Good teams define their own!
Good teams define their own!
When forming a team, agreeing your own teamwork definition is something that’s often missed. Yet teamwork is something that’s often best defined in relation to your own organization and context.
In our article: Define Teamwork, we offered several worthwhile definitions for team leaders. However, it’s worth remembering that good teams start off with their own definition of teamwork. It’s crucial that you and team members begin by thinking through what teamwork means to each of you. Then, by agreeing values, goals, processes and behaviours you’ll be able to define teamwork for yourselves. This will encourage buy-in and commitment, and set the scene for future action – and success.
To get you started, here’s an activity to run with your team. It can be used to refresh an emphasis on teamwork in an existing team but it’s an essential activity when you’re starting a new team. It will help you think through what teamwork means to all of you then reap the rewards of early involvement in the team’s development.
To get the most out of this team activity you may want to read some of our other key articles on teamwork. Firstly, step back and get a picture of the teamwork principles which are often lost in the day-to-day busyness of work. Secondly, and crucial to this activity, our article “define teamwork” discusses some common understandings of teamwork. Thirdly, you may want to read “why is teamwork important?” where we discuss the benefits of teamworking.
Once you’re ready to begin, set a time and venue for the teamwork definition activity. Ask the team to come prepared by writing down their thoughts on the following points:
You will need:
The aims of the activity are to:
After going through the aims of the session, it might be useful to start with a motivational quote or story. Next set the scene by affirming that every view is important, encouraging engagement and contribution from all present. Then:
Using the cluster words and phrases as a starting point, ask the group to weave the key words/phrase clusters identified into a coherent definition of teamwork. This may take some time and some debate, but that’s healthy! The key aspect of this whole activity is that the team collectively agrees a working definition. This should reflect their view of team working, to encourage their commitment to making it work.
This definition can be polished for discussion at the next team meeting or development session. For example, you can use this teamwork definition activity on its own or preceding the activity which encourages the team to agree the “benefits of teamwork.” Either way, when the team meets again, it will need to check that the definition is still valid and aligned with its goals and any work already begun to achieve them.
If you want to put our teamwork concepts into action, you’ll find more information and a wealth of practical resources, in our colossal Team Building Bundle.
Containing 240 pages and 50 tools, these are the 8 key guides we recommend to help you do more than define teamwork, build it!