Teamwork Gems Create Startling Results

Kate Nasser
August 19, 2009 — 2,312 views  
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Every minute of teamwork in the 21st century requires adaptation to each other, to changing conditions, and sometimes to changing goals. The traditional definition of a team, a group of people working together toward a common goal, sounds logical, is clear - and doesn't work. Most people participate from their own perspective and the organization gets stuck performing based on how they are organized. Sometimes leaders don't even consider business opportunities because of the current organizational structure.

Now picture an organization using this definition of team: Talent engaged in growth and change to achieve a common success.  It's applicable to this century, is very clear - and it works. 

It creates startling results when you use it with these precious gems.

RUBY. Passion for learning. When you create a learning (not training) culture, the team exercises its change muscles. Learning is change and one that most people welcome since it enhances their careers and no one can fail. 
The startling result is a stream of new contributions because all are involved in continuous improvement.

Creativity increases and critical thinking improves. Athletic teams regularly exercise for improved performance and theater troupes explore new ideas for this same reason. Unfortunately teams focused on production often get locked in daily routines. Create startling new results with a learning culture.

Action Item: Pick one topic related to business, teamwork, service, sales, or technology. Have each team member Google/Bing on the topic and collate those results online.  At a virtual team meeting, take 15 minutes for team members to identify aloud what info they can use and how.  Make this a weekly event and watch the teams create, collaborate, and flex to changing needs.

EMERALD. Leader with a confident ego. If you have a learning culture, the leader must feel confident even with constructive dissenters and creative strategic thinkers on the team. This confident leader is the emerald gem of teamwork reminding us all of The Wizard of Oz. Toward the end of the movie the curtain is drawn back to reveal there is no all-powerful wizard. He is instead a wise caring person.  His insights flow from there.

SAPPHIRE. Human bonding on diverse and distributed teams.  The evil of isolation due to distance or differences undermines the full potential of teams. Picture world-wide technology rollout teams who have never met, come from different cultures, and rotate team members. If no bonding is addressed, the teams will fall short of full success. Use video-based virtual meetings to introduce team members. Build understanding on topics of personality type, generational differences, cultural norms, learning style, and pet peeves!

DIAMOND. The I's in Team. There are several I's in teamwork - individual initiative and identity committed to the team. Respect and acknowledge individual talents contributed to the whole. It inspires greater contributions and willingness to share and teach. Some organizations call this the essential piece culture where each person knows how s/he contributes to the whole success.

Kate Nasser


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach and President of CAS, Inc. has MA Organizational Psychology, BS Mathematics, and 20 years of experience in the organizational dynamics of customer service and teamwork. She founded CAS, Inc. in 1989 delivering consulting and training on smart people-skills to large corporations including Pfizer, J&J, Goldman Sachs, Time Warner, The GAP, National Institutes of Health to name just a few. Kate is credible to many audiences because of her diverse background. She has a special connection to technical organizations (IT, doctors, lawyers, engineers, scientists, finance) because of her technical background and undergraduate education.