A tight knit team is a group of competent individuals who care deeply about each other and are fiercely committed to their mission. The members are highly motivated to combing their energy and expertise to achieve a common objective. From our observation and studies on team development, we have found three primary conditions that have to be met in order to attain higher levels of team performance and member satisfaction.
- Resources and Commitment
- Ownership and Heart
These three conditions are heart and soul of team development and yet these conditions are not blueprints. Each developing team is unique, and its needs and details of teamwork have to be worked out separately. Let’s look closer at condition number three - Learning. CONDITION NO. 3 – LEARNING
In order to harvest enormous power of teamwork, one’s knowledge, skills and abilities have to be sharpened. This is required to support values describe in “Condition No. 2 – Ownership.” (This is because values with skills will result in good intentions. But without skills and behavior values alone can not produce results. Likewise, nifty skills and techniques without heart and soul of values will likely be perceived as manipulative and just another management ploy to trick people into giving more to organization at expense of its members.
How does a team learn best about teamwork? How to take back responsibility? What exactly is there to learn from experiences in teamwork? We have found that principles of teamwork can best be explored by adult learning modules where people try out their team development skills on actual tasks and activities. We usually select tasks that are uncommon so that participants have a level experience field. Once a task is completed, we carefully lead learners back through their experience and encourage them to discuss positives and negatives of team’s effort. We look for common threads of thought and weave together, with their experiences, key concepts of principles of sound team development. Learners are then asked to plan and transfer their experiences back to work place and develop plans to turn their learning into productive ideas or strategies. This approach to learning is fun and exciting. It usually leaves a lasting impact and memorable reference points for future. Groups really acquire language and concepts of teamwork.
The insights about teamwork are broad and deep. The following is basically an unaltered flip chart session of lessons and insights from a team located in Midwest that produces heavy equipment. IN OUR TEAM DEVELOPMENT WE LEARNED THAT…
- We typically underestimate importance of role of leader.
- Cross training really enhances strength of team.
- Careful management and control of team’s resources is crucial.