What (You Don’t Know) About Teamwork (Can Hurt You)

Business is more than knowing what should be done.

It’s also about rallying every single person to a common goal.

To get total buy-in from your people.

No matter the disagreement in the past

For that to happen, you need a cohesive team.

Wondering how a cohesive team behaves?

  1. They trust one another.
  2. They engage in unfiltered conflict around ideas.
  3. They commit to decisions and plans of action.
  4. They hold one another accountable for delivering against those plans.
  5. They focus on the achievement of collective results.

Does this sound like something you like your team to have?

People who hold one another accountable. People who put goals of the team above their agendas, departments, status or ego.

Know of the five dysfunctions of a team. To empower, your people.

1. The absence of trust

Doubt among team members to be vulnerable.

Team members who are not open about their mistakes, strength, and weakness. Make it impossible to build a foundation of trust.

Quickstep toward building trust. Go around a table during a meeting. Have team members answer one question about themselves. Questions might include the following.

  • Number of siblings
  • Hometown
  • Unique challenges of childhood
  • Favorite hobbies
  • First Job
  • Worst Job

It will astound you how just a small amount of information begins to break down barriers.

2. Fear of conflict

Quick question: Why teams have a tendency to avoid conflict? Trust.

With trust, the team engages in an unfiltered. A passionate debate of ideas. Without it, they resort to veiled discussion and guarded comments.

Unresolved issues lead to boring meetings, turf wars, and politics.

Next time, call out a sensitive subject. Force the team members to work through it. Stay with the conflict until resolved.

3. Lack of commitment

Deprived of passionate and open debate

Team members rarely, if ever, buy in and commit to decisions.

They may pretend to agree during meetings.

A simple solution is the use of clear deadlines for when decisions will be made. Honor those dates with authority.

4. Avoidance of accountability

In the absence of a clear plan of action.

Focused driven people delay calling their peers counterproductive behaviors.

Got your people first committed to an idea? Well done.

Now, clarify publicly. What the team needs to do, who need to deliver what. How everyone must behave to succeed.

5. Inattention to results

No amount of trust, conflict, commitment, or accountability can make up for lack of wish to win.

A team not focused on results is distracted, fails to grow, and loses best employees.

Don’t say we will do our best.

Make results clear. Reward only those behaviors that give to those results.

Back to you

Not finance. Not strategy. Not Technology. Teamwork remains the final competitive advantage both because it’s so powerful and so rare.

In other words, if you could get all the people in an organization moving in the same direction. You could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time.