The Visible (and Invisible!) Advantages of Working in Teams
In the early years of Global Learning Partners (GLP), our consultants often worked solo on projects with our clients. It seemed like the more efficient thing to do and may have saved our clients a few dollars. However, we’ve learned a lot since then about the many advantages of fielding two or more team members on a single project! Our commitment to collaborative creative work is deeply valued by our consultants and clients alike.
Below are a few of the many advantages we have discovered to working in teams in hopes that you might be inspired.
- The final deliverables are stronger. When two people work together on a deliverable (like a meeting design or learning event), they create something that is better than either one of them could have created alone. This synergy is especially strong when the team members’ experiences are complementary and well-balanced.
- Everyone learns more. Because each member of the team brings different expertise, experience, interests and skills, we are always learning with and from each other – as consultants and clients. This means that not only do clients help to inspire and stimulate good work, but our colleagues do too.
- We are held to a higher standard. The checks-and-balances are more numerous when we work in teams. When working solo there may be a temptation to cut corners or be satisfied with less than perfect. While working as a team, we always hold each other to a high standard and push to offer our clients the best we have.
- We more easily stick to the desired timeline. As we all know, life has a way of surprising us. Whether illness, life events, or the unexpected, we cannot plan for all of life’s surprises. Regardless of what life throws our way, GLP ensures that there are always consultants working hard on the project. This is a comfort to the client as well as GLP.
- The work is more fun. It is common for teams to have weekly meetings and we all look forward to them. Keeping the work top-of-mind is helpful as well.
Below are some of the ways we ensure strong teams and collaborative creations:
- Intentionally select the members. Each consultant has unique skills, expertise and interests. We carefully select the team to match the work and client and locate complementary team members in our Certified Network and external consultants, so the team includes needed and diverse skill sets.
- Start with a planning meeting. Starting well is the key to successful work. The team reviews the contract, shares needs and expectations, names concerns and wonderings, plans how it will work, and drafts a timeline.
- Clarify the lead. It is helpful to know who is managing the team and what the expectations are of this person.
- Set up project and time management tools. Taking time to set up tools, systems, shared spaces, and project management plans will help ensure success. The goal is effective and efficient systems.
- Check in regularly with the client. Regular meetings will keep the work top of mind for us and the client. Questions can be asked before too much time passes, and work is advanced.
- Debrief at the end. This is an intentional and important part of closing a contract. At GLP we conduct this as a team internally as well as with the client. Time is made for both, and notes are recorded for GLP management to review. As well, key learning is shared internally so all benefit.
I love working with my colleagues on client work. I always learn from them, we have become close friends, and I know that client work benefits from it. Each contract offers new experiences and lessons; each client benefits in unique and important ways. Whether visible or invisible, the advantages of collaborative creations are invaluable.
What work are you involved in that may benefit from more teamwork?
Jeanette Romkema is GLP Senior Partner, Knowledge Broker, as well as Partnerships & Network Leader. Here are more GLP blogs by Jeanette.
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