Rely on Teamwork to Be Successful

Posted by Jill Hannemann on October 8, 2018

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So much of our productivity and effectiveness is rooted in our ability to establish effective teamwork habits. Teamwork is the very foundation of organizational growth and the ability to influence the marketplace. 


A sum that is greater than its parts.  It’s important to distinguish the difference between teamwork and a team.  You can have a team without teamwork, but you can’t have teamwork without a team. The attitudes and behaviors of the team that formulate the effectiveness to accomplish the goal.

The most successful organizations rely on teamwork to be successful. Dysfunctional or non-collaborative teams can often bring a project down, expose vulnerabilities for budget and schedule overrun, or completely miss an opportunity in the marketplace.

Look at your teams.  How effective are they at teamwork?

As we look to support and boost teamwork, there are two areas where we can examine:

  1. The values and behaviors of our teams.
  2. Making collaboration and communication more frictionless for teams.

Defining the Team’s Values and Behaviors
Encourage teams to define their values and mutual expectations on behavior and attitude.  This may translate into meeting etiquette or respectful disagreement that leads to negotiation, fact finding, or compromise.  It may simply be the belief that everyone on the team will complete their tasks.  Whatever the attitude and behaviors are, the team owns these values and are the ones who establish them.

A good starting place: gather a team who considers themselves to be effective, and another team admitting there could be improvement. Facilitate an equal exchange of ideas on what effective teamwork looks like.  Then let teams define what teamwork looks like for themselves.  Everyone on the team should have a shared commitment and understanding to the behaviors that will make the teamwork work.

Frictionless Collaboration and Communication for Teams
To enable our teams, and support them with better resources or tools, we have to understand what our teams do most often and where barriers can be broken to re-script for easier use. One of the most common activities our teams do is meet. Meetings tend to make up a lot of the logistical structure of where teamwork takes place. The amount of meetings is up to the team, but perhaps we can improve the technology supporting those meetings and the work products associated with it.

Microsoft conducted an informal survey to question knowledge workers from various organizations on the purpose of their meetings.  The responses were collected and even though there were a variety of responses, a theme emerged with 50% of meetings being for statuses and collaboration. We can look at these meeting types and the patterns and activities teams take to better understand how tools like artificial intelligence, search, and automation may benefit repeatable actions.

  • Pre-meeting Actions – review agenda, learn more about attendees, co-author a deliverable, work with a colleague on ideas for the deliverable.
  • During the meeting – collaborate with persistent chat, take notes, share desktop/apps, white board.
  • Post Meeting – post and review meeting notes, share and send the deliverable, review action items, execute on next steps.

How can we improve the user experience for any of the activities listed above? Can co-authoring allow for easier collaboration? Can persistent chat allow you to ask your teammates questions? Can you keep track of tasks to review in the meeting more easily? Can artificial intelligence pre-populate the email notification to share the meeting notes based on who attended the meeting?

The list of potential opportunities for a better user experience could be made to be very specific to the needs of the team, or it can be very genericized and meant to stretch across many different teams.  The analysis is an activity between teams and IT, or your Office 365 pro. 

Microsoft Teams advancements in communication are swiftly merging communication and collaboration of content and files together to provide contextual experiences. Many of the opportunities for a more frictionless teamwork experience are likely out of the box with Teams and available today. 

Taking the Next Step in Boosting Teamwork
Teamwork can be very subjective, but there are known traits for effective teams.  Working with teams to validate these traits and/or reaffirming commitment to a behavior set is a critical activity to ensuring effective teamwork.  Another step can be looking at whether Microsoft Teams may be a valuable tool to assist in making more of the actions teams need to take frictionless. Taking these steps will be the differentiator in how your teams move and transform your organization. 

Ready to see how Teams can impact your organization? Schedule a complimentary consultation online or give us a call at 240.406.9960.

Topics: Office 365, microsoft teams

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Jill Hannemann

Jill Hannemann is a Principal at Withum. She is a recognized expert on the topics of portal strategy, governance and information architecture, and has a passion for transforming corporate intranets into digital workplaces that people love to use.

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