Six Keys for Successful Teamwork
Pepe Villacís - 10 de septiembre, 2017
For any company, teamwork is vital. Even more so if you consider that organizations that promote teamwork obtain beneficial results, both for profits and for their workers, who are their driving force.
Although it is true that there are different job positions and levels, all members of a company are strictly necessary for plans and projects to be successful.
The definition of teamwork is primarily the combination of individual ideas and projects of all members of an entity that make it function properly and effectively together.
The following are advantages of teamwork:
- It makes it easier to achieve goals.
- It contributes to the improvement of the members' quality of life.
- It adds value to the processes.
- Each member can put their skills to work.
- It allows the sharing of work goals and objectives.
In the long run, having a loyal, high quality human and professional team is the only permanent competitive advantage a company can have.
Everything else, technology, equipment, processes, natural resources, can be acquired in the market.
A high-quality human team cannot be bought, it is built.
Teamwork must become a "management philosophy," capable of permeating the entire work culture, and not an atypical or common feature.
The Human Factor of a work team is without a doubt the fundamental element and the driving force of all business processes. It is the human group (managers and all employees) that is able to give coherence to the work of each business system, use the information to make decisions, encourage the innovative spirit, study the market, and design competitive strategies.
The English word "Team" allows us to understand the true value of team members. The sum of the individual parts is more than a simple aggregation or addition, but working in a team opens the doors to a multiplicative factor; each person achieves more than their own goals when part of a work team. TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More.
First key: Clear and Strong Leadership within the Work Team.
Leadership is the process of influencing and supporting others to work enthusiastically to achieve common goals.
Leadership is understood as the ability to take the initiative, manage, convene, promote, encourage, motivate, and evaluate a group.
It is the exercise of executive activity in a project, effectively and efficiently, be it personal, managerial, or institutional.
Leadership implies that there is one person (leader) who can influence and motivate others (followers). Thus, in leadership studies, emphasis is placed on the ability to persuade and influence. Traditionally, the sum of these two variables has been called charisma. The strength of leadership lies in the ability to be clear and firm, so that workers understand exactly what is expected of them.
This ability consists of being able to say no in a clear and emphatic way. Appropriately setting high performance or quality standards and insisting that they be met, even publicly stating how effective each of the people involved are, if necessary.
Moreover, by setting an example of congruence between his words and his own conduct, the true leader leads by example.
The most effective leaders are cordial, sociable, expressive, democratic, and honest, a mark that comes to affect all their subordinates and that, undoubtedly, positively affects teamwork. On the contrary, less effective leaders are tougher, uncompromising, distant, irritable, bureaucratic and less cooperative, and so are their subordinates. Outstanding Leaders relate to everyone, taking an interest in their family and personal matters. They also excel at staying informed and creating a climate of openness that fosters communication.
It has always been said that success is the result of a little skill and a lot of dedication and effort. The source of power is the passion, the desire, and the drive with which we tackle things. Loving what you do, loving yourself, loving others, wanting to make a difference. We all have thousands of examples of the difference that is achieved when we do things with pleasure and passion. We do things better, we focus on achieving them, we persist and get strength from where we don't have it. The leader must transmit passion and encourage it in his work team.
Second key: Shared and Common Goals.
What is the concept of a team? The definition is simple: a team consists of organized people who have a common goal. The two key concepts:
- Organization: the mere aggregation of individuals does not form a team. If everyone works on their own, the group of professionals is not a team, even if they are working in the same office. What unites teamwork is the guidance of a leader.
- A common goal: having the same objective is what brings coherence and gives the team a direction. Achieving a specific goal is the engine that gives activity to the group. The common goal is the unifying element that integrates all the work. All members must be very clear about the goal to be achieved, share it, and feel part of the process.
Teamwork produces superior results to those that would be obtained by combining the work of each of its members individually. In a true team, the benefit from a single person is never greater than the benefit caused by the whole group. The development of a team vision, built by all members, allows everyone to feel involved, to be involved, and to be inspired.
Therefore, regardless of size, the Vision of the business must be clearly defined:
Vision indicates an organization's desire in the future. It can be described as what it takes for the future mission to be accomplished by the organization to meet future customer needs and expectations. It is a visualization of what the future of an organization will look like.
It defines how the organization, through the genuine effort and commitment of its people, will guide all its actions to create the value package, thus achieving its transcendence. In short, the vision suggests a future mission to be accomplished in that place where you want to be.
A team vision should:
- Provide the path to follow to the desired place.
- Generate enthusiasm about the direction that leads to the future.
- Generate confidence in leadership.
- To provide clear criteria for success.
Third Key: Established and Respected Rules of the Game.
There are no precise rules for forming an effective team. However, certain "provisions" have proven useful.
Team members must be convinced of the value, significance, and urgency of the team's purpose:
- They must be selected according to the skills needed to fulfill the purpose.
- A work team must contain the right mix of functional or technical skills, as well as problem-solving and decision making skills and, of course, interpersonal skills.
- They should be standardized with group rules of conduct, such as: regular attendance at meetings, confidentiality, fact-based discussions, and input from all team members.
- The necessary goals and tasks should be identified from the team formation stage.
- Finally, team members should encourage each other through recognition, positive feedback, and rewards.
Close relationships develop and the group shows cohesion. There is a strong sense of identity with the group and camaraderie among its members. This stage is completed when the group structure is solidified and the group has assimilated a "common set" of expectations, which defines members' behavior as correct, i.e. "the rules of the game" within the work team.
Fourth Key: Specific Action Plans Subject to Follow-up.
Not only is it necessary to define common goals, but also to have a detailed action plan (SMART) with defined responsibilities and dates, as a tool for monitoring and achieving the goals of a work team. First of all, this action plan must have a clear, concise and measurable goal; we cannot start an action plan if we don't know what we want to achieve or how long it will take.
From this point on, the strategies that will be followed to achieve the goal must be specified. The strategies within a group of teams show in a general way what is being planned, without specifying exactly what is going to be done. These strategies must show the path that will be followed during the development and execution of the action plan.
After that, the steps to be followed or tasks for each of the proposed strategies should be defined. The tasks should be as specific and detailed as possible, reflecting each necessary step. The tasks should have specific times, start and end dates, for which it is advisable to adapt a Gantt chart to the action plan format.
Finally, in the planning part, you must designate the people responsible for each task, who should preferably be the ones involved in making the action plan. Remember that the steps of an effective action plan are very simple:
- Clear, concise, measurable goal.
- Strategies that reflect the path to achieve the goal.
- Tasks that describe the exact steps to accomplish the strategies.
- Actual times of accomplishment at the beginning and end of each task.
- Directly responsible for each task.
- Constant monitoring and evaluation of compliance.
- Final evaluation to rethink the action plan or create a new action plan.
An action plan allows us to organize, plan, execute, evaluate and correct priority situations that affect our efficiency and competitiveness.
Basically, your action plan should be a clear answer to the question: Who does what, and when?
Fifth key: Support for Taking Risks and the Right to make Mistakes.
In an effective team, creativity and risk-taking are encouraged.
Team members are encouraged to take risks and try different solutions. Mistakes are seen as part of the learning process. Continuous improvement is only achieved when people are encouraged to try new ways and suggest improvements without being punished.
There is therefore an atmosphere of trust and openness. Within the development of teamwork, it creates an environment that allows members to feel comfortable and informal. Trust replaces fears and people are willing to take risks. It is an environment of growth and learning with people involved and interested.
Also, open and honest communication. Team members feel free to express their thoughts, feelings, and ideas. They listen to each other and can express ideas without being criticized or embarrassed. Conflicts and disagreements are seen as natural and resolved. Self-corrected feedback indicates how members' behavior affects the team's achievement of its goals.
Diversity is appreciated and valued as an opportunity. Team members are perceived as unique individuals with valuable resources. Diversity of opinions, ideas, and experiences is encouraged to avoid uniform thinking where differences are seen as deviations from the norm. Flexibility and sensitivity to others is shown.
Sixth key: 100% participation and inclusion of all.
A sense of belonging. There is a commitment to the team's actions. There is a sense of participation and a high level of involvement. The perception: "I am an important part of the team and what I do makes a difference" translates into a high level of commitment and pride in the team's accomplishments.
Interdependence of members. They need each other's knowledge, skills, and resources to jointly produce something they could not accomplish as well alone.
Activities and occasions for the team to share and socialize should be encouraged, and bonds should be strengthened.
Synergy: 1 + 1 is much more than 2.
Synergy is probably the most significant result of team building. Synergy means that the result of teamwork is greater than the sum of the individual results. By working in a team, tasks are divided, the competence of each member is utilized, and greater productivity is achieved. A team is a group of people who need each other to act.
All work teams are groups, but not all groups are teams. The notion of teamwork implies the use of collective talents, produced by each person in their interaction with others. When a team achieves greater alignment, a common direction emerges and individual energies are harmonized. Less energy is wasted.
A good example is a musical ensemble, where what really matters is that the musicians can play together. Teams must learn to exploit the potential of many minds to be smarter than a single mind.
The relationship of true teamwork is a complete relationship. And a complete relationship requires a covenant; a covenant relationship rests on a shared commitment to ideas, issues, values, goals, and management processes These pacts reflect unity, grace, and balance.
What actions will you take in your business and in your life in this regard?
Por Pepe Villacís
Bachelor´s Degree in Accounting and Auditing. Master in Business (obtained in Arizona USA). Personal Coach, certified by CoachVille Spain. Business Coach, Management Coach and Coach of Coaches of ActionCoach Mexico.