How to improve Your teamwork
What makes a differenc in teamwork? A good atmosphere alone won´t do it. Teamwork is best, when the team achieves more than the sum of its members does . Therefore a team isn´t defined by a common coffee machine or a mailing list. A team arises from common goals. It is successful only if it acts in concert on a sustained basis.
Which point to start at?
Teamwork is improvable in many ways. Among the most important are the following:
- Common goals and objectives
- Collective work on common goals, in regular meetings with precise action planning
- Collective work on the team itself, ideally with the Radar-Method for teams.
- Technical team infrastructure: Easy access to all relevant Informations and in many cases some kind of automatic task distribution
- Personal team skills
Which is the common goal? Sometimes even in project teams this seems to be unclear. If a team is working on a permanent task like sales processing, there often are no accurate objectives, maybe with the exception of annually increasing sales figures to keep the manager on the go.
But a team works much better, if there are crystal clear objectives. This even includes things like response times, rates of complaint or customer ratings and perhaps things to avoid. Write goals down. Write clear and concise.
Work on common goals
As in personal time managemnet there are goals, sub-goals, tasks and sub-tasks for teams. Team performance improves if this task management is done together. Big points are:
- Outline goals and tasks for all the team to see. Use a projector.
- Use the classic cycle of agenda and action plan: Who das what until when? Add contributors, budgets and more details as needed.
- Make on person responsable. There may be several contributors, but only one, who is responsable.
- Hold meetings regularly and frequently but force the pace during the meeting itself. Let tardy people feed a piggybank with a dollar.
Work on the team
Progress in teamwork itself is reached in the same way. But there are two more points:
- Separate work on the team from work on its goals.
- Use the Radar-method for teams. This is a systematic, high impact method to improve a lot of teamwork aspects at the sam time. (e.g. information exchange, acceptance of ideas, atmosphere, commintment etc.)
Task distribution and technical infrastructure
In most teams tasks and informations are exchanged between members. Tasks don´t come as catchwords, but have files, emails or other information attached. Therefor a technical exchange makes sense. There a different ways for this:
- Delegate tasks (e.g. from the manager to an executing person) with feedback
- Take the phone, enter a task in Your PC and send it to the one who should take care of it
- Big point info (Team members work in separated fields, but automatically want to inform their fellows about what they are working on.)
- Collective work on a project file, which is a big outline of goals and tasks
- There are lot of mixed and special situations from doctors assistents sharing a pc to teams scattered over continents.
- Most popular is exchange by email. But this is neither efficient nor effective. Most important is that incoming mail can be integrated in a personal, priority-driven time management system.
After Years of a boom big groupware products like Lotus Notes are in wide use. But the high expectations weren´t met. Not number and quality of solved tasks have increased but the number of exchanged mails and memos. Best practice would be the simplest way of exchange, we can find.
- If there is no real advantage in electronic exchange of tasks, let it be.
- But match team members and tasks even if You don´t want to electronically exchange tasks. This is just two clicks per task and of great advantage e.g. for a preselection for discussions.
- Do not superimpose some random organization to Your team but choose the organization, which fits best.
- If in doubt, choose the delegation / feedbach method.
- Use an organizer, which link Outlook mails directly to goals and tasks.
What can meineZIELE contribute to teamwork?
You might already have suspected this: meineZIELE provides all of the methods mentioned above (plus some more). So if You are thinking about investing in better working practices, then don´t stop at personal time management, but consider better teamwork too.
People aren´t successful as a cluster of islands. People are successful as a team. Only then the overall performance is more than the sum of
single performances.. Invest in better teamwork now!