Manager Development

Working Together as a Team

Frequently we get asked about how to create a team-based environment in an organization.  It’s actually not that difficult, but does require some work on the part of the leadership team and subsequently managers.  I recently saw this quote from Henry Ford:  “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”   It’s very appropriate that it’s all about working together as a team.

The Rules of the Game

If you want people to “play” with others they need to understand the rules of the game! That means engaging individuals in how their efforts impact their team’s success and how their team’s success  contributes to the overall achievements of the company. If people don’t understand how their work connects to team and organizational wins, they can’t possible have a team attitude or take ownership. With that understanding it will be hard to keep them away.

So many organizations try to “train” specific actions and behaviors of teamwork without setting any context.  To play on the team, people need to understand:

  • The big picture of the organization and the marketplace
  • The company’s strategy – where they are trying to go as a business
  • Who their customers are
  • How money is made and spent
  • The key business processes

Straight to the Top

Appeal to the highest level of thinking with your employees and you will likely get the highest level of participation and results. Liberate the information the executive team has and people will likely have the same level of commitment as the leadership team. People are smart and they are hungry for information, and your ability to provide them with that information in a way that is resonates with them is tantamount to success.

Connect the Dots

Helping them understand how all of the functions working together as a team contribute to the business is part of telling that big picture story.  But, it’s also part of helping them understand how their individual role contributes to their own team and ultimately the business.  That big picture, system’s thinking tied to individual contributions means they only have one choice – they cannot help but be part of the team.

September 28, 2011


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