re going to behave. You know, we’ve got to get a better feel for their styles as well as our styles. And so being able to teach people how to do that is. It’s so necessary and we really don’t do a lot of that.
I agree. I agree.
Well, and I think that leads in well to the next talking point, which is about effective team dynamics and just your personal history with it. I’d love to hear more about how you came into this world of using this particular tool and creating it and working with it at Georgia Tech.
So, I can remember 1 situation where I had a student come into my office and in my office, I have my desk, you know, my computer. Uh, but then I also have this little seating area with a little sofa and a couple of chairs and I was at my desk working and 1 of my students came in and plop themselves. In 1 of the chairs, and I looked over, obviously, I needed to get up and come over to talk to them. And she says, Dr. Realff, I’m on the worst team of my entire life. You could just hear in her voice and I said, oh, really? Like, what’s going on? Did she told me? She told me the story, how her professor, she had talked to them, but it was okay. Because he knew what was going on and he told her to figure it out. Right. Uh, and I was able to actually give her some pointers of what to do in the team to help her.
And I found I was pretty good at that and what I usually do when I want to learn something more about some area, go do some research. I read some books. I read some papers and I started reading and there was this whole research area around the team of the science of team science and people working well together or not.
Well, together, uh, and I found that with my natural ability to help people. And to see how they can work better in teams, maybe because of those, all those dogs I fed. Uh, but, uh, I was able to pull those things together. To build effective team dynamics to offer it. To the people that are around me that I cared about, which were the students and as, you know, college students have so many classes to take.
And everybody’s always wanting to add another class to do something. Uh, my thing was like, the students already have enough classes to take. Let’s look at where they’re already in teams. We’re already putting them in teams and let’s give them the skills along that 4 years that they’re in college to gain the skills as they are working in those teams.
So that’s what we’ve done. We’ve identified courses where they’re working in teams and we built this curriculum around it. Uh, and I had some sort of guiding principles. I wanted to do things that would actually work. So we tried things. We modified things. We tried them with different. Types of teams, and I also didn’t want the class to become a class about teams.
So it’s still be, uh, English class that was about communication, but it would also include teamwork training. It would be psychology. Where they’re looking at experimental methods, but it would also teach them how to work better in teams. And I think that’s 1 of the reasons we’ve been so successful because we’re right there when they need you.
So you’re working in a team and you got that. Person that can’t seem to organize themselves to contribute in a meaningful way. Like, how do I deal with that? Dr. Realff? How do I deal with that? How can I set up that team to to work? Well, from day 1, um, and we’re able to do that with the students, uh, working with their faculty to bring them these skills.
That’s really fantastic. I feel like that’s one of those things that’s needed in so many disciplines and professions now. And a lot of times, the ability to work with other people gets sort of shunted into soft skills, which is, you know, often used in a somewhat derogatory term, something that is not necessarily as significant or important as the hard skills that you learn for your degrees.
But the more you look into it, the more you realize that the most successful teams are the ones that actually. Pay attention to the importance of working on a team and having the tools to work on that team effectively. And it’s something that’s necessary. And I would, I mean, maybe I’m being a little dramatic or exaggerating, but pretty much every career has some.
Team building or team work component to it, even if it’s just you have colleagues that you have to interface with on a regular basis. So, yeah, I think that that’s so important.
Well, it’s interesting because the, the work started around my passion for undergrad students and just building, building them, seeing them be curious, seeing them grow over the years that they were at Georgia Tech is just really exciting to see.
These students really develop and figure out who they are, you know, minus everyone they grew up with, minus their parents, you know, they, they come and they’re figuring out themselves and they’re figuring out how they interact with other people. One of the interesting things is people started noticing what we were doing with the undergrad
And so one of my colleagues approached me and said, would you consider doing this for graduate teams? We have a lot of graduate students working in research teams. Uh, a lot of times they’re interdisciplinary. Teams yeah, so different disciplines have different ways of thinking about things different, uh, values different.
They just work differently and see things differently. And so I thought that was really interesting. And so we built a curriculum for graduate students while the graduate students were. Working with faculty and the undergrad students had professors and, uh, we have something called GT 1000, which is our freshman first year seminar for our first year students.
And a lot of those instructors are volunteers. And so they might be faculty, or they might be a staff in a unit at Georgia Tech. They saw what we were doing with the students and they’re like, oh, Mary Lynn, we need this in our staff group. And so it’s interesting in the last week. I’ve done 3 staff workshops just to bring the same thing.
We’re teaching to the students to the professional groups on campus. Um, so it’s, it’s pretty exciting that. Uh, like, you say, teams are everywhere and we’ve been able to, to use what we’ve developed and obviously the scenarios are different because the things that students will, uh, talk about in their life and their situation is different than that of a, of a staff person. Um, but the skills that we’re teaching them are the same.
Absolutely. And I think that that’s. So cool. Just all of it is so cool. It’s the reason that I signed on to all of this, because I also do a lot of work with student teams, and the more tools you can use to get them to do it effectively, the better, I think
And, uh, I think that that leads in really nicely to the next thing I wanted to talk about. I think that. Obviously you’re very familiar with ETD. There are a lot of people who are familiar with it, but part of what we want to do here is share a little more information about what it is at its core and how it works. So what I’d really love is, uh, how would you define ETD in simple terms?
I, I think ETD gives you the knowledge and skills to work better in a team to get outcomes. That you couldn’t get alone and I, and I guess I should have said a thriving team. We want people to thrive in the team. We want you to get energy from being with this team, not be drained. And so, um, we give you the knowledge and skills and a place to practice.
The skills, the knowledge you’ll need to thrive and work well in a team. That’s what we’re about.
That’s great. That really is. I think that that’s a wonderful little sort of narrow snapshot of exactly what we’re trying to do here. And, uh, when it comes to teamwork and team building, obviously you’ve done the research. There’s a lot of different approaches. Uh, my next question is, uh, what do you think ET does most effectively that other team building strategies you’re familiar with Just. Doesn’t quite pull off. What do you think is its strength?
I think one is something I’ve already mentioned, which is this integrated approach. So a lot of people want you to kind of go to this one off, let’s, let’s go to offsite. Let’s have a weekend thing for students. Let’s have a training that’s a one and done.
And we are really looking at how do you integrate it in all these different teams, the, the students and the faculty and the staff are in, um, to really give them the skills that they can practice. While they’re doing that meaningful teamwork in that class, or in that student organization, or in their staff group.
Um, so I think that’s 1 thing that other people, um, are not having this sustained intentional revisiting and building on the. The things you’ve already taught them. So 1 of the interesting things that we did is we took an approach that for the undergraduate is a class. And by that, I mean, it’s a class whose duration is 4 years where the lectures occur in different classes, but we have learning objectives.
That we’re trying to meet and each activity that we’ve designed meets that learning objective. So, for example, we want to teach people how to evaluate each other. So, in the 1st year, they point out where that person contributed the most to the team. And by the time they get to the 4th year, they’re not only writing the team’s performance in 7 different areas of teamwork.
They’re also making meaningful comments. To each other about the contributions. And so we build that intentionally integrating it into the curriculum. I think the second part is we really start with the person knowing themselves. So we ask you, Lee, who are you? What can you know about yourself? Your patterns of thought, patterns of behavior, what you like to do, what energizes you?
We get our participants to look at that first. And then we get them to ask a question, like, how do you team? How are you in a team? So today in the class that I did with the students, they talked about what they bring to the team. What is it that you usually bring some for some people? They bring this analysis.
They love to prove things for other people. They want to keep everybody working. Well, together and energized during the process. Other students, you know, they want to look at the past so that they can figure out what the future looks like. Um, they all have different ways. They want to contribute. So we, we get them to really look at how are you in a team?
Then we have discussions with the whole team. How do we team together? And I think. Taking those 3 main questions and really investigating them so that the, the, how do we team together? You not only learn how you’re behaving in a team, but how your behavior in the team influences the other people on the team.
And so I think those 2 aspects, sort of the way that we. Get people to, um, build those skills by looking inside, then how you interact with other people, and then how the whole team interacts with each other, as well as the integrated approach.
Fantastic. It’s such a in depth situation, I think, compared to the way most people look at this kind of team building or team creation.
And I really appreciate that because so often it feels like these kinds of team interactions are sort of. tacked on little behaviors, things that were expected to just do or intrinsically understand. And you just kind of have to muddle through working with someone who you really don’t have the opportunity to fully understand the way that they work best.
And then that leads to conflict and resentment and work not getting done the way that it needs to. And I think that I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, giving people the language to talk about themselves as much as anybody else makes a huge difference, because you can’t really define how you’re going to work well with other people until you know how that works for you.
If you don’t look inside. You’re not going to be able to put that outwards.
I think that the self awareness is so important. I also think the integration is really important. I, uh, I did a stint in corporate life in another world before I went back to graduate school about 10 years ago. And I remember distinctly that the way that they would treat Try to build team effectiveness is just every couple of Fridays, we would go into a room, they would make us do awkward team building exercises that didn’t really connect to anything.
And there was just, I’ve seen that before. I’ve participated in that before. It is incredibly unhelpful and nobody wants to be there and nobody wants to do it. And so I think that something that is a little more Utilitarian, I guess is the right word. Something that is actually relevant and obvious makes a big difference compared to just, we’re going to all stand in a room and everyone whose favorite color is blue can go stand in this corner.
Right? I, I’m, I agree with you. I like some of those team building. There was, there was actually 1 that was described to me that I thought was really interesting. They had puzzles, small puzzles. And the pieces of the puzzle were, was on, were on your table. So imagine, you know, you have 5 or 6 people around this table.
There’s these puzzle pieces on the table. And there were like, 10 tables of people and they had to put the puzzle together. But what they found out very quickly is they, they didn’t have all the pieces. And they had pieces of other people’s puzzles that were at other tables. And not only that, the organizer person had put a symbol on some of the backs of the puzzle.
There was like a red herring, like the symbol didn’t mean anything, but of course someone assumed that it meant something and they didn’t let the people talk to each other. So, uh, So, this was a group that I worked with last week. I wasn’t there for this puzzle activity, but it was very impactful. They were talking a lot about this.
I think a lot of it has to do with the debrief. Right and for us. Um, we do have those intentional things that people can use in their team now. And so with the puzzle thing, um, the team needed to know you didn’t always have all the people you needed. You didn’t always have all the things that you needed to complete the task and you had to work with people that you didn’t think you had to work with.
Yesterday, or, uh, sorry, Monday, I had those people look at what each member of their team contributes as the puzzle pieces, right? What is it? What project do you have going on right now? And how do your teammates contribute? How do they want to contribute? And what does the team need someone to contribute?
You know, there’s a list of things that you need needs to get done for this project to Be successful, so we talked about that. And then we talked about how the person wanted to be work with. What kinds of projects did they want to do? What kind of projects gave them this energy and help them thrive? Um, so I think those activities that you kind of, uh, you don’t want to really do sometimes can be impactful if you have the right debrief and you have the right application.
Um, for it again, all of our activities are geared towards helping you in a team, build your skills, but apply them right there in the team in a way that’s productively applied to the task at hand, which for the students and for the staff teams is a real project. And a real assignment or a real something that a student organization wants to do
and that’s that’s a really appreciated perspective. The, the importance of a debrief. I mean, I think that’s something that has occurred to me, but when you put it in that precise way, especially when it comes to an activity like that with the puzzle pieces, it, it really makes a lot of sense. Integrating all of that information is so important. And that’s really amazing that that’s sort of built into the entire structure of what ETD is trying to do. That’s great, honestly. And this is something that you’ve been working on here at Georgia Tech for a while now, right?
Well, I’ve been helping people in teams for about 20 years, of course, uh, but I’ve only officially done it as my research and as, uh, a funded passion, I should say for the last, uh, six years at Georgia Tech, uh, since then, like, during that time, we were able to grow it, not only at Georgia Tech, like I said before, from the undergrad program to graduate research teams, interdisciplinary research team staff.
Thank you. Um, teams, we’ve also grown it at other places in the world and part of it was thanks to the pandemic. Uh, so we had a national science foundation grant, uh, to, to look at the graduate student teams and to build a curriculum for them. And we, we got a supplement grant from them during the pandemic to do two things, look to see the pandemic and how it impacted their work, but then also to put some of our stuff online so that it could be self served.
And one of the things we did was an online version of our workshop. And a group from, uh, University of Texas, San Antonio health systems came to our online thing. They were so excited about it that they said, we want to do this here. Uh, we have developed a facilitator guy that teaches other people how to do it.
And so we did online training with their staff and faculty there, and they’ve been offering it there for four years now, uh, for their students that work in biomedical engineering and the MD students. So they’ve get, they’re getting the engineers and the doctors together in grad school so that they can get each other’s perspective and learn how to work better together so that when they go out in the world that they.
Actually design tools to help doctors do their work and that they can work well together and communicate together. So it’s pretty, it’s pretty exciting that there’s these places where they’re looking at it. University of Wisconsin is integrating our undergraduate curriculum and all their engineering degrees, and we were just up there a few months ago, and we worked with not only our staff and faculty, but we work with students. And 1 of the students was amazing a graduate student and we teach the 1 of the things that we teach is how to have a crucial conversation. And, uh, I don’t get any kickback from the crucial conversations people, but I highly recommend that book.
It’s a, it’s a easy read. It’s got lots of really good skills in it. I’m actually, uh, certified to teach the, the. A crucial conversations course, uh, and we teach the graduate students how to have crucial conversations with their advisors. We were cleaning up the workshop, you know, uh. Putting away the extra food.
And I was making sure I didn’t forget my computer and my dongle, you know how goes, goes when you finish the workshop? Mm-Hmm mm-Hmm, . And the student came back and the student says, oh, Dr. Realff, I just wanna thank you so much. You know, you taught us so much and I’m, I said, you’re welcome. You know, this was like 25, 30 minutes after the workshop,
I thought, it’s very strange. He left and then he came back and he keeps talking to me and he, he says. I just had a crucial conversation with my advisor. And I was amazed, I was like, oh, how did that go? He’s like, we both feel so much better now. I just had to come back and tell you, thank you so much. And so when you hear things like that, it’s just so exciting.
I think it’s the only time that I know of that someone took something I taught them in a workshop and immediately implemented it. So that was, that was very exciting.
I bet, that kind of thing is so rewarding and it’s something you don’t get a lot of when you’re in education, you know, that people are taking good experiences and using the things that you’ve taught them, but it’s so rare that somebody comes back and says, this right here is directly applicable to what I’ve just done with my life. That’s, that’s so rewarding. That’s really wonderful. So that’s a lot of stuff on other campuses. You mentioned. San Antonio, and you mentioned Wisconsin, what other sort of, uh, major initiatives are going on on other campuses?
Uh, so we have 2 places in Puerto Rico. Awesome. They’re, uh, 1 of them is just doing the undergraduate stuff. The other was doing the undergrad stuff and we’ve done training with their leadership team. So their president and all their deans and all their chairs, we’ve done team training with them in Puerto Rico. Um, we’ve got Wisconsin, we’ve got Texas, of course. Don’t don’t think bad of me. University of Georgia, Georgia tech UGA.
We’re kind of rivals, but we’ve done workshops at a university of Georgia. And I guess, uh, one of the fails, not a fail was Okinawa Institute of science and technology. So they are very interesting university in Okinawa, Japan. And they have students from, I think, 80 different countries. Who come to Okinawa to do a graduate, they do the PhD program and we got connected and I decided to go out there, um, to do the workshop with their graduate students in person.
It turned out my husband was going for a conference and they wanted me to come do the workshop for them. And I said, oh, I’m going to be in Japan. So I’ll just come there. So we fly all the way to Japan. We get to the first conference. The second day we’re there, my husband starts not feeling well. Oh, no.
Yes. Tested positive for COVID. So instead of going to Okinawa, we got to see Kyoto from the window of the hotel. And very early in the morning when nobody else was around, but all that to say, if you, if you’re going to have COVID somewhere in the world. Kyoto is an excellent place. They were phenomenal to us.
Mm-Hmm. . They sent us a box of food. Aw. They took such good care of us. They checked in on us. But the exciting thing is that coming up in November, uh, oh, I should mention we did do the workshop. It’s just after I got back at 3:00 AM in the morning for my time, uh, we did the workshop with them. Exciting thing is November.
I’m going back. Oh, and I am doing the workshop in person again for their next group of students. And I’m also going to do some training with their, um, faculty and staff so that they can offer this themselves in the future. And I’m super excited about that. Uh, for another reason, my son lives in Japan, so
even better, the perfect excuse.
That’s right. That’s right. Um, so it’s just exciting to have all these places, um, using this. The other expansion that we’ve done is to, um, large research centers. So we’re working with a center called Casper and the lead university is Texas tech, but also there are other universities involved, Georgia Tech, M.I.T. uh, case, Western Reserve. Um, and New Mexico is an officially, Uh, involved, but they are, they’re collaborating with the center. And so I’m also very excited that in December, we’re going to be traveling to Texas tech to do some training there with their leadership team for that center as well as with the graduate students.
And so, um. I think that’s the, our next sort of iteration of what we’re going to do with graduate programs is come around these really large centers. These are centers that are going to be around for about 10 years. They’re usually tackling something that is super important to the world and lots of people are involved.
They’re working in teams. They’re distributed teams. So, as I said, you know, they’re in the Northeast, they’re in the Southeast, they’re in the Midwest. They’re all over the place. There are different cultures in those places. Uh, and they’re also doing different parts of the research. And so it’s really exciting for me to be an to be involved with that, because we’re going to be able to make an impact on these big, complex problems that need to be solved.
That’s fantastic. It really sounds like things are not only expanding, but thriving much like any other, much like you’d want any team to thrive, but that’s, that’s wonderful. It feels like the initiative is an example of the very thing that it’s trying to push forward in a lot of ways. Maybe that’s just my, my view at this point, but that’s, uh, I’m thinking about, uh, to bring it a little closer to home. What are the major initiatives going on on Georgia Tech campus right now? How do you see ETD? Looking right now,
So I guess the part of it, I haven’t mentioned yet is, uh, in leadership programs on campus. So the human resources department is, um, really focused on building the leadership skills of. All the employees at Georgia Tech and is 1 of the key activities that people can do to build those skills. Uh, so prior to this, we’ve been involved in several different leadership programs. Uh, but it’s been in 1 on 1 connections. So, someone had heard that we had done something in, uh, leading women at tech, and they wanted us to come do something for the Woodruff leadership program.
Um, and this is more of a, uh, uh, concerted effort to really bring more leadership skills and more teaming skills to, uh, the people who work at Georgia Tech. And so it’s really exciting to be, um, part of that. Um, and so I think this idea that, um, so we have about 14 facilitators that we’ve trained through effective team dynamics.
I know that sounds like, maybe sounds like a lot to some people, a little to some people, um, but to really make the impact that we want to make, we need more. And so I think partnering with the larger parts of Georgia Tech, like human resources to really bring this to all the teams at Georgia Tech, um, is, is part of kind of where we’re going and the, one of the parts that I’m very excited about.
Fantastic. I’m excited about that too. Can’t wait to see what that starts looking like over the course of the next couple of semesters. Uh, I think at this point, uh, you’ve already talked a little bit about some future plans for ETD, but uh, what other things are coming up? What does the future look like for ETD as a whole? What other things are you excited about for the future of it?
1 thing is we are being featured in a book. It’s called The Heart of Innovation: A Field Guide for Navigating to Authentic Demand. Uh, so I’m excited to see what impact. Us being featured in chapter 11, if you want to look it up, uh, the book isn’t out until November 7th, but I think this could really give us a platform, um, where more people can learn about us.
Uh, I’m excited about our social media and this podcast and people that we might help equip through the podcast to learn some skills. Um, to help them in their teams. Uh, we’re working on research papers. So I’m very excited about 1 of the papers that we’re doing. We designed a course that meets the health and well, being requirement for students at Georgia Tech and that course, they focus on what’s right with them.
So, a positive look at that how they work with each other, but also resilience and thriving. So, just like, there’s this whole research around teams and teamwork. There’s a whole research around thriving and resilience. We brought that together to build this course. And 1 of the things that the students do is they write reflections.
And so over time, they change the way they talk about things they, you can see evidence that they’re grasping these concepts, or they’re using the resilient strategies that we’re trying to teach them. And so we have a big study going on right now, where we’re analyzing those, um, reflections that the students.
Are turning in, so that’s super exciting that we have that paper that will be coming out in the literature. Hopefully soon. Uh, we’re going to complete most of the research, uh, this semester and I’m just excited about what we’re going to find out there and see what kind of impact we made on on sort of thriving, uh, this whole idea of working effectively in a team was sort of, my vision at first was how do you effectively work in a team? Mm-Hmm. . But lately I really have latched on to this. How do I thrive in a team? Mm-Hmm. . I don’t wanna just function in a team. I don’t wanna just be an okay team. I don’t wanna a team be in a team that’s just like, eh.
Yeah. It’s the AB plus. You know? It was okay. I wanna help people be in teams where they’re energized and where they thrive, and I think that is one. A direction that we’re focusing on that I’m super excited about.
Thank you so much for talking with me today, Mary Lynn. For more information about the Effective Team Dynamics Initiative, visit etd.gatech.edu. Stay tuned for more podcast episodes about the other ways ETD is making an impact across Georgia Tech campus and beyond. You’ve been a terrific audience. This is Dr. Lee Hibbard, signing off.