“The whole is greater than the sum,” so how well your team collaborates can make or break the success of your company. Therefore, a team working towards a common goal can achieve infinitely greater outcomes. Below we have compiled a list of 5 things you can do with your team to fuel that collaboration:
Team leaders must be explicit with colleagues about expectations. Just as important, this can’t be done once and then forgotten. After all, the best way to accomplish goals as a team is to provide consistent reminders.
While it is great to set ambitious goals for your team, it’s also important to break these goals up into smaller pieces that are more achievable. These “quick wins” give people the positive endorphins they need to feel motivated to keep charging ahead.
One cause of concern for the speed of a team’s workflow is in “overdoing” meetings. Meetings are good for strategizing, as well as organizing workloads and tasks. However, many teams fail because they spend too much time on these things.
In general, people have a limited amount of time each day to accomplish tasks. If there are too many meetings, there is less time to get things done. In 2018, Tesla CEO Elon Musk noticed delays with their ambitious product goals.
Concerned, he wrote an email to all his employees, stating: “Walk out of a meeting or drop off a call as soon as it is obvious you aren’t adding value. It is not rude to leave. It is rude to make someone stay and waste their time.”
Do not take unnecessary risks, but bake into your corporate culture a sense of tolerance, because punishing failure can stifle innovation. If people are penalized for failure, great work will not happen, and employees will be more likely to play it safe for fear of losing their job. Rather than thinking outside of the box to solve the problems they encounter, they retreat to the comfort of their safe thinking.
Instead, embrace failure and allow team members to learn from their mistakes. By allowing people to ask for forgiveness rather than permission, employees will continue to take risks that will lead to innovation. It also saves time for the team as a whole, because having to continually ask for permission takes valuable time away from everyone.
Normally, one person decides what tools to use, often to the detriment of the team’s ability to be efficient. Since verbal communication occasionally leads to confusion about “who said what,” the switch to online tools allows for smoother collaboration.
The best way to move forward is to create a short list of tools that fit the team’s needs, and ask for consensus on which to use. This democratizes the workplace and allows all team members to take emotional ownership over their experience and feel empowered.
Knowledge silos are when data or documents are not shared between team members or different groups. While this is not always intentional, it can slow down progress and create more problems. Teams should not be in their own bubbles, as cross-team communication is crucial for a company to run efficiently.
For instance, a customer support team discovers that users are having an issue with the software. This should be communicated to the product team. Otherwise, the customer support team will just continue helping the customer again and again. This wastes time that could be used to tackle other, more important tasks. By sharing this data with the product team, they can map out a way for the developers to fix it.
Avoiding jargon is also crucial. In the same email, Musk said, “In general, anything that requires an explanation inhibits communication.”
Using acronyms for various softwares or processes limits understanding, especially if the individual is unfamiliar with those terms. The name given by the inventor of a software is one thing, but having a team make a new name for it is pointless. This just brings confusion from people outside of that team’s circle.
Finding ways to optimize performance is critical, no matter how it is accomplished. Therefore, aim high when setting expectations, make sure not to overdo meetings, allow room for people to fail to improve innovation, agree upon tools, remove jargon, and break down knowledge silos. We hope these tips help!