Is Teamwork Worth It?
New Ways to Think, Collaborate & Communicate: Part 2
Companies throw around the word “team,” as though it was the magic bullet to solving all of their management and leadership problems. Most organizations are not run by teams, but by individuals who make decisions without the full support of those who need to execute the company’s plan. This behavior has been prevalent in companies for over 50 years and is difficult to change. It’s difficult to ask strong, talented leaders to step back and let others contribute to the decision making process when they feel they could make a decision faster on their own.
My work with a utility company was focused on team-building. The company made quick decisions due to their lack of teamwork. However, not working as a team came with several negative side effects:
- curbed innovation
- confusion regarding pressing issues
- fewer solutions
- lack of cohesion throughout the company
- poor leadership development for future succession planning
We met regularly as a team to keep each department involved in the key projects driving company results. Pre-planning had everyone prepared with the necessary information to make decisions as a team and eliminate lengthy meetings. My outside perspective prevented ‘group think’ and also encouraged differences of opinion, improving idea generation. Those who were unaccustomed to contributing opposing ideas, suddenly felt comfortable doing so. Skill development regarding how to give constructive feedback and how to have Vital Conversations© was essential to making a dramatic change in how team members interacted with one another.
Better teamwork for the company has resulted in:
- creativity and innovation
- informed decision making
- less redundancy
- improved morale
- openness throughout the company
- a plan for the development of future leaders
The senior management team has jointly initiated five new revenue generating projects which involve the interaction, cooperation and accountability of six departments.
How could you build a stronger team at the senior level?