The power of team work

A Culture that Values Collaboration

A culture that values collaboration is the power of teamwork. In such a case, the stakeholders realize and believe that collaborative planning, thinking, actions, and conclusions are always superior. It’s the epitome of unity in variety. While it is difficult to discover organizations that embody this, the list is not that short. The biggest antithesis of teamwork is organizational structure based on promotions, compensations, awards, and recognitions. So long as the employees are celebrated and compensated for the individual performance, organizations will continue to fail here. It is always the summation of all versus the performance of one, the execution of idea by everyone versus the thought in one’s mind. As it is rightly said that the collective work done by a team will always have a higher value proposition than the one done by an individual.

Teamwork Beyond Organizations

Teamwork does not necessarily have to be restricted to organizations; in fact its values can be extended to anywhere where cohesiveness amongst the members is necessary, like a sports team or even in the defense battalions. So long as the emphasis on individuals will be there, team work will only be a topic in found in books. In a team building game, it’s always the team member who trumps everything else and thus it becomes even more important to nurture the right people. Of course, building a perfect team goes much deeper than that, but clarity is thought is what distinguishes from the rest. To make team work happen, we should keep in mind the following things:

Clear Communication and Cross Training

Clear communication from the leader that collaboration and team work are the utmost expectation of the organization and no single person is the owner of any process or work area. Cross training becomes an important function here and this ensures consistency and reliability in customer service. While this may take time to execute and implement, but once set up, the power of team work will make the organization grow exponentially in all spheres. Another point to be noted is that leaders should always prefer diversity over consistency as that will being varied types of skill sets to the people, else it will be an unbalanced and unmanageable team. This will also add cohesiveness over a period of time. A team which works for a single vision in a single minded way is always unbeatable.

Modeling Team Work

Executives should try to model the art of team work during their discussions and they should maintain the same even when things are not right and move in some other directions. This is the phase when there is a temptation of slipping back into the unfriendly behavior and sticking to the core values of believing in the power of team becomes very essential to bind the forces together. The business owner should always give importance to the value an employee will bring in the organization. One should look for the action plan which the employee would prefer to drive on his/her own. What ideas they have for the company and how will they execute those, what goals will they set for the company are some of the thoughts that should always be on run. Sharing valuable experience is always helpful as it gives a practical approach to climbing the ladder of success.

Recognition and Reward

When the members of the organization themselves talk about the same and thus identify its value. While it is easier said than done, once put into practice, it’s always about winning the championship. There is nothing better than members themselves trying to practice the same even when n there is no external motivation from the top. This would in turn give them the hint of leadership and the same can be percolated down under and the process continues till the last level. Team work is to be recognized and rewarded over individual performances and all rewards, bonuses and compensations should depend on those collaborative practices. Folklore and important stories that people normally discuss within the company always emphasize teamwork. People who are promoted by doing well within the company are good team players. The best part of being good team player is along with you, the entire team grows and thus the volume of contribution to the company is also huge. Even the so called performance management system emphasizes the value of team work.

Tips for Building a Strong Team

The tips for building a strong team: To enable someone in getting the most out of the employees’ time spent in seminars, planning sessions and retreats and other team building retreats, they are always to be viewed as a part of a large team work. The contributions they make will never be desirable unless they feel they are one single component in that overall team. Forming team for solving real work issues will always improve the real work process. Training in norming and systematic methods always expends the team’s energy on the project. If one is not careful being a leader, more than three quarters of energy gets wasted on relationship building. Thus only about a quarter of their energy is utilized for team building.

Holding Department Meetings

Holding department meetings for reviewing the progress and projects for coordinating shared work processes and obtaining a broad input is another great way of building a strong team. In case the team members are not getting along, one should examine the processes mutually owned by them. It is not only the personality which is an issue here but its only that wouldn’t have mutually agreed on how to deliver the service or the product or at max progressed on the steps required for getting something done.

Building Bonds

Taking the team to sporting events, holding potluck lunches, sponsoring dinners, going to amusement parks or even holding a monthly meeting are some of the means through which the bond amongst them can be strengthened.

Celebrating Success

And last but not the least; the team’s success should be celebrated publicly by letting everyone share their success stories. This would open up a ole world of imagination which was otherwise limited.

Factors for Building and Improving Team Performance

Focusing on individual role and emphasizing the work in detail, valuing the work in that given role, clear communication for the task to be carried out , setting a goal which itself is a benchmark, celebrating success and failures together and knowing each member professionally to the best possible extent are some of the most recognized factors for building and improving the performance of the team.

Looking for the Right Skills

Looking for the right skills and more importantly quantifying those skills are always of prime importance. One should objectify what skills are being looked for, what personalities are being wanted and how the new recruit will be able to mesh with the team.

Leveraging Social Media

Business owners should also leverage social media, especially Linkedin. Building a good team starts with finding the right talent and for that there is no place better than Linkedin. The ‘follow a company’ tool enables one to track valuable employees who would have just left. It is always said that one’s gain is someone’s loss and this is the exact strategy which can be used here. Social media can also be used for evaluating the candidate’s personal brand.

The Problems and Solutions

The problems which may come in the way: The single biggest issue and the starting point for all problems is bad hiring. About 80% of all problems are related to this lousy hiring decision. Not only this, about 33% of the annual salary of an employee churned out for just replacing a weak employee. One of the biggest mistakes in building a team is to hire someone out of desperation when a valuable employee might have moved on or any other staff didn’t work as per the plan set out. Rushing to replace that employee is the single biggest mistake which will have a cascading effect on the fate of the company. A better way is to take a decision which has long term impact on the company, like speaking to at least 10 candidates and then arriving at a decision. This will also give an opportunity to understand the gap in the areas which one needs to fill in and check if the right candidate has come or not. More options will also be helpful in evaluating the prospects of the candidate rather than sticking to one person and checking his credentials.



Pulling Together- by John J Murphy

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