Overture Institute

Building Collaboration

How to Build a Collaboration-First Company Culture

What does it take to build a team that will bring both change and growth to your organization?  As an organization that values things like teamwork, collaboration, and organizational trust; what can you do to help foster a culture based on teamwork?


Defining Organizational Teamwork

What is teamwork as part of an organizational culture? Many different definitions exist, although many surround key topics.  For instance, Australian Consultant and Management Trainer Derek Stockley found the definition of teamwork as

A group of people, contributing their individual knowledge and skills but working together to achieve a common goal/task.”

Valuable definition that surrounds the concept of teamwork.  But what makes teamwork important?

Why is Organizational Teamwork Important?

Teamwork in organizational settings is an important aspect of creating a well-oiled machine to get tasks and projects done.  Teamwork is important in an organization because of the scope of the work it performs on a daily basis.

A single employee cannot take on all of the responsibilities of an organization. Each employee hired by the company has a certain skill set, which contributes to a single department.

In other words, a single department has a collection of workers who each contribute something to reach the organization’s goals and objectives.

Related: Six Fundamentals for Shared Leadership

For Employees, The ability to work as part of a team is one of the most important skills in today’s job market. Employers are looking for workers who can contribute their own ideas, but also want people who can work with others to create and develop projects and plans.

Plus, when employees work in an environment that focuses on individuals only, not only are their skills underutilized, but many more downsides can occur.  For instance,

  • Working alone makes it harder to get early and continual design feedback, thereby decreasing output quality.
  • Working alone reduces learning.
  • Working on a team increases the bus factor (number of team members that can be hit by a bus before a project can be scrapped) for a project.
  • Working on a team increases accountability.
  • Slower project momentum from working alone reduces morale.
  • The lows of a project are more demoralizing when working alone.
  • The highs of a project are more motivating when working as a team.

This Forbes article provides an in-depth look into why solidarity is bad in a workplace.

Skills and Habits of Teamwork Oriented Cultures

What skills do employees and employers need to foster teamwork in the workplace?  As relationships and trust are important, the US Department of Labor gives 6 points on which to focus to build an effective team.

  • Working cooperatively
  • Contributing to groups with ideas, suggestions, and effort
  • Communication (both giving and receiving)
  • Sense of responsibility
  • Healthy respect for different opinions, customs, and individual preferences
  • Ability to participate in group decision-making

What Steps Can You Take to Foster Organizational Teamwork?

At some point, every team must move from generating ideas to assessing their value. The process used to evaluate those ideas is critical to the team’s overall success. So, how do we effectively address this challenge — the “we-have-numerous-great-ideas-but-what-do-we-do-with-them” issue? Here are several sources of insight:

  • Dr. Ed Catmull, President, Walt Disney Pixar Animation Studios: It’s not necessary for one idea to “win” or “lose.” Instead, numerous viable concepts can be incorporated into a plan, a product or a process. This approach may lead to healthier outcomes. After all, game-changing products and processes often integrate multiple features.
  • Mike Krieger, Co-Founder, Instagram: The value of combining ideas when developing innovative solutions is the driving principle behind the best startup companies. Instagram is compelling evidence.

So avoiding a win-or-lose approach and collaborating to meet goals.  But how can you move this collaboration process forward?  Talent Culture offers three ‘ideation’ guidelines to foster brainstorming.

  • Share ideas sooner. Move beyond the requirement that an idea must be perfected before you share it. Allow colleagues an opportunity to develop your concept more fully.
  • Cut the cord. Strive to give up emotional ownership of your idea. Stay invested and serve as a guide, but allow the team to invest in it, too, so you can maximize its potential, together.
  • Nurture a different perspective. Stay open to pairing ideas that can produce a novel product or process. Expect the unexpected. Explore diverse combinations. And try not to jump to conclusions too soon.

So there’s the primer on teamwork.  We look to share more ideas on building a teamwork-focused culture that will prime your organization for further growth.

Please contact us to learn more about finding the right talent to support team and organization growth.

Any opinions on growing a team? Share them in the comments below.

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