You might have heard of 10x engineers and designers. But how about a 10x team? Do such teams exist?

A 10x team cannot be made by just bringing all the 10x folks together. An ant is different from an ant colony.

Let's dive deeper into how it's BUILT:

You need the right —

  • Size
  • Candor
  • Closeness
  • Cooperation
  • Culture

This is where magic happens. Let's dive into each of these —

The size of the team matters.

As you have more members in a team, the agility gets compromised even further.

Acc. to Brook's law, 20 or more membered teams requires more effort to coordinate than a 5 membered team. The reason? So many more communication channels —

Conflict on Ideas vs. Conflict on People

The Wright brothers who built the first airplane were infamous for their arguments and disagreements. They kept fighting (in a light way) over the tasks involved in building the plane.

For the Wright brothers, There was always a conflict of task — "X doesn't suit Y". But there was never a conflict in the relationship — "I hate you" In 10x teams, you notice the strict divide between — task conflict and relationship conflict. It never bleeds into each other.

Idea Labs vs. Echo Chambers

In some environments you observe that IDEAS have a safe space to grow and nurture. People separate ideas from teams. Ideas can be good or bad on their own merit.

However, in Echo Chambers, the ideas and the team that support them are inseparable. If someone disagrees with you, they are an ass. If they agree with you, they are ok.

Great teams set an environment of being an 'Idea Lab'. You tend to get to the truth faster. You resolve disagreements quicker. Your ideas get sharpened FASTER.

Trust. Trust. Trust.

When you ask people inside highly successful groups, they describe their relationship to each other using the same word. FAMILY. Not as 'friends' or 'teams'. They are much more than that.

“I can’t explain it, but things just feel right. I’ve actually tried to quit a couple times, but I keep coming back to it. There’s no feeling like it. These guys are my brothers.” — Christopher Baldwin, US Navy Seal Team Great teams get this right.

Radical Candor

Kim Scott talks about the fine balance between being kind and being direct. Great teams don't hesitate giving direct feedback. They already trust each other so well. They thrive in providing the environment for 'radical candor'.

Crisis Cooperation

Cooperation is this magical act where everything just falls into place. It's as if some teams have an HIVEMIND in action.

Navy SEALS go through 'Hell Week', a weeklong selection program where they do every gruelling task — four-mile open water swims, hand-to-hand combat, ten-mile runs, you name it.

The high level of cooperation among Navy SEALS is not a surprise but inevitable. It's designed. The Hell week pulls together thousands of crisis activities helping the NAVY seals get closer to each other.

If I reflect on the teams I have worked with, periods of crisis pulled people together and get things done. We had severe funding crunches, lack of resources, shortage of inventory. We survived them all. And got stronger in the process.

To summarise, these are the 4 key points that make 10x teams (there could be more) —

1. Size (8 ideal)

2. Idea Labs — Encouraging conflict of ideas

3. Trust — Kind but direct environment for feedback

4. Cooperation — Intense gruelling weeks that bring people together