Business articles are full of ways to improve teamwork, design a better team and leadership, leadership, leadership. Collaborative work is certainly important. Industry leaders rank the ability to work in a team consistently in the top five desirable employee traits, right behind communication skills and, of course, leadership. But getting teams to perform, well, as a team is more demanding and delicate than managers are willing to admit. Still, there are a few tried and true ways to address issues with teams that may help you to get more out of your own.
Sometimes the team has no clear sense of direction. Too often committees are formed with a purpose that is too vague to really be solved and then the team is stuck, simply because they aren’t sure quite what to do. If the target isn’t clear, the team will underperform. Ensure the team knows the objective (specific sales goals, energy efficiency improved by 20%, etc).
Sometimes the team has no real authority. If management has no respect for the team or its findings, there is little motivation for a team to work particularly hard on solving a problem they know will simply be ignored. Similarly, if there is no accountability for results, there is no incentive to perform.
Sometimes the team is too competitive. Some managers hold that putting opposite personalities and agendas within a team “keeps the group honest,” so to speak. But generally all that is really produced is infighting. Setting up opposing agendas without a plan to work together is a recipe for disaster.
Sometimes the team needs to come from the outside. On occasion it can be incredibly valuable to get an objective perspective on a manufacturing issue. This is particularly true if the company is experiencing teamwork that is too competitive, as listed above. Getting a fresh perspective, perhaps with an allied business, can make your plant far more productive.
Why not see how Komax can team up with your business to address your current needs?