In their article, Eight Ways to Build Collaborative Teams, (HBR, Nov. 2007) Gratton and Erickson give a number of suggestions (eight to be exact) on how to orchestrate the most profitable environment for constructing healthy, collaborative teams. Their suggestions are based on research from “collaboratively effective” organizations. I have listed some key reminders generated from this article:

A decade ago, teams were composed of about 20 people. Today, they are more complex, involving 100 or more within a team, having more diverse people (& many times are virtual). In light of this shift, greater intentionality must be given toward constructing healthy collaboration.

Teams do well if upper management supports social relationships, demonstrating collaborative behavior themselves. They create a “gift culture”—one in which employees experiences interactions with leaders and colleagues as something valuable and generously offered, a gift. (QUESTION: Does your leadership see times of collaboration a waste of time or a gift in which greater effectiveness will be generated?)

Training is needed for employees related to collaborative behavior (appreciating others, being able to engage in purposeful conversations, productively and creatively resolving conflicts, and program management…”Fruits of the Spirit?”)

There needs to be strong support for informal community building (sponsoring group events and activities). (QUESTION: Do you see team building exercises and off-site activities as a waste of time and resources, or a time well spent building into your assets?)

Team leaders should be both task and relationship oriented (flexibility is key!). Defined as “ambidextrous leaders.” (QUESTION: Which part of your “game” do you need to practice more on? Task or relationship?)

Make sure your team members trust and know each other. (QUESTION: If you don’t trust someone on the team you lead….then why are they still there?)

Have a clearly defined approach toward achieving the goal, or at least have clearly specified roles for individual team members. (Collaboration improves when the roles of individual team members are clearly defined and well understood.)

In the teams you work and serve in, what are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What is one pursuit to begin this week?


~ by Dave Smith on December 1, 2007.

3 Responses to “TEAM BUILDING”

  1. Good ones. Especially #6.

  2. oops. I don’t think I was supposed to say that. Moderate at will.

  3. Yes, will need to adjust that one!

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