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What is Matthew Syed Intelligent Teams?

This model visually represents a ‘team of rebels’ – i.e. one within which each individual is free to be themselves and be different, within a coherent and clear set of values, vision and culture. The rectangle represents that clarity of culture and expectations, within which individuals feel safe to express themselves and say what they really think. 

‘Rebels without a cause’ happens when the clarity of expectation is not there and so individuals behave in ways that are not aligned or coherent. 

The other risk is ‘groupthink’ where teams recruit the same ‘type’ of person, or end up that way because of a dominant leader who supressses others’ ideas and input.

What is an example use of Matthew Syed Intelligent Teams?

The model is very powerful for reflecting on the culture of a team or organisation. Key questions to ask are;

‘Are the expectations clear enough?’ – this is about contracting. This is what creates the rectangle. 

‘Are we creating diverse teams of people with varied life experiences and in relation to protected characteristics?’

‘Do we all end up going along with a dominant leader and stop ‘using our brains’?’

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