Performance is an Outcome of Leadership Strategy. Fuel New Heights of Performance With an Inspiring Disruption.

Image source: Dreamstime

There’s untapped power and unrealized potential throughout most organizations today.

There are also dramatic differences in what people want in their work. The way leaders respond to these two seemingly unrelated developments can make all the difference. As with other significant transformational change, there is a window of opportunity for leaders to adopt new strategies.

The moment we have now is the most optimum and critical time for Leaders to act.   

As you can see, we have videos from YouTube for you. They are quick and enjoyable to see. Sometimes videos are best to help drive home valuable points.  Read on. We’ll cue you at the best times to view them.

Teamwork is Not Enough

Building teamwork has long been a focus in most organizations. As a result, many groups have made inroads in establishing teams to focus on specific projects, new technology implementations, and quality improvement initiatives and using committees for various company events.

Still, teamwork across functions in performing the work of organizations often falls short of expectations.

This is often due to conflicting goals and priorities that cause a divisive rift between internal groups.

One enduring example you may have experienced is the oft-painful tension between Sales vs. Production.

Sales has functional goals requiring pushing for faster delivery and scheduling exceptions to win new business or increase customer satisfaction.

Production has productivity, efficiency, and quality objectives that depend on maintaining a well-ordered system for scheduling and delivery commitments to customers. 

I often hear people accepting this as a norm. But, unresolved conflict brings unintended consequences for both workplace relationships and business performance.

This cross-functional break in Teamwork can prevent or damage communication and erode joint problem-solving. But, this can usually be resolved when leaders take two strategic actions:

  1. Shifting departments’ attention to the higher goal: the organization’s purpose, its differentiation. This requires leading people in re-framing to foster a shared, higher-impact perspective.
  2. Building collaboration skills and enabling creation of win-win outcomes.

The Difference Between Teamwork & Collaboration

“Teamwork” and “Collaboration” are standard terms in many organizations. In fact, we often see these two terms used interchangeably, although there is a clear, distinguishable difference between them. Not only is each a different work process, but the knowledge and skills that drive success in each can be quite different.

This article aims to compare Collaboration with Teamwork and offer insights that can help you and your organization leverage each for the most significant results and benefits.

What is the difference between Teamwork and Collaboration?

I found excellent definitions at team-building-bonanza.com, where they wrote:

Teamwork is a group of people working together to make one goal or one project happen, but each individual within the team may be doing a different type of work to help the group as a whole.”  — source: LINK: https://team-building-bonanza.com/

A Quick Demonstration

Here’s where the 2 videos above come in.  Please watch the video (top left) now.

On the left is Ohio State University’s Marching Band performing their amazing 2012 half-time show with its video game theme. This is truly an exciting performance, isn’t it? It’s a compelling example of excellent teamwork.

Collaboration is also a group of people working to make one goal or one project happen, but they are working together and feeding off one another. They are making decisions together and working jointly rather than separately completing their own tasks.” — Source – LINK: https://team-building-bonanza.com/

Now, watch Collaboration in action in the video above on the right, a Ted Talk on The Marshmallow Challenge.

In this 7-minute Ted Talk, we found several key points:

  • Conducting a workshop using The Marshmallow Challenge helps create an actual experience that quickly gets adults collaborating effectively.
  • Collaboration is the very essence of applying an iterative process.
  • Facilitation skills and specialized skills relative to the work are critical to successful Collaboration.
  • Reward/incentives are actually counter-productive to generating success in Collaboration.

Collaboration isn’t limited to face-to-face gatherings. Alternatively, it can occur when people come together using group-work technology such as Zoom. 

The Collective Impact of Teamwork and Collaboration

One less known fact about Ohio State U’s 2012 half-time show is that, before it became a teamwork event on the football field, the show’s design was the product of Collaboration between students, Interim Band Director Jonathan Waters, and his staff.

What are the implications? Imagine the outcomes of designing work in an organization such that people collaborate upfront and execute as a team. Couldn’t this be powerful? Might it be game-changing for the organization?

Then, too, envision the effect on the people doing it. How would this approach to work impact the culture and experience of work for your people?

By building, strengthening, and spreading Teamwork and Collaboration throughout the organization, we can envision gains to be made in performance as well as in talent acquisition and retention. The question that comes to my mind is this: Are the potential results worth the investment that may be required?

Guess Who’s Learning Collaboration in School

The good news is that today, children are developing collaboration skills in some daycare and educational environments under the guidance of skilled leaders. This type of early experience will ensure our children will likely have strong skills in both Teamwork and Collaboration by the time they enter the workforce in the years ahead.

An excellent example of what schools can do to reinforce an attitude of Collaboration among children is provided in the video below, in which young students participate in an iterative process and practice constructive, caring interpersonal skills: Austin’s Butterfly https://youtu.be/hqh1MRWZjms

The Bottom Line

In the new working environment, leaders have to do more than set direction and drive execution, they have to take on this third role of building and enabling employee networks.” — Lisa Renner

In today’s socially connected environment, more and more companies leverage internal blogs, conference calls, and video conferencing to enable Collaboration. Many are now enabling employees to build connections and relationships from the time they are hired through enriched onboarding processes. Lisa Renner recommends leaders do three things to build Collaboration:

1. “Focus on being an active model for network building and spend time on connecting individuals

2. Align and direct their network through communication

3. Enable autonomy throughout the network.”

These actions require leadership to model and prioritize relationship-building and interpersonal skills development essential for people to engage and work together in collaborative efforts. As leaders, we can do this by ensuring collaboration skills are among the critical competencies established for the organization and by providing training and development initiatives, including those skills and other knowledge and capabilities required to achieve the business strategy.

Of course, the human networks that leaders create need to have high confidence in their understanding of the company’s purpose and differentiation strategy, including strategic goals. To innovate and execute value for the organization with autonomy, the people need to know that their innovations, changes, zigs and zags tie directly to these strategic cornerstones.

With our world moving more and more deeply into social connections and business networking, it’s clear that organizations will need to establish their own networks to thrive now and in the future. This means Collaboration capability is becoming increasingly essential to achieving new heights of performance. And, new heights of performance can take us into the future.

Next Steps

Performance is an outcome of an organization’s design. The greatest need in 2022 is for Leaders to instill a transformative level of teamwork and collaboration. An organization’s culture and employee development strategies come together to form a workplace identity and its reality.

Blending teamwork and collaboration throughout an organization can fuel heightened performance outcomes. This blend can re-shape the employee experience in ways that help attract, develop and retain talent.

Safely bringing people together in the workplace after the drought of isolation we’ve endured through COVID, provides leaders with a fresh start.

We can leverage this opportunity. Let’s build a workplace that enriches the experience of work through greater togetherness rooted in a powerful, new version of teamwork and collaboration. I’m convinced that doing this will bring about exciting business outcomes.

What is your organization doing to maximize Teamwork and Collaboration?

  • Are leaders taking these work approaches to a high enough level, integrating them organization-wide? 
  • What tools are being implemented to enable participation across your organization functionally and geographically? 
  • What could be done that hasn’t already been put in place? 

Please share your opinions, experience, and ideas.

Recommended Reading

“1+1=3 The New Math of Business Strategy: How to Unlock Exponential Growth through Competitive Collaboration,” book by Lisa Renner

Website – LINK: https://team-building-bonanza.com/

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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