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Baking Teamwork Into the Company Culture

By Bisk
Baking Teamwork Into the Company Culture

You know how to create and guide engaged and well-functioning teams. But there is a next step -- advancing the teamwork concept to a company-wide initiative. When a teamwork culture is so intrinsic that it’s "baked" into a company, everyone benefits – the company, its employees and its customers. 

So, how do you bake teamwork into your company’s culture? Creating a culture of teamwork is not the same as team building. If you’ve developed strong teams that produce solid results, you can build a case for teamwork culture that can then be pitched to your supervisor, and on up to the C-suite.

According to Randy Slechta, president of Leadership Management International, Inc., a Texas-based organizational development company, an organization that seeks to develop productive team members first has to cultivate a culture that’s positive and open with an environment rich in creativity and challenges. Such a culture will lure and keep employees who thrive at teamwork, he said.

Five Attributes of Teamwork Culture

You’ve probably seen companies where each member of the management and staff are engaged, productive and loyal and maybe wondered what it took to get there. To create a teamwork culture in your company, consider these five attributes shared by companies with strong cultures of teamwork:

  1. Empowerment: Teams are encouraged to be self-reliant and empowered to make their own decisions.
  2. High Expectations: Teams are given important assignments and projects, not just low-level tasks.
  3. Proper Backup: Teams with the talent and ability to produce results are supported by management with the time, budget, people and other resources needed to do the job.
  4. Encouragement: Teams are encouraged to work independently and employees are encouraged to form their own informal teams to solve problems.
  5. Proper Training: Teams have the proper training for their own positions as well as cross-training opportunities. This makes teams more nimble and increases appreciation and understanding among colleagues.

Creating a teamwork culture is easier when teamwork is promoted, sponsored and supported from the top. However, if teamwork is not currently valued within the organization, it will take time to change underlying beliefs and systems.

You Might Also Enjoy: How to Build a Culture of Teamwork

Building an Effective Culture of Teamwork

An effective teamwork culture can contain many facets, depending on the size and type of company, industry, or even location. Some of common ingredients to baking teamwork into a company’s culture include:

  • Setting goals: Each member of the team needs to fully understand the company’s goals and vision, as well as his or her role in getting there. Setting goals creates common ground and increases productivity.
  • Resolving conflict: Conflicts arise, even in the most harmonious teams. The key is handling them well. Let members in a team work out conflicts as much as possible.
  • Productivity: Team members are proactive and take responsibility for their assignments.
  • Measurement: Measuring team productivity is the only way to ensure the concept works – and is worth expanding company-wide. Fortunately, most companies have methods to measure employee productivity and performance, which could be increased sales, higher production, cost reduction, new customers added or any metric used to gauge employee progress.

Gamification in Team Building

Gamification, the use of game theory to solve problems, can be a real team motivator. It leverages people’s natural tendencies to compete, strive for status and achieve self-satisfaction to get tasks completed and goals accomplished. The strategy can incentivize a whole team, and eventually, the entire company. 

Gamification often involves competition between groups or individuals with points, rewards, and recognition.

To make workplace gamification work, it’s important to:

  • Start with goals: Establish a measurement system so everyone can track their progress.
  • Involve the team: Bring everyone together from the planning stage, building buy-in and participation.
  • Appoint a steward: Someone needs to handle potential disputes. A third party can dispel conflict and resolve problems.
  • Be flexible: Accept rules will change along the way.
  • Make it fun: Define the rewards, but make something all might enjoy.
  • Make it optional: As much as you try, not everyone will want to participate.

Customize Team Culture to Fit

Baking team culture into your company is no one-size-fits-all endeavor. You need to customize the mix of ingredients for your specific circumstances. Be sure your efforts are aligned with the company’s culture, mission and goals. Otherwise, you could be perceived as someone trying too hard to create change. Remember, securing management buy-in only happens with solid results.

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Category: Strategic Leadership and Management