If organizational growth is your objective, then teamwork is the accelerator that will push you forward. Whether you gather your employees to brainstorm how to overcome a problem or meet a common goal, working together will rev up the horsepower in your creativity, ideation, strategy, and decision-making. Think of it this way: Collaboration brings together not only your employee’s minds, but their collective experience and talents.
Moving forward as an entire organization may be as simple as taking time to rethink how you approach teamwork. If you are looking for fresh, effective ways to shake things up in your organization so you can meet your long-term goals, look no further than these bite-sized bits of wisdom. Sometimes, a little inspiration goes a long way.
1. “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.”
Who, when, where: Brene Brown, 2012, TED Talk on “Listening to Shame”
Why it made the list: Think of the last time an idea really shook things up in your office. Chances are someone took a risk. Creating a culture of vulnerability in which your team can openly share—and potentially fail—also creates many more chances for them to come up with the next big idea for a game-changing product or service.
2. “Politeness is the poison of collaboration.”
Who, when, where: Edwin Land, 2009, in his book The Innovation Manager’s Desk Reference
Why it made the list: Sometimes, authenticity is the only way to break through to the next phase of creativity, success, or connection with consumers. Give your team space to give honest, constructive feedback, and you’ll give them space to move strategically forward with the right long-term goals in mind.
3. “If you really think about it, meetings should be at least as interesting as movies.”
Who, when, where: Patrick Lencioni, 2002, in his book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
Why it made the list: Collaborating means engaged employees,and, unfortunately, boring, repetitive meetings just aren’t very likely to yield the engagement you want. Shaking things up in your meetings, even by doing a quick team-building exercise, could be the key to ripe-for-growth collaborative atmosphere you’ve been looking for.
4. “Ultimately a genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus.”
Who, when, where: Martin Luther King, Jr., 1968, in an address at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C.
Why it made the list: Along the same lines, teamwork isn’t just about finding common ground; it’s about creating it. If you want to pave the way for your team to work together in innovative ways, focus on inspiring them with your vision. Inspiring your team with your vision is a long-term investment in your organization and its work because it adds value and meaning to all of your initiatives.
5. “What gets rewarded gets done. If you praise and honor the people who epitomize the values of the team, those values get embraced and upheld by other members of the team. There is no better reinforcement.”
Who, when, where: John C. Maxwell, 2001, in his book The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork: Embrace Them and Empower Your Team
Why it made the list: Long-term strategies may take more immediate effort, but they also tend to have more long-term payoff. Investing in and celebrating team members who represent your values essentially multiplies your vision, which will, as a result, get naturally infused into future projects and processes—all of which contribute to your long-term growth strategies.
6. “Most people are scared to change the way they do business. Find somemone in your organization who isn’t—they’re going to challenge your process like no one else can.”
Who, when, where: Mitch Lowe, 2017, Marketing United Conference
Why it made the list: Your process may be tried and true, but it may be time to bring it to the next level. Instead of shying away from a coworker that offers the most constructive feedback about your process, lean into them. Ask more questions. Understand your perspective. Nothing will fine-tune your methods more than different perspectives, allowing you to stay on track to reaching long-term goals.
7. “If you could get all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time.”
Why it made the list: You can’t gain momentum you want as an organization if your team members are heading in separate directions. For this reason, the first step to meeting your goal is unity: getting your team members on the same page about your goals in each initiative and, more importantly, your vision and mission as an organization. When you’re all moving toward the same goals with the same mission in mind, you’re far more likely to align your core values with your long-term strategies.
8. “Be the mentor you wish you had.”
Who, when, where: Manuel Gruber, 2014, TEDxPannonia
Why it made the list: Unlocking the potential of your team members could be as easy as taking the kind of mentorship role that you appreciated in past positions. Helping your team members overcome their weaknesses and capitalize on their strengths is a long-term investment sure to guide your organization toward future success.
9. “If the organization doesn’t invest resources in the development of the team, it will be more difficult to convince the team that their task really is relevant.”
Who, when, where: Pat MacMillan, 2001, in his book The Performance Factor: Unlocking the Secrets of Teamwork
Why it made the list: Convincing your team that teamwork is important starts with your example. If you take the time and resources necessary to invest in personal and team development, your team will be much more likely to buy in to your vision. In addition, when you show your team what they do is actually important to the organization, they’ll be motivated to produce top-notch, value-adding work.
10. “To build a strong team you must see someone else’s strength as a complement to your weakness not a threat to your position or authority.”
Who, when, where: Christine Caine, 2016, Twitter
Why it made the list: If you want to create a culture of collaboration, try taking a posture of humility and focus on how you can leverage others’ strengths.
11. “We need to reflect the diversity we see in our member base and our customer base.”
Who, when, where: Jia Hyun, 2017, Advertising Week New York Conference
Why it made the list: Want to connect with as many people as possible? Your employee base should be as diverse as the general public. Including a breadth of experiences, perspectives, and ideas in the creative process will help you better connect others to your product or service.
12. “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
Who, when, where: Sir Isaac Newton, 1675
Why it made the list: If you want to bring your organization to new heights, build a ladder of ideas and accomplishments. Multiply your team’s efforts to better your organization by taking advantage of what others have already done, and invite your team members to do the same. This is important because when your team works together well, you can make sure you’re looking at problems through the right lens and consequently, find the correct solutions.
By taking the time to invest your time and resources in your team, you’re also investing in your organization as a whole. Like any other long-term investment, in-the-moment inspiration doesn’t necessarily yield immediate payoff. However, you may be surprised how pouring a little effort and energy into teamwork affects the overall atmosphere of your office. If you’re ready to take the leap in empowering your team, try jazzing up your next meeting with some quick team-building activities.
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