Friday, November 30, 2012

One Team

Many organizations are made up of multiple teams.  You have the Finance team, the HR team, the IT team, the Operations team, etc. etc.  Collectively these teams form the organization and deliver value.

Effective, highly functional teams are comprised of individuals who work well together, communicate openly, discuss and resolve their differences quickly, and all drive toward a common goal or vision.  We often admire these highly functional teams and wonder how they got there.  Is it luck?  Is it magic fairy dust?  What is it that makes them different?

By its pure definition a team is a collective group of individuals all working together toward a common goal.  Simple, right?  Then why is it so hard for teams to be highly functional?  The answer lies in the individuals.  Although they understand and can repeat verbatim the vision of the organization it doesn't mean they are buying in or even really understand the value.  The value of everyone pulling together is enormous.  You need a diverse group willing to communicate their thoughts, experiences, and ideas. This is how new ideas are born.  People must be willing to communicate - to share their thoughts as well as being open to new ideas.  This is a powerful aspect of ONE TEAM. 

It feels easy for people to work alone or in small isolated groups.  In these situations everyone tends to be like-minded.  As the needs of the larger group come into play however, agendas collide, personalities don't match, expectations differ.  This is hard and people tend to retreat to the small group or individual setting.  It's easy, it's comfortable.

But it doesn't work!  There is great energy expended to live outside the team.  People complain about how stressed or how busy they are while spending great effort to stay outside of the team.  Try this idea....  become part of ONE TEAM and spend the energy on productive tasks? 

Start by changing a few simple things.... 
  • Have the right attitude.  Demonstrate your desire to be a part of ONE TEAM
  • Instead of sending an email to the person on the team that sits two cubes away, get up out of your chair and walk over to talk to them.  Don't worry, nobody bites.  Too far to walk?  Pick up the phone.  Don't hide behind the electronic fence (aka email) all the time.
  • When managing a project, don't assume that everyone knows what to do and when.  Make it your own - own the project.  Share the plan with others, have a dialogue about it, listen to their input and make changes as needed.  Work together.
  • Share information about what you are doing.  Do you report status via tools like Sharepoint or Base Camp?  Keep the information up to date and timely so that everyone has a clue as to what is going on.  It's typically quick and easy to do this frequently,  Don't wait until your boss comes calling.  C'mon share a little!
  • Understand and live the vision of the team.  Don't pay it lip service.  And while you are at it, be positive.  It rubs off on others in a good way.
  • Talk to people.  Yes, take out the ear buds and have a conversation.  It works wonders.
  • If you don't want to be part of the team, do everyone a favor and find a new one.  It's ok, nobody will mind.
 Are you part of ONE TEAM or an isolated group within the team?  Take a look around, think about it.  What are you doing to be a part of ONE TEAM?

A team is one - everyone working together toward a common goal. Change a few things and become part of your team today.

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