When you visualize your next business meeting, do you look around and see the “skeletons” of once vibrant and enthusiastic team members? Are virtual members on mute, do cellphones and computers line the conference tables and/or do you feel like you’re doing all the work? We hire leaders and team members with the future promise of their value through collaborative contributions, ideas and productivity. So what has turned once vital teaming partners into single-minded individual contributors?
In the classic book, Paradoxes of Group Life, Kenwyn Smith and David Berg explore why leaders claim they want to work as part of a team when they’re not included–and then when part of a team–work to find ways to work alone. Even with mixed results, leaders increasingly look to multifunctional teams and global executive groups to create organizations of the future. Yet, groups are not a panacea for organizational problems; when conflicts exist between individuals or between factions it eliminates the advantages leaders hope to achieve.
In fact, it is easy to bring a group of leaders together, yet is very hard to build a high performance team who works and stays together. Today’s society, while giving lip service to collaboration, has actually spawned the growth of individualism. If business is a microcosm of society, consider that in 1965, 90% of music bands were in the Top 100 billboard charts. Today, 100% of artists on the chart are single artists. What are you doing as a leader to recognize collaborative practices and reward team behavior?
Avoid forming a group of people with individual self-interests. Instead, build practices that lead to collaboration and teaming success.
Download our Collaboration Checklist to determine whether or not a specific partnership has a good chance to develop trust and collaboration.
Organizations are using Excursion Learning® events, such as ART at Work to establish the foundation for greater collaboration and teaming. To learn more, contact our Excursion Learning® Practice Leader Becky Ripley.