Katherine Kirk – Keynote : Why Team Happiness can be the Worst Thing to Aim For

If you’ve ever tried to bring happiness into a team, enterprise or division, you know just how hard it is to ‘happi-fy’ everyone, and how it can sometimes become almost impossible when dealing with challenging ever-changing environments and difficult individuals with political agendas.

Known to previously be a strong champion for ‘team happiness’, in this talk Katherine shares an unexpected change of view when she began to see that aiming for team happiness could actually be counterproductive and, during her experimentation with ancient Eastern Philosophical models, what she found worked surprisingly well as an alternative.

So, in difficult scenarios, what could we try and do instead? Katherine suggests a very different kind of approach to get to cultural ‘nirvana’ by using 3 specific models as lenses – drawing from fresh ‘warts-and-all’ practical stories of her last year spent transforming IT culture in the wild.

Having a strong background in turning around difficult ‘out of the box’ Dev teams, Katherine began exploring ‘the people problem’ after working at the BBC for a number of years and seeing common patterns of behaviour which held back individual, team and enterprise transformation success. The techniques and methods she has developed are drawn from Eastern and Tribal philosophy and are specifically designed to compliment and support Agile/Lean initiatives and those working in tough, innovative, rapidly changing environments.


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