“Teamwork is an individual skill.” – Avery, 2001
When team is effective, emotions of enjoyment overwhelm us leading to everyone in the team feeling satisfied. As productiveness increases, trust grows stronger and satisfaction enhances success and efficiency. The result is a productive team which easily reaches goals.
The question is how productive can teamwork be in a business setting? The answer can be quite simple: since we are egoistic beings and find content in success, if we commit ourselves to our team to that extent to be egoistic about it, our actions will be oriented toward the team succeeding.
Where lies the success of a team? It lies in an achieved common goal.
Does the same apply in the modern world to distant/virtual working? Of course it does. It has become obvious that the number of virtual businesses, virtual departments and virtual teams is on the increase. Cisco reports in their study from 2009 that virtual teams perform better. What was once an obstacle (such as working in an office), is now overcome (with the help of the internet and cloud platforms). Availability and no space constraints are the new reality. In addition, when talking about success, it is crucial to note that teams perform better when they are composed out of men and women, rather than homogenous groups.
A virtual platform, such as Tally Fox, can guarantee ease and safety of communication, increase in productivity and quality of performance through implementing the following teamwork strategies:
Commitment. There is not a single person in this world who has not learned from everyday experience that if we commit ourselves to something, we are already half way to succeeding. In fact, Canadian Olympic Gold medalist Adam Kreek lists commitment as the thing that determines whether a team will be made or broken. He believes that in order for a team to be effective, team members must let go of their ego, the need to control and in some cases their own ideas which have not been accepted by others.
It is, indeed, difficult to change attitudes, standards, routines and even work ethics. Committing to the team means embracing their attitudes, ideals and routines, growing closer to them and to the common goal.
- Communication is something living organism do. This process of sharing and understanding meaning from the moment we are born, imprinted in our DNK, is the art of listening and responding. Business wise, good communication skills improve motivation affecting positively the corporate culture. This applies equally to email as well as oral communication, especially when we tend to change our point of view according to the needs of our team.
- Collaboration, similarly to communication, is something we do on daily basis; when it becomes a skill it can be used for taking control over a task in a non-intrusive way, as well as letting someone else take over. Collaboration brings team members together, and this also goes for those using collaborative platforms to carry out tasks. For collaboration to be implemented properly with positive results, the strategy behind it must be well planned.
- Creating and respecting roles. Roles are there to provide us with guidance, rules and obligations that come with our work position. Without them, there would be chaos. Not everybody are born to govern, nor are everybody born to serve, but together and in balance everybody are born to contribute. The geese story can tell us that we must watch one another’s back, to learn to fill in for a co-worker and that everybody needs to take turns and to take part in the working process.
The role division can be temporary or permanent. Whatever the choice is, it is the decision that the team itself should make.
Compromise and Consensus. No matter if we are talking about a team using cloud platforms or a team which shares their working space, there will have to come a time where a compromise or consensus must be reached.
The danger with a compromise is that after it is reached, not everyone is happy about it. The result is loss of motivation and weakened commitment. An alternative is reaching a consensus, which actually means that everyone’s opinion was heard and taken into account. The result is a decision made by joined forces and through dialogue with everyone participating. In a setting like this one where everybody is involved, the commitment to the team stays intact.
Challenge. The best method of overcoming obstacles is the team method. -Colin Powell
Challenges can be motivating. However, if set too high they can be intimidating. As well as the need for communication and collaboration, we are born with the need to live in teams and carry out tasks in teams. By working together, we get familiar with our team’s strengths and weaknesses. This gives us an opportunity to challenge our colleagues to come further, push harder and give their best. Also, by knowing their flaws, we have the power of predicting when to jump in and again speed up the process and improve performance.
Contribution. Not everyone will contribute equally at every step of the way. However, one thing is certain, everybody will contribute. In the business environment, this contribution will be providing data, sharing knowledge, aiming and pushing to higher performance standards, as well as aiding in the quality use of time and resources.
In both virtual and in-office settings, Tally Fox is a solution that enables implementation of all seven teamwork strategies: larger commitment, good communication, quality collaboration, successful role division, reaching compromises and consensuses, together with setting challenges and contributing to the team and to the company.