This is actually an extremely useful exercise to readily pull together a workgroup who truly need each other to accomplish their mission and do some realigning to keep people on track in this regard.

Start form the starting point

Ask the members of your workgroup this question: To enhance our performance and improve our teamwork, what we need to keep doing, what we need to stop doing and one we need to start doing?

If you’re really serious about creating a team it’s especially important to increase the level of workplace participation and empowerment with the people in your workgroup so they can begin to take ownership ownership over the things that are going on in your operation. As ownership of activities goes up so does teamwork and commitment to both what you’re trying to do and how you’re trying to do it.

Foster team thinking

Experienced leaders and professionals realized that teamwork doesn’t just happen so they take advantage of team-building activities, teaming skills development and team training and there’s lots of models for team development.

You can foster team thinking through things like off-site team building retreats were team members learn how to communicate more effectively with each other and develop action plans for performance improvement that they’ll learn.

Team-based training

For team-based training to work every member of the team needs to be exposed to the same concepts and curriculum. This gives people a common knowledge and a common language that can help the group speak the same language and helps them use the same tools in problem solving and the like.

Cross-training as well could be a useful vehicle for helping people understand the performance challenges that other people and their workgroup are facing when people are asked to systematically swap jobs for a period of time with other members of their operation which creates both empathy and new ideas for improvement.

Accelerating a team’s growth

There’s lots of creative ways to empower people that will accelerate a team’s growth: allowing team members to run meetings, taking team members to meet with customers, giving team members responsibility for removing workplace barriers and giving people access to information and decision-making authority.

The key is to identify and implement the right team development practices for your organization, and develop and implement team-based performance measurement, feedback and reward systems.  When the performance of a work group or team is measured and this information is fed back to the group on an ongoing and systematic basis the process not only unifies individuals but it improves group cohesiveness and performance.

To conclude, we all need to learn to cooperate and work together better because the costs of not doing so are so great. Keep in mind that, in the end, feeling the increase in leverage cooperation and teamwork is a failure to capture an additional source of competitive advantage.

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