Cemetery Sunrise

How to Kill a Team in One Easy Step

Step #1: Cut off communications.

That's it. Teams are all about communication--to increase team effectiveness, companies need to start at the beginning.

The issue

Team management has been creeping its way up i4cp's list of critical human capital issues for several years now. Although it may not be among the top 10 issues for 2014, its connection to higher productivity is a driving factor behind the increased focus on team building and management.

Basically, most organizations have relatively low effectiveness at managing their teams' ability to maintain productivity, agility, and innovation. Although there are more virtual, diverse, and geographically dispersed teams doing more complex and mission critical work than ever before, the proper structures are not being put in place to ensure their success. Building and Managing Teams: Importance vs. Effectiveness

What resources make teams more effective?

In most cases it comes back to one simple thing: robust channels for formal and informal communication. Particularly, the most effective channels are the ones that support knowledge sharing and allow the entire organization to have a clear view of--and access to--the people resources and skills it needs.

Cross organizational / group effectiveness

High-performance organizations are 3.6x more likely to indicate that their internal processes are designed for employees to work effectively together as a team. They do this by making it easy for employees to find and connect with others within the business to share ideas, collaborate on projects, or get answers to questions.

Two i4cp member companies are vibrant examples. First, Qualcomm ImpaQt, a global employee innovation program, enables Qualcomm employees to share their ideas about organizational and product innovations not only with one another, but with Qualcomm's leadership worldwide.

IBM uses a similar approach to internal crowdsourcing via collaborative and social networking technology to "micro-jam"--or brainstorm among employees to solve client challenges. For example, after spending a day with a client, an IBM employee may post questions to an online forum of the IBM Connections Community. Employees worldwide can begin brainstorming, and the following morning the IBM team has multiple draft solutions to present to the client.

These examples--excerpts from i4cp's The People Profit Chain™: A Model for Increasing Market Performance by up to 3x--highlight how i4cp members are leveraging teamwork and innovation to drive high performance.

Strong formal and informal communication channels can improve strategy alignment, keep leaders more in touch with the pulse of their organizations, engage employees, and improve the customer experience. Without them, organizations loose the interconnectedness that makes teamwork possible, crippling their effectiveness, and limiting them to misaligned and uncoordinated individual efforts.

As Sun Tzu put forth in his seminal manual on strategy:

In night battles use torches and drums; in day battles use flags and pennants. Drums, gongs, flags, and pennants are used to unite men's eyes and ears. - Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Is your organization building team effectiveness with innovative internal communication programs? Share your story and the impact it has had on your team.

Eric Davis
Eric received his master’s degree in journalism and mass communication from Marshall University in 1996. He has had 20+ years of workforce experience in a variety of fields. Before coming to i4cp, he worked as a laboratory technician for DuPont, a conference planner for Marshall University, the public relations manager for the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Technical Manufacturing, and a graphic designer for COX Communications.