Team Alignment

The Art of Collaboration: Working Well with Others

Are there people you work with who drive you nuts? For some reason – and you just cannot figure out why – these people are oil and you are water. You simply do not get along with one another. Michael Jordan said, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” The same is true in business, we must learn to work well together to get the results we seek. Let’s take a few minutes to explore the art of collaboration and working well with others.

Peter Tolman, Senior Advisor, Sr. Partner Emeritus with BCG, shared an enlightening study about teamwork. In the 2017 season for the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics won their respective divisions. Both teams had below-average payrolls. Golden State went on to win the NBA championship. In contrast, eight teams with above-average payrolls all finished with losing records. What was the difference? Teamwork and cooperation, often at a personal cost.

Data showed that players on the Celtics and the Warriors had more assists (passing the ball to another player rather than taking a shot) than the other teams. On average, each team gave assists 15% to 30% above the league average. When a basketball player gives an assist, they forfeit personal points in order to set up a teammate who potentially has a better shot. They are sacrificing personal achievement and glory for the good of the team. The NBA is filled with stars with incredible talent. However, basketball is a team sport and teams do not win if they do not play well together.

So how do you begin pursuing a strategy of working well with others? We have a few tips to help you get started:

  • Know Yourself to Lead Yourself: Get out of your way!
  • Be willing to serve and sacrifice.
  • Communicate effectively.
  • Win as a team and lose as a team.
Know Yourself to Lead Yourself: Get out of your way!

Are there negative tendencies you have that you wish you would quit acting out? We all have them. The good news is there is an effective way to manage them. We use the Know Yourself to Lead Yourself leadership tool by GiANT Worldwide. Here is how it works…

Being self-aware and brutally honest with yourself about your negative tendencies allows you to get out of your way and stop wrecking things unintentionally or intentionally. You can lead yourself better. When you begin to intentionally recognize tendencies that lead to actions that cause negative consequences which lead to damaged relationships, you can call yourself up to better behaviors. You can begin to manage those negative behaviors by identifying ways to modify them to get better outcomes.

When you begin leading yourself well, your reality and relationships improve. If you are interested in seeing this tool, contact us and we will walk you through it.

Be willing to serve and sacrifice.

Simon Sinek’s video about High Performing Teams is a must watch. Please take the minute and twenty-two seconds to watch it – it is worth it! He talks about the type of people who make it through Navy Seals training. To start with, Sinek says that the ones who typically do not make it through are the biggest, toughest, and most athletic. It has been found that some of the skinniest and scrawniest people make it through and when they are cold and shivering with fear, they tend to dig down deep and help the person standing next to them. Service is what makes the highest performing teams successful.

As indicated in the NBA study above, sacrifice is also a vital element of teamwork. Service and sacrifice work well together.

Communicate effectively.

We all hear and process information differently. We all deliver information differently. Some people give little detail when they speak but listen well. Other people give too much detail when they speak but listen sparingly. Everyone else is somewhere in-between.

So much can be and needs to be said about communicating effectively. We actually offer a three-hour workshop on it if you are interested. Consider these key factors:

  • Teach yourself to consider what it would be like to be on the receiving end of your communication, whether it is verbal, written, or body language. You will be surprised if you are honest.
  • Listen more than you speak.
  • Listen to understand and not just respond.
  • Be interested instead of interesting.
  • Ask for and allow do-overs. We all mess up sometimes.
  • Consider the best mode of communication for the message you are delivering. Some things need to be said in person. Remember that the written word does not show inflection.
Win as a team and lose as a team.

There is nothing wrong with being a superstar in something, however, a real superstar is one who embodies humility and lifts others up before themselves. Great teams celebrate wins as a team and take losses as a team, no matter who took the winning – or losing – shot. Either way, they got there as a team.

If you can take a healthy step back from relationships that challenge you and get a clearer perspective on how to make it better, you have won half the battle.

Clear Leader Group can give you and your team the tools and coaching to overcome difficult relationships and to create high performing teams. Connect with us today to get started.

-Melissa Spangler

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