1 min read

Beat the Competition…with Collaboration


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According to a recent Forbes article, “If you want to create a culture that will produce breakthrough results, collaboration trumps competition by a long shot.”1 So, how can you start rewarding cooperative dynamics and help build a culture of trust on your team? Perhaps most importantly, you have to create an environment that benefits all of them- not just the lone wolves who are out to make a name for themselves at any cost. Here are some concrete tips to help with this:

  1. Display and Encourage Transparency: Start with transparency regarding roles, responsibilities, and guidelines for team projects. Make it clear how the team is expected to work together, and that evaluation standards will be based on team outcomes, not individual actions.
     
  2. Engage in Direct Communication: Build on the transparency with regular, and direct communication, keeping team members informed about project updates, changes, and decisions. When you acknowledge the team as a unit, you’re sending a message that reinforces the value of the group. If you receive communication that excludes certain team members, add them back in before replying, with a note explaining that you’re copying in the rest of the team to ensure that everyone stays on the same page, has the same information, and is well-positioned to work together. Doing this just one or two times can influence the entire team to work together. Remember, it’s harder to act as a lone wolf when the communication channels are open to the whole pack.

  3. Provide and Solicit Feedback: As part of your communication, encourage open dialogue and actively solicit team' concerns, ideas, and feedback. This includes discussing what’s working well and what isn’t working well without assigning blame to an individual, but rather empowering the team to create solutions. 

  4. Reward Collaborative Behavior: Finally, think about how rewards are actually distributed at work. What is included in a performance evaluation? How do employees get recommended for high visibility projects or promotions? Do these systems build in a bias for employees who perform the most visible parts of a project? Or who are most vocal about the importance of their role in a project? It may be time to reconfigure the system to ensure that everyone who is playing a role - on the center stage or behind the scenes - is recognized for the value that they bring when they support their team.

Try these tactics to see how you can strengthen the trust between your team members. You can expect to see increased resource sharing, improved identification of individual and team strengths, and a greater willingness to share ideas, take risks, and achieve the unified goal.

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