What kinds of people make groups work?

Collaborating Minds is working to create a bond between people in a large, geographically dispersed group. It has mechanisms to help bring people together. What kind of people might we need?

Collaborating Minds member Dave Summa assessed multiple small groups of executives (about 12 execs per group) who met regularly for education and mutual assistance. He studied what made some group jell while others never really grew to deeply trust each other.  His conclusions were that the groups that were successful had three kinds of people in them:

  1. The “Reverend” – This person was an authentic individual who was willing to drop his or her guard with the group. They admitted to their blind spots, and took the lead in taking personal risks with the group.  As a result, others began to follow in opening up.
  2. The “Glue” — This person was liked by everyone, perhaps for their warmth and/or sense of humor. The “Glue” sets a positive, upbeat tone for the group.  When people are wrestling with difficult problems, the “Glue” agrees that it is difficult but searches to share a story of a similar event that ultimately worked out well for the person involved.
  3. The “Truth Speaker” — The truth speaker is willing to hold the mirror up to the others in the group. He/she gently points out that someone’s definition of their problem might not be the best one or that there might be other issues going on. The truth speaker is courageous in his/her quest to truly be helpful

Dave also believes from his observations that in successful groups each member was interested in the situations, both business and personal, that other members faced.  Members were from different industries, and successful groups were full of people who were genuinely interested in learning about and from others.

We need to make sure that we build these insights and those of other members into how Collaborating Minds is shaped and develops.


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