Teamwork: What It Really Means and How It Works


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Understanding the dynamics, benefits, and potential pitfalls of teamwork.

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Teamwork: What It Really Means and How It Works

  1. 1. “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second besttime is now.” - Chinese proverb Teamwork: What it Really Means and How it Really Works
  2. 2. Think of a challenging team you were on…
  3. 3. Frank LaFasto and Carl Larson• 1989: TeamWork: What Must Go Right/What Can Go Wrong• 2001: When Teams Work Best - 6,000 Team Members and Leaders Tell What it Takes to Succeed
  4. 4. Frank LaFasto and Carl Larson (continued)• Began working together in 1981• LaFasto - Senior Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness for Cardinal Health, Inc.• Larson - Professor of Human Communication, University of Denver
  5. 5. First Sample• Boeing 747 design team• United States space command planning team• Mountain climbing teams• Space shuttle Challenger• Accident (Pres. Commission)• Cardiac surgery teams• National championship athletic teams
  6. 6. TeamWork: What Must Go Right/ What Can Go Wrong• Clear, elevating goal• Results-driven structure• Competent team members• Unified commitment• Collaborative climate• Standards of excellence• External support and recognition• Principled leadership
  7. 7. When Teams Work Best• 600 teams/6,000 team members• Airline, auto, banking/finance, chemical, computer, distribution, education, food, healthcare, insurance, industrial equipment, law enforcement, legal, retail, sports, telecommunications, utilities
  8. 8. Five Dynamics of Teamwork and Collaboration• Team member• Team relationships• Team problem solving• Team leadership• Organizational environment
  9. 9. 1. Team Member - Working Knowledge• Experience• Problem-solving ability
  10. 10. Team Member - Teamwork Factors• Openness• Openness Issues: – Communication climate – Results – Policies and bureaucracy – Planning – Role clarity – Performance issues – Passive Conspiracy
  11. 11. Team Member - Teamwork Factors (continued)• Supportiveness• Action orientation• Personal style
  12. 12. Team Member – Putting It To Work• Collaborative Team Member Rating Sheet“ Everybody thinks of changing humanity, andnobody thinks of changing himself.”- Leo Tolstoy
  13. 13. 2. Team Relationships• Best and worst relationship exercise• Research/best relationships:• Constructive for both people• Productive• Mutual understanding• Self-corrective
  14. 14. Team Relationships (continued)• Research/most important - Openness and supportiveness• Research/most challenging - Dealing with contention
  15. 15. Team Relationships - Connect Model• Commit to the relationship• Optimize safety• Narrow the discussion to one issue• Neutralize defensiveness• Explain and echo each perspective• Change one behavior each• Track it
  16. 16. Team Relationships – Putting It To Work• Plan conversation with team member where relationship could be better.“A long dispute means that both parties are wrong.”-Voltaire
  17. 17. 3. Problem Solving• Focus• Climate• Communication“Search all the parks, in all our cities. You’ll find nostatues of committees.”-David Ogilvy
  18. 18. Team Problem Solving• Mental, physical and spiritual energy• Energy drain• Goal
  19. 19. Team Problem Solving - The Single Question Format• Identify the issue• Create a collaborative setting - agree on principles for discussion; surface any assumptions and biases.• Identify and analyze the issues• Identify possible solutions• Resolve the single question
  20. 20. Team Problem Solving – Putting It To Work• Describe your team’s goal - what tangible, concrete outcome trying to achieve?• Describe the energies (mental, physical, spiritual) that members of the team have focused, or should be focusing, on the goal.• Is the team’s energy drained away from the goal? If so, where is it going? If so, is this impacting team’s success?• What could help the team regain focus on goal? What is your role in this?
  21. 21. 4. Team Leader• Focuses on the Goal – Defines goal in a clear and elevating way – Does not play politics – Keeps the goal alive – Helps individuals align their role and responsibilities with team goal – Reinforces goal in fresh and exciting ways – If goal adjustment is needed, makes sure team knows why
  22. 22. Team Leader (continued)• Ensures a collaborative climate – Makes communication safe – Demands a collaborative approach – Rewards collaborative behavior – Guides the team problem-solving efforts – Manages ego and personal control needs
  23. 23. Team Leader (continued)• Builds confidence – Gets results – Makes team members smart about key issues and facts – Exhibits trust by assigning responsibility – Is fair and impartial – Accentuates the positive – Says “thank you”
  24. 24. Team Leader (continued)• Demonstrate sufficient technical know-how – Know your stuff – Get help
  25. 25. Team Leader (continued)• Sets priorities – What must happen and what must not – Changing priorities
  26. 26. Team Leader (continued)• Manages performance – Requires results: make performance expectations clear – Review results: give constructive feedback and resolve performance issues – Reward results: recognize superior performance
  27. 27. Team Leader – Putting It To Work• Collaborative team leader questionnaire“My responsibility is to get my 25 guys playing forthe name on the front of their shirt and not the oneon the back.”-Tommy Lasorda
  28. 28. 5. Organizational Environment• Management practices – Clear direction and priorities – Balances resources and demands – Establishes clear operating principles
  29. 29. Organizational Environment (continued)• Structure and processes – Effective processes - foster effective decision making, keep people connected – Effective communication processes - align information, understanding, and effort.
  30. 30. Organizatonal Environment (continued)• Systems – Necessity of reliable information – Relevant rewards drive required results – Standards lead to consistency and fairness
  31. 31. Organizational Environment - Putting It To Work• Three dimensions of organizational environment“I never worry about action, but only aboutinaction.”-Winston Churchill