If your company is stuck with a culture that’s all about chains-of-command, and everyone narrowly focusing only on his/her assigned duties; you might be ready to shift the culture to one that gives more emphasis to teamwork.
Culture change starts at the top. The top usually wants to see a compelling case for change. Let me give you five reasons you can use.
1. Solve complex problems
The company faces really tough challenges. Some are organization-wide, others are isolated to one process or department.
Putting more minds together to solve the problem just makes sense because individuals don’t have everything they need to solve them. Together there is increased capability.
More people means more skills. Eventually, by working together, you will have what you need to solve the most difficult problems.
In addition to discovering the solution, there’s another problem. The best ideas don’t do you much good if you can’t implement them. Bringing people together increases the likelihood that all the right people will agree to the solution.
When given a choice, most of us will choose the easy path, the one we’ve traveled many times before. This path may be okay, but it never changes.
If you want to do something new, you need a catalyst. Perhaps it is seeing someone else make a different choice. Maybe it needs to change because the person you are working with refuses to walk your way. Obstacles make a great catalyst. In both cases, there is an opportunity to find another path. It’s on that path that innovation occurs.
3. Increased production
Energy levels wax and wane. On a trip to Thailand, I heard a story about a song rice farmers sing to one another as they work the paddies under the scorching sun. The song encourages one another to keep going and not give up.
When we work together, we work harder. We share our energy. We contribute what we can to increase the team’s output.
This idea is also evident to me at the YMCA. On most visits I attend one of the Y’s many group fitness classes. On the days when the schedule doesn’t work out, I jump on a cardio machine.
There is a big difference in the amount of effort I put into my exercise when I’m in a class versus when I do a solo workout. The group pushes me harder than I push myself.
4. More flexibility
Look around your organization, all those different functions, each with a person or team meeting the demands.
But what happens when the demands in one area increases or the person who is responsible for that function is sick? Now you have a problem.
Luckily it’s one that teamwork can solve. Strong teams cultivate specialists, but they also have people with enough knowledge and flexibility to shift when necessary. This helps the team more easily adapt to changing circumstances.
Your organization will benefit from flexibility. Investing in teamwork will help cultivate that capability.
5. More fun
This one’s debatable. Susan Cain would argue we put too much emphasis on teamwork and don’t leave space for the introverts who prefer to work on their own. I agree. But for those who don’t prefer to work by themselves, teamwork creates a more fun environment.
I’ve met people who work on assembly lines, doing what seems like a terribly monotonous job. These same people tell me they like their work. Why? It’s their coworkers. They appreciate the camaraderie.
Engagement is a common problem for companies. Creating fun is a big boost to engagement.
Succeed with teamwork
Teamwork doesn’t happen by chance. It requires the organization to set goals, create plans, and slowly change the culture.
It’s also not free. It will take time and money to move the needle. That’s why your leaders need to be willing to make the investment. Help them understand why it makes sense to do so.
If you’re curious how you are currently doing on the teamwork front, pick a team and have them complete a TeamCheck Assessment.