In his 2015 interview with the Russell Sarder group for their YouTube channel, Michael Marquardt said that “complex problems cannot be solved by an individual.” This may sound somewhat straightforward, but it really does reflect the necessity of teamwork to successfully run a business.
Marquardt promotes the idea of companies making the transition into becoming learning organisations in his book The Learning Organisation. This term is defined by Marquardt during these discussions as follows: “an organisation that continuously improves as it operates in an environment with clients and customers and competitors and so forth”, he further explains the idea by describing the nature of these organisations as “everyone in the organisation [is] continuously learning, and they learn from the problems or the challenges that are in front of them either as individuals or a group.”
Marquardt does stress the importance of leadership, and how it is integral to assure that your colleagues are reaping the rewards of constantly learning and adapting within their workplace. This is demonstrated through engaged and motivated members of staff honing their skills in order to further master their craft, and refine their skills within their role in the organisation.
For more reading on engagement at work, you can read our blog posts: Pink and White: Engagement At Work, Backbiting and Disengagement and Learning To Be A Learning Organisation?
Whether your company is a learning organisation, an agile workplace, or both, honing teamwork amongst your departments and allowing cohesive communication cannot be understated in value; making sure that your teams gel well together, and are able to share their knowledge, experiences, and skills to provide high-quality products and services is essential. As is a leader with patience, and a readiness to help those that surround them.
Similarly, Simon Sinek explored the idea of leadership in several of his books, such as Leaders Eat Last, and can be quoted referring to leadership as “a choice. It is not a rank. I know many people at the senior-most levels of organisations who are absolutely not leaders. They are authorities and we do what they say because they have authority over us. But we would no follow them. And I know many people who are at the bottom of organisations and have absolutely no authority and they are absolutely leaders. Because they have chosen to look after the person to the left of them and they have chosen to look after the person to the right of them. That is what a leader is.”
However, being thrust into a leadership role can be daunting, and encouraging cohesion between members of your team, reducing friction etc. is not necessarily as easy as declaring “let’s work together”. With that in mind, we would like to offer some direction for avenues to encourage desired behaviours within your workplace.
1. Reward any and all desired behaviours; you do not want to be patronising, but by telling your colleagues that they are doing a good job, will give them positive reinforcement. Consistent exposure to such reinforcement ought to evoke an unconscious shift to performing the desired behaviours within the workplace. Like Pavlov and his dogs, with less slobber!
2. Encourage the social side of working; not every moment at work has to focus on the click-clack of fingers on keyboards, filling in data on spreadsheets etc. There is more to being in the office than watercooler moments, whether it is taking lunch breaks as a whole department, or going for drinks after a shift at a nearby bar. By allowing people to act more human, than part of the furniture, you encourage your team to get to know more about one another, and create stronger relationships. These relationships between colleagues, and friendships ought to further enhance internal cooperation.
3. Give your team a voice. This may seem straightforward, but allowing a team to have a say in any form of significant decision within the organisation ought to promote a feeling of communal consensus. By encouraging the team to come to an agreement about changes, and subsequently raise this, whether it be through a nominated spokesperson, or their manager, there is the potential gratification of having your idea listened to, and potentially even implemented. By encouraging group consensus when making decisions that could alter the organisation, you encourage further internal communication within the workplace.
Based in London, U.K., and founded in 2016 by Arvind Mishra The Agile Works (www.TheAgileWorks.com), is an up-and-coming recruitment and Agile consulting company. Arvind is a Certified SAFe SPC and regularly delivers both private and public SAFe certification workshops.
He is a design thinking expert, Sr. enterprise, portfolio Agile Coach with over a decade of experience working as an Agile coach in diverse industries such as banking, pharma, retail, auto, oil, gas, consulting and government.
The Agile Works; a small team of three strive to help shape the leadership's mind-set and values in readiness for their business transformation journey challenges. With Arvind at the helm, we strive to provide you with the agility tools to make your company that can thrive, and not just survive.
To book a consultation, or for any enquiries, you can contact Arvind via the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org