Today’s companies are an entirely new type of beast. Management is embracing digital and automated systems more than ever before. It’s easy to just blend in with the background. The infamous phrase, “teamwork makes the dream work,” has been floating around for some time, however executives are still wondering whether teams are necessary. With the ability to automate the work process on digital platforms, it begs the question if teams are still relevant?

Training programs are a great place to ask questions. They help us to understand where the teams’ perceptions are placed and what members think of certain issues. Like TEAMWORK.  When I ask members of a program to define teamwork…. The response varies and gets complicated, but the majority end up here: “A group working together using their specific abilities to achieve a single objective.”
Most people agree that using teams and teamwork provides specific benefits like: to the creative process, the morale of the working environment, the pride and satisfaction in the end result, to the individuals and organizations.

The continually surging and changing tech world we live in has provided new ways of communicating, sharing and engaging team members and that is changing the ways we use teams, but the underlying principles and benefits remain.

Embrace Virtual Teams

Geography is less of a problem today. Employees may find themselves in teams where individual team members are based all over the country, or in some cases, all over the globe, like in CommFirm.
In some companies like CommFirm, team members based in different time zones can progress a project 24 hours per day, six days per week. Some of our clients in different time zones use CommFirm to produce major reports and presentations. Consultants complete the drafts by late afternoon, and return to work the next morning to have the completed product waiting for them. This effectively saves one working day.

Today, virtual teams are increasingly common. Members of a team may never meet face to face. They collaborate from different parts of the world through telephone calls, email, file sharing technology and other online meeting methods.

The traditional model still has its benefits

Organizations have embraced teams and teamwork as an effective way of doing business. The last 20 years has seen the replacement of ‘supervisors’ by ‘team leaders’.

Companies have embraced these concepts because they work. Employee motivation and morale improves dramatically when people feel valued and when their contributions make a difference. Case in point: we created the brand and produced the brand architecture of MUSIC WORLD CUP (the only global music competition in the world) while working with four of their offices and two of ours. Dubai. New York City. Berlin and London.

Teamwork Fundamentals

Some organizations fail to gain the benefits that teamwork can provide. Team composition is critical for success. Choose your people carefully. Interview them if you have to. Cut out any negative people. Cut out anyone who has issues respecting other people’s efforts. The definition outlined below highlights three important teamwork fundamentals:

1. A team is a group of people made up of individuals who each contribute their individual knowledge and skills. Synergy, where the collective whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts, often occurs where teamwork is working well. Teams benefit because individuals often do not have all the knowledge and skills necessary.

2. Working together is essential. Harmony and a positive attitude are critical. If the team is not working together, then the expected gains will not materialize.

3. An understanding of the common goal/task is also critical. People have to be clear as to why the team exists and what the purpose is.

In the absence of any of the above three features, teams will fail. Not everyone has a positive experience.

Team Composition Is Critical

Where do companies often fail? They fail at the stage of selecting team members. When one team member de-rails they fail to get him/her back on track while hiding behind social etiquette. Moreover, hiding behind the lack of tools and the lack of encouragement. Even, the lack of leadership and the lack of follow up. The lack of clear and decisive objectives or setting realistic goals.

In order to ensure success, teamwork has to be well managed. Most importantly is a balanced team composition and much carefully selected team members. Each member brings different experiences to the table. This helps the design process of finding communication solutions. Finding alternative positioning statements and copy. Engaging activations. Cost reduction ideas. Higher engagement communication. Team members need to be committed to the task and willing to utilize their full range of knowledge and skills required.

If you have the right team composition and approach, team synergy can take over. However, it has to be set up correctly. The team members have to be willing and ready to participate.

Teamwork success is not automatic

First of all, teamwork as a concept has grown over the last 20 years, however,the success of teamwork is not automatic. So, teams have to be established for the right reasons, while  members must also be allowed to be heard. Most importantly, team members must be given the tools to think, to analyze, to argue, to design and to share. Therefore, team member selection is especially relevant and as important as ensuring that the team purpose is clear and agreed upon.

As a final note, the last thing I would like to say is that a mistake can be made while choosing team members. It happens. So if one member is holding the team back by not taking it seriously, demoralizing the rest, not pulling his/her wait finding ways to delay the teamwork train cut him/her loose. It always pays off in the end. It’s clear that this person has very little respect for his/her team members by prioritizing themselves over the collective objective.

 

Finally, they say there is no “I” in team. That’s true, but there is no YOU either.