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What Makes a Team Work

One thing that’s becoming clear in today’s VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous) world is that effective teams can give organizations a distinct advantage. They bring together the people power and the thinking power to get things done faster, more efficiently and more successfully.

But we also know it’s not as simple as that. There’s a reason less than a quarter of workers prefer to work on teams.

Are more team-building activities the answer? Sensitivity training? Personality and communications workshops?

These activities can be helpful, but on their own, they’re not enough. The frustrations, miscommunications, subpar results, and same issues that keep coming up, time and again, bear this out.

The problem is that too many organizations try to build trust — a key attribute of effective teams — by focusing on behavioral issues first. But because behaviors can be affected by a variety of external factors, the fix is often only a temporary one at best. To build trust, we have to focus first on what drives the team’s behaviors and actions at the root level: thinking.

Missing this key ingredient means organizations will also miss out on the full potential, power and competitive advantage teams can provide. Particularly in today’s world, as cross-functional teaming increases, more team members operate virtually and globally, and projects and problems are becoming more complex, a focus on how the team thinks will become even more critical to developing exceptional, consistently high-performing teams.

We’re creating teams to bring together and then funnel the knowledge and skills of the members towards solving business problems and achieving business outcomes. While teambuilding exercises can build camaraderie, and personality and sensitivity workshops can develop interpersonal understanding to help improve communications, none of these can really take hold without a foundation in how the team’s collective intelligence fuels business outcomes.

And after all, achieving business outcomes is what they’re there for, right?

Our next white paper will address key ways you can apply a thinking-based approach to get the most from every “meeting of the minds” so you can truly leverage the power of teams. It will also explore how to use the designed-for-business Whole Brain® framework to:

  • Optimize a department’s strategic and day-to-day effectiveness
  • Set virtual and far-flung teams up for success
  • Make cross-functional really work
  • Give “voice” to the full cognitive diversity within the team
  • Strategically deploy teams to solve critical business problems

In the meantime, tell us: What are the biggest challenges you’re facing in getting the full benefits of the team’s collective intelligence? Are there any standout team experiences that come to mind? What made them work so effectively?

Share your thoughts in the comments, and be sure to check back next month to download the free white paper.

Tags: White Papers, Thinking Styles, Teams, Whole Brain Thinking

The four-color, four-quadrant graphic, HBDI® and Whole Brain® are trademarks of Herrmann Global, LLC.

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