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The 5 Vital Components of Teamwork and Cooperation

From the military to the world of business to the insanity that is politics, teamwork and cooperation are essential to success. No one, no matter how talented, gets to the top entirely on their own, and top performers are quick to point out the advantages they enjoyed along the way and the influence mentors have had in their lives.

In the business world, you cannot overstate the importance of teamwork and cooperation. Without cooperation and a sense of community, virtually nothing of consequence can happen.

Fostering a corporate culture that values teamwork and cooperation is easier said than done, but understanding the vital components of collaboration is an excellent place to start. Here are the five essential elements of teamwork and cooperation, and how you can begin to use them in your own business.

1. Trust
It is impossible to build a cohesive team if the individual team members do not trust one another. Without trust, there can be no cooperation, so fostering that faith is the first step toward building solid teams, and it is perhaps the most vital of the five components of teamwork and collaboration.

There is no one way to foster trust and cooperation, and there is no silver bullet that will work for everyone. The methods used to build confidence in a startup will be much different than those needed to rebuild trust in an older firm with a history of poor management and miscommunication.

Building trust can be hard, but it is a vital first step. Until your team members can trust one another, nothing else you do is likely to be effective.

2. Communication
Communication is another vital pillar of teamwork and cooperation, and another thing that can be difficult to foster. Keeping the lines of communication open requires the buy-in of everyone in the company, from the executives in the corner offices to the customer service reps answering the phones.

Executives can set the tone for an open and communicative workforce by maintaining an open-door policy. This strategy breaks down the walls between those in charge and the workers on the floor, but it only works if the executives are committed to the policy. Once those walls break down, you will see a positive change in your team, and you can move forward toward a better and more supportive workplace.

3. The Freedom to Be Creative
You never know when creativity will strike, or what form it will take. That is why giving workers the freedom to innovate and be creative is so important. There is a reason creativity is a central pillar of teamwork and cooperation.

Some people are more naturally creative than others, but everyone has some level of creativity. Unfortunately, many workers feel stifled in their creativity, afraid to try new things and risk failure. Giving your employees the freedom to be creative, and even the freedom to fail, can unlock their talents and help you build a cohesive and talented team.

4. Adaptability
The only thing sure in life is change, and that makes adaptability a vital skill. The ability to adapt to changing circumstances and take on new challenges is also an essential component of teamwork and cooperation, and this talent is more critical than ever.

The business world is moving so fast that many old-line businesses are finding themselves left behind. If those firms had successfully fostered adaptability in their management teams, they might have survived the onslaught.

5. Diversification of Talents
Everyone is great at something, but no one is great at everything. Recognising that truth is a vital stepping stone toward building a cooperative corporate culture, one where every member of the team works to the best of their abilities and all of their capabilities combine into one cohesive whole.

Even the smallest of companies contains a vast store of experience and a wide range of competencies. Teamwork and cooperation are all about harnessing those talents.

There are many ways to utilise the talents that already exist in your company. Scanning resumes, either electronically or by hand, is a great way to uncover skills of which you may not have been aware. Breaking workers up into teams and having them work through complex problems can also bring these hidden talents to light. No matter how you do it, making use of the diversification of abilities in your workforce is a great way to foster teamwork and reward cooperation.

Building a stable and cohesive team has never been more critical, or more challenging to do. Whether you are running a brand new startup or trying to turn around a business that has fallen behind, understanding the challenges of team building and cooperation can give you a competitive edge and help you succeed.

Team Building is a dirty word

In fact, many of you will cringe violently at the mere sight of the double-barrelled word. It’s a good-intentioned notion that’s acquired a very nasty reputation, thanks largely to out-dated trust falls and group hugs circa 1990’s.

We’ve become an industry that rests upon its laurels. There’s a demand for the obligatory ‘team building day’, so many providers feed the beast for a buck as opposed to putting innovation first, pushing boundaries and changing this widespread attitude that team-building is an unpleasant necessity.

As a professional team-builder then, what the hell am I doing? Why choose to deliver such ‘painful events’ to corporate folk across Australia’s urban jungles? Well the answer’s quite simple: we’re part of an important minority who believe it’s utterly essential. But only if done correctly.

New experiences lies at the core of everything we do; they’re the foundation for learning, friendship and fun… at the very least they create a memory; a story to share with your mates later on.

So what should our profession be called then? Experience creators? Memory makers? Relationship builders? (I like the ring of these!)

Team building maybe a filthy word that really needs a new name, but it looks like we’re probably stuck with it for the time-being!

Thorn Group | Leadership Workshop

Working alongside our Learning and Development consultant and Thorn’s soon-to-retire CEO, we strived to understand the team’s strengths and weaknesses so that we could tailor our programme accordingly to met the specific needs of the group.

Conferencing at the Coogee Crowne Plaza, we began day 1 with Sea Survival in La Perouse.  This intense and demanding experience tested creative thinking, group decision making skills, teamwork, communication and other key elements of success required when working in complex situations. The event created a fantastic way to set the programme off on the right foot!

The half-day action workshop followed in the afternoon, taking participants through the Team Management Profile and Team Life Cycle to highlight the need for every typology and balance for effective teams.

Day 2 began with our highly acclaimed Hostage event. Incorporating De Bono’s Thinking Hats, the team had four hours to work together to solve a series of challenges and uncover 4 briefcases, which in turn led to their ‘kidnapped’ CEO. The most valuable part of the programme took place in the classroom in the afternoon where the team reflected on the experiences, connecting them back to the workplace to ensure the lessons would actually be embedded in the team.

This amazing programme was intense and really pushed the team in a number of ways. It’s also a very good example of how we tailor all of our programmes to meet the specific objectives of each and every client we partner with.