The picture above showcases one of my favorite teams of all times. The US Navy Blue Angels, one of the most formidable air show groups in the world! The kind of stunts they do is nothing short of amazing.
Look at the picture a bit closer. The tip of the wings of the top most plane is right above the cockpit of the plane under it. All it takes is a false maneuver and a pilot loses his / her life on the spot. You can’t react fast enough when the glass of your cockpit is shattered and a piece of the strongest metal known to man is about to crush you.
Few of us will ever know the kind of teamspirit needed to achieve this level of team cohesion. We can, however, learn from some of the best collaborative teams on the planet
1. Create a clear an compelling cause
You are asking me to change how I do things. I am used to working in my desk, doing what I want, and now I have to change to please you!
If team members do not care or are unclear about the goals, they will find all kinds of reasons not to work together. For collaboration to work, the vision and purpose must be clear.
Importantly, we have our own interests too. The cause needs to be compelleing to me personally as well. For instance, ‘you will work less and do more’. Or, ‘you will achieve your targets faster’. Or, ‘you will get paid more.’
If there is no compelling cause, don’t waste your time. Won’t work. Collaboration requires everyone to be on board.
2. Build collaboration process
How do we collaborate? Do we edit / share documents? Do we communicate ideas and follow up on a group chat?
Don’t just expect people to figure it out. One of the simplest ways to do things, is to take leadership and start collaborating with your own team. They will do the same with others, and the cycle will continue.
A key point to remember, is to streamline. Don’t let your team chose their tools. Tools have philosophies attached to them. As well, if a member has to use different tools for different teams or functions, you are making life harder for them.
Chose a single complete tool that does the job and let your team follow your process.
3. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate
Tell people what you expect from them. Make communication easier by leveraging the right tools. With OneOffice Talk you can have dedicated group calls. People can comment and share ideas, and convene regularly for a video call.
Undercommunication leaves people wondering. Overcommunication just frustrates people. Aim for Overcommunication and listen to the signals to go down. It’s easier to fix overcommunication than undercommunication.
4. Leverage people’s strength
If people’s strength are acknowledged, the team is stronger as tasks get distributed more equitably. When teams are connected in this way, each member is set up for success because they are each assigned tasks that play to their respective strengths.
Don’t forget to also give people tasks that they are not good at in order to improve. Pair them with people who are good at that task to foster mentorship. They can have their own group in OneOffice Talk to communicate and document their progress
5. Encourage people to socialize
Using technology tools to communicate can become dry. When people don’t know each other, every little emotive or punctuation becomes important as you decypher your colleague’s intent. But if you know them well, working & communicating with them is much smoother.
In conclusion …
Cohesive teams are more successful. They are successful because each person on the team is included in communications and decision-making. When team members feel this type of inclusion, they feel the perceived significance of their role, making them naturally perform better.