Eight Ways to Build Collaborative Teams

Building collaborative teams is a challenging task in any environment. That is why it is important to have a framework that provides the possibility of ‘absolute independence’ if a member institution wants.  It can be a helpful tool for braking initial resistance and long-lasting success.
In the long run, development of collaborative teams is an essential task. Lynda Gratton and Tamara J. Erickson wrote “Eight Ways to Build Collaborative Teams” in the Harvard Business Review (Gratton, Erickson, 2007). They noted that:

Although teams that are large, virtual, diverse, and composed of highly educated specialists are increasingly crucial with challenging projects, those same four characteristics make it hard for teams to get anything done. To put it another way, the qualities required for success are the same qualities that undermine success. Members of complex teams are less likely—absent other influences—to share knowledge freely, to learn from one another, to shift workloads flexibly to break up unexpected bottlenecks, to help one another complete jobs and meet deadlines, and to share resources—in other words, to collaborate. They are less likely to say that they “sink or swim” together, want one another to succeed, or view their goals as compatible.

That is why the two proposed these strategies:

  1. Investing in Signature Relationship Practices
    Leaders can encourage collaborative behavior if they make visible investment in facilities that support collaboration. 
    An attractive and interactive website may be a good starting point.
  2. Modeling Collaborative Behavior
    At schools/organization, where the leaders demonstrate highly collaborative behavior themselves, teams collaborated well too.
  3. Creating a Gift Culture
    Mentoring, coaching, especially on an informal basis, and networking are a good start. For example, if a mentor and mentee are from different institutions, their mentor-mentee relationship may be a good platform for much wider collaboration between their institutions.
  4. Ensuring the Requisite Skills
    Courses and an online learning community focused on collaborative skills can build those requisites.
  5. Supporting a Strong Sense of Community
    When people feel a sense of community and common goal, they are more comfortable collaborating together.
  6. Assigning Team Leaders That are Both Task and Relationship Oriented
    For outstanding results we need both a good team and focused tasks.
  7. Building on Heritage Relationships
    Start team development with a few people (20-40%) who know one another. If all team members are strangers, it is very probable that they will not be comfortable collaborating.
  8. Understanding Role Clarity and Task Ambiguity
    Cooperation and performance will benefit if the roles and desired outcome are clearly defined, while the team has latitude on how to achieve the task

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