Course on building effective teams covers team culture, diversity, bias, and inclusivity

Imagine a team of scientific experts representing 15 distinct institutions, all highly regarded in their fields with a support team of at least 350. Now imagine that team working on a finely tuned mission to space, an exploration like nothing before, a trip to study a unique metal asteroid orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter. 

Now that’s teamwork. 

NASA’s Psyche mission is being led by Arizona State University. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is responsible for mission management, operations, and navigation. The spacecraft’s solar-electric propulsion chassis will be built by SSL with a payload that includes an imager, magnetometer, and a gamma-ray spectrometer. 

The mission’s scientific goals and objectives are vast and include giving scientists the opportunity to learn more about Earth’s own metallic core. For more details: Psyche: Mission to a Metal World


Teaching NASA’s Global Mindset 

It would be difficult to find a more apt example of a project that requires people with a Global Mindset, people who know how to work as a team, team members who are able to work well with people who are unlike themselves. 

“Every endeavor is a human endeavor, and going to space is truly about the team,” said Psyche Mission principal investigator Lindy Elkins-Tanton, a planetary scientist, professor with expertise in planet formation and evolution, and Director of ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration. 

“NASA’s Psyche Mission adds teamwork to its free online course topics. Featuring Thunderbird’s Mansour Javidan and experts from ASU and NASA. ” – Click to tweet

The ASU-led NASA Psyche Mission is scheduled to launch in 2022 and the Psyche spacecraft won’t reach the metallic asteroid until 2026.  

This month, the program launched a free online course for people around the world to learn how to work successfully on a team. The lessons include interviews from experts at ASU and NASA. And the course features Thunderbird’s Mansour Javidan, Garvin Distinguished Professor and Director of Najafi Global Mindset Institute. 

“For a successful mission, we want to build the very best teams and we are so fortunate to have one of the world's most prominent experts on teams, Mansour Javidan, help us with this course,” said Elkins-Tanton.

Team Building and Team Diversity

Called “The Inclusive Mindset: Tools for Building Positive Team Culture,” the course is part of the Psyche Mission Innovation Toolkit. Students will learn about team building and team diversity. And the only prerequisite to enroll is an interest in the behind-the-scenes work that goes into running a successful team.

“Today’s organizations are increasingly encouraging and supporting workforce diversity,” said Javidan. “So, it is critical for students, employees, and managers to learn the tools that will help them work effectively in diverse teams. Such training can improve the efficiency of the team and the quality of its work, while reducing stress and misunderstanding.”

“A new, free online course called 'The Inclusive Mindset: Tools for Building Positive Team Culture' is part of the Psyche Mission Innovation Toolkit. ” – Click to tweet

This course is designed to help learners understand the unique challenges of a diverse team and provides intuitive tools to help them address these challenges and take actions to be more successful in working with others. It also provides both self- and team-assessment instruments to help learners gain a deeper understanding of their own — and their team’s — strengths and weaknesses.

Javidan teaches these concepts and the essential skills of global leadership in depth in Thunderbird’s Global Mindset for Strategic Leadership program.

Learning Teamwork NASA-Style 

Global Mindset is a set of individual characteristics, which help you do a better job of working with people who are different than you. Students who take the NASA course will take away an understanding of core individual qualities and attributes that would enable global business success, in addition to being vital on a space mission. 

As Javidan describes it: “Over the past 20 years companies in many countries have been looking for opportunities outside their own country. What they have found is that sometimes things are not as easy as they thought. Sometimes they experience challenges that surprise them.”

“NASA taps Thunderbird’s Global Mindset expert, Prof. Mansour Javidan, to teach new, free online course on 'The Inclusive Mindset: Tools for Building Positive Team Culture.” – Click to tweet

“Many executives and managers who are successful in their home market face challenges outside their home market,” he explains. “What separates those who are successful from those who aren’t? In what way can we help managers succeed across countries? Through research, we were able to identify individual characteristics that impacted success working with people from other parts of the world. The combination of those characteristics is called Global Mindset.”

The course is divided into seven modules that cover topics of team culture, diversity, bias, and inclusivity, as well as developing an inclusive mindset while building and maintaining a successful team. During the course, enrolled learners can create their own online portfolio — called an “ePortfolio” — of their work and reflections. Participants who complete the course receive a downloadable and printable certificate of completion.

For more information about the Psyche Mission courses, see Inclusive Mindset: Tools for Building Positive Team Culture.

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