Keys to Teamwork
Do the Hard Stuff for Teams
Fostering teamwork is creating a work culture that values collaboration. In a teamwork
environment, people understand and believe that thinking, planning, decisions and
actions are better when done cooperatively. People recognize, and even assimilate, the
belief that “none of us is as good as all of us.”
Organizations are working on valuing diverse people, ideas, backgrounds, and experiences. We
have miles to go before valuing teams and teamwork will be the norm.
You can, however, create a teamwork culture by doing just a few things right. Admittedly, they’re
the hard things, but with commitment and appreciation for the value, you can create an overall
sense of teamwork in your organization.
Create a Culture of Teamwork
To make teamwork happen, these powerful actions must occur.
• Executive leaders communicate the clear expectation that teamwork and
collaboration are expected. No one completely owns a work area or process all by
himself. People who own work processes and positions are open and receptive to ideas
and input from others on the team.
• Executives model teamwork in their interaction with each other and the rest
of the organization. They maintain teamwork even when things are going wrong
and the temptation is to slip back into former team unfriendly behavior.
• The organization members talk about and identify the value of a teamwork
culture. If values are formally written and shared, teamwork is one of the key five or
• Teamwork is rewarded and recognized. The lone ranger, even if she is an
excellent producer, is valued less than the person who achieves results with others in
teamwork. Compensation, bonuses, and rewards depend on collaborative practices as
much as individual contribution and achievement.
• Important stories and folklore that people discuss within the company
emphasize teamwork. (Remember the year the capsule team reduced scrap by 20
percent?) People who “do well” and are promoted within the company are team
• The performance management system places emphasis and value on
teamwork. Often 360 degree feedback is integrated within the system.