Today’s teams are far more varied, scattered, e-digital, and dynamic (with greater staff turnover, partly with corporate mergers and acquisitions). But while teams face new challenges, their success still depends on a core set of fundamentals for group collaboration.
Collaboration in a Shared Mindset
The basics of team effectiveness were identified by J. Richard Hackman, a pioneer in the field of organizational behavior who began studying teams in the 1970s. He discovered a groundbreaking insight: What matters most to collaboration is not the personalities, attitudes, or behavioral styles of team members. Instead, what teams need to thrive are certain “enabling conditions.” In a more recent research , modern researchers found that three of Hackman’s conditions—a compelling direction, a strong structure, and a supportive context—continue to be particularly critical to team success. In fact, today those three requirements demand more attention than ever.
But they’ve also seen that modern teams are vulnerable to two corrosive problems—“us versus them” thinking and incomplete information. Recently, a new research indicates that overcoming those pitfalls requires a 4th critical condition: a shared mindset.
This collaborative shared mindset seems to work better if there is commitment, trust and respect between the team members’ strengths and responsibilities. They need to know that other member’s roles are as important as theirs and to reach their goals with amazing results, they need to know that everybody help is needed.
Great teams know how to move from “them” tribal territorial mindsets to bigger shared kingdom “us” mindsets. Interestingly, great teams ensure that each subgroup feels equally valued for its contributions toward the team’s overall large goals.
Collaboration has to be proactive
Every team is uniquely different and will always be that way. Teamwork has never been easy—but in recent years it has become super complex. And the trends that make it more difficult seem likely to continue, as teams become increasingly global, virtual, and project-driven. Taking a proactive, systematic approach to analyzing how well your team is primed for success and breakthrough—and identifying where improvements are needed—can make all the difference you need to create a great team.
Fortunately, there are strategies that team leaders can use to actively foster a shared identity and shared mindset and break down the barriers to cooperation and information exchange. For example, collaboration in the workplace is when groups work together to brainstorm through idea sharing and thinking to accomplish a common compelling goal. Great teams know how to brainstorm their way to breakthrough successes. Of course, there are many more collaboration strategies.
Collaboration, more than ever before, requires regular daily, monthly, quarterly reinforcing via meetings, workshops, brainstorming sessions, corporate teambuilding sessions. But, the investment of time and effort to these are well worth its short term and long term benefits.