Friday, July 24, 2009

Turn Team Sabotage Into Team Strength

Without exception, among the teams with which I've worked, communication is cited as one of the major challenges.

And it's particularly problematic when multiple teams from across the organization are required to work together.

We've all seen reality shows like Survivor and The Amazing Race in which one team pits itself against the others to win the ultimate prize. Everyone is out for themselves.

Sadly, this trend also occurs among business teams-even when they all are supposed to be working for the collective good of the organization.

For a variety of reasons-whether it be fear, territorialism or arrogance-communication suffers because people perceive they have something to lose by sharing too much.

As a result, many businesses never experience the powerful results that true collaboration can bring.

I will never forget during one of my Recipe for Results team-building programs, one team member asking me, "Are we allowed to help another team?" Just the fact that the question had to be asked speaks volumes.

A cooperative approach must begin at the top. The corporate culture should foster and reward collaboration, not segregation. This requires more than lip service-it requires modeling the behavior.

In the end, people must walk their talk. Like it or not, in today's corporate environment, trust is not something that can be assumed. It must be earned and proven. That's where collaboration begins.

Practice the four C's of collaboration to experience the full power of teamwork:

1. Check egos at the door to foster open, honest dialogue.

2. Curb blame and defensiveness by encouraging and accepting constructive feedback.

3. Create common goals so everyone is aware of the desired outcome.

4. Consider the greater good of your organization.

By Kim Fabian

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