We argue that collaboration is the true competitive advantage for the new era. In light of this, we help you to improve the effectiveness of internal collaborations, by building strong cohesive teams.
Team building can be achieved in many ways, but crossing rivers, building bridges in the forest or climbing mountains is something that we won’t be able to help you to do. Aligning people in teams is not about convincing them about the merits of doing something by appealing to their common sense. It is about generating a deep understanding of the differences between all of us in the way we prefer to work and the way we make decisions or manage relationships. It’s about creating a common understanding, a common sense of purpose and a shared commitment to action. By cutting out what is irrelevant we focus on what we know will create a fast alignment, whether in M&A mode, during internal restructuring, or simply in the progression of existing teams.
In many transformation or restructuring programmes the emphasis is placed on new processes, systems and indeed structures and reporting lines. Very frequently the buck stops there with no provision for the most important and crucial aspect of any new structure: how will people work together. Behaviours are frequently found in the lost property department of so called change programmes.
Because sometimes we need to come to the rescue fast, we often use a powerful five-step process that addresses: contextual agreement, alignment of working styles, team chartering, rules of the game and non-negotiable behaviours. This is a way of increasing the effectiveness of the team regardless of its seniority or functionality.
We examine the ways in which people need to interact, handle information, make decisions and organize themselves, in order to determine individual preferences for working together. We create a ‘map of styles’ and examine the strengths/weaknesses of the team in performing the vital tasks needed for producing the team’s ‘product’. Team charter-ing is a very practical exercise that establishes unity of vision and purpose, as well as strong alignment of preferences and teamwork toward established goals. The team also defines, articulates and agrees on new, common, non-negotiable behaviours that they will adopt. Finally, a ‘New Project Anatomy’ (a map of a potential or existing project) is created using an alignment of the previous steps with organization strategy, creating a practical approach for getting the job done. This process can be scaled up simultaneously to many teams.
As you can see, no crossing rivers or arrow- shooting at targets involved. Still fun, but serious hard work.