One of the big difference makers in business rests in the power of effective teams working together to solve problems. The old adage matters:
2 Heads are Better Than 1!
But encouraging teamwork, group problem solving, brainstorming or any other activity where people are supposed to work together is fraught with challenges. A few come to mind:
LISTENING: Lets face it, listening is a skill, and not many people rank high on this one….
Ego: Even for good listeners, sometimes ego gets in the way of hearing what others have to say, that it has real value
Change: Maybe collaboration has never been pushed before? What are the ground rules? How do we all behave?
Sometimes there’s no better way to advocate change than to PROVE that the change creates a clear better outcome, that can be quantified.
In the area of teamwork, here’s a little test to try:
Find a business issue that needs to be tackled, that creates a specific $ result. Examples: Purchasing, sales growth, supplies, capital spending, training.
Identify a group of people that could form a diversified/cross-functional team to solve it.
Ask them each as individuals to spend SOME time (maybe 1-2 hours) coming up with their plan and $ outcome. Tell them to write it down, but it won’t be shared.
Bring the team together and discuss the same issue. Pick someone that knows how to facilitate the discussion, get all thoughts on the white board, don’t analyze as you go, save that for the end.
Solve the problem with the group.
The team $ outcome by definition should be greater than the average of the individual outcomes. If they are not, than something was not facilitated properly, or people with the higher outcome did not make their case effectively. Or the solution was not universally accepted as feasible.
The point is this:
If you want Teamwork, prove that teamwork creates better outcomes. And when you do solve a problem with effective teamwork, celebrate the achievement.