Resource for Team Leaders

Summary of Major Points

What can you learn from tasting macarons and tea with others?

You may want to reflect on your team’s experience and the discussion that took place. Here are a few of the ideas that may have come up during your team’s experience:


Connect With Your Team By Establishing Common Ground

Teams can begin to bond through a shared experience such as afternoon tea or a coffee break. You learned about your team members by collaborating on tasting notes and sharing favorite macaron flavors and brainstorming new flavor ideas.


“Rediscovery” Can Offer New Insight Into Past Experiences

Some of you really know your macarons and others have had the pleasure of discovering the delectable treat this week. Sharing something you enjoy with others allows you the opportunity to rediscover a past experience with new insight.Your team consists of individuals with all levels of experience. Consider the value of “rediscovery,” Ask newer team members how they are navigating their work and share your process with more experienced team members.  


Creating Space For Discovery

By temporarily shifting your focus from ‘work’ to ‘a shared norm’, you found new common ground and enjoyed each other’s company. These are the building blocks for teams that treat each other with respect and build off of each others’ ideas. The biggest ‘learning’ from the 30 minutes may have simply been recognizing the importance of deliberately creating more space for a time like this to explore ideas with each other.

An Exercise For Your Next Staff Meeting

You may want to begin a future meeting with a dedicated team “coffee break” to reflect on and extend the learnings from your experience. Here are some guidelines and discussion ideas we developed for your team:

Perp excercise

Planning Steps 


  1. Set aside 10-30 minutes at the start of the meeting or as its own event
  2. Stress to your team that this time is not a “meeting” but a dedicated space to have a break together. 
  3. Encourage beverages and/or snacks (perhaps additional samplings from your Teamraderie kits) to help recreate the relaxed, non-competitive, non-judgemental atmosphere of the Teamraderie experience
  4. Have a clear plan to involve all team members present for the meeting —does not have to be mandatory “sharing,” more of  a deliberate effort to include and validate each team member.


During The Meeting

Pick one reflection/discussion pair from the options below or mix and match!


Option 1

  • Begin Simply..Reflect Through Personal Anecdote. Ask team members about their favorite macaron flavor. Or solicit ideas for “undiscovered flavors.” 
  • Discuss The Role Of Origin Stories. Tea has a history dating back 3000 years. How did this knowledge – and hearing about the cross-cultural nature of tea – influence your overall experience? Similarly, when we learn another person’s history, how might that influence our future interactions and our ideas about that person? 


Option 2

  • Reflect On Tasting Objectively. What was it like to taste “objectively”? Were you able to describe flavors using your taste experience alone or did you find yourself slipping into “opinion forming?” Why might it be valuable to separate the evaluation methods?
  • Discuss Applying a Beginner’s Mind. The tasting experience in many ways requires a “beginner’s mind” or a willingness to discover new and different flavors. What can we gain from applying “objective tasting” or a “beginner’s mind” to aspects of our work?


Option 3

  • Reflect On The Vibe. Did tea change the vibe compared to meetings without a shared food or beverage?
  • Discuss Ways to Create A Safe, Enriching Meeting Space. “Tea Time,” like the experience we shared this week, helps to build trust, understanding, and psychological safety for your team members. What are some actions you can take as individuals to ensure all team members feel comfortable expressing new ideas and opinions in both formal and informal settings?
An Email to Share with Your Team

You may want to send an email to your team to expand on the experience. Here’s a draft email that you can personalize to fit your style as a leader:

Perp excercise
Principles Behind the Experience

Teamraderie experiences are designed in collaboration with management professors at Stanford University and Harvard Business School. Here are the principles incorporated into your experience:

Increase Collaboration and Trust through Shared Food

A University of Chicago (2016) study found people who consumed the same food or beverage would subsequently collaborate better and reach agreements faster. This Teamraderie experience gives your team the opportunity to consume the same (or similar) drink at the same time.

The Importance of Asking Simple Questions

A Harvard Business School (2018) study quantified the effect of asking simple questions to promote the exchange of ideas, fuel innovation, and build rapport and trust. This Teamraderie experience emphasizes posing simple questions to learn the journey of a 3000-year-old beverage and for your team to share personal experiences with tea and macarons.

Shared and Simultaneous Learning

An Ohio State University (2017) study found those who learn something at the same time report feeling more connected to the people whom they learned with and rate them as more trustworthy. This Teamraderie experience seeks to create a shared epiphany around origins of tea and the dissection of the macaron—its history and the process of creating the delicate and complex French dessert.

Additional Expert Resources for the Experience

Interested in learning more about these topics?


Teamraderie recommends the documents and publications below for additional perspective:

Author: Alice Walton, Chicago Booth School of Business

Highlight: “When exposed to deep vs. shallow conversations, participants felt happier and more connected, regardless of whether they generated the topics themselves or discussed assigned topics.”

Author: Julian Zlatev, Harvard Business School

Highlight: “Trust is a conviction that is built slowly, over a long period of time, through repeated interactions. How can we build trust under these circumstances?”

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who are embracing new forms of leadership.