I declared a Communications Major two years into school, after discovering that it was a subject in which I had sincere interest. Now that I have graduated from college, I look back at the myriad of group projects and interactions that I had with the fellow students. I can remember many stressful periods of working together, but also many rewarding times of working together and accomplishing our tasks as a group. In hindsight those tasks would have been much easier to complete had we received some basic teamwork training at the beginning of our program.
From my own personal experiences, I have observed three positive aspects that result from teamwork: Cooperation, Unification and Association.
Cooperation - When groups first form, they should discuss some goals and objectives that they wish to achieve. These can include items such as the coordination of meeting times, the distribution of responsibilities, what strengths each individual member brings, and of course, the deadline. In a perfect world, this team would not have any conflict, but that is rarely the case. Teams must learn to cooperate, which involves negotiation, compromise, and being open to new ideas in order to help them achieve greater results.
Unification - After a level of cooperation is established, the team must work to be unified. A team brings together a group of different minds and viewpoints which affects the direction of the team. Coming together and being unified is not always easy, as individual members give their own judgments and preferences over the other group members. Setting aside petty differences among group members and being open minded leads to a group’s unification. Brainstorming ideas and reaching a consensus is another way to build group unification. Unyielding opposition and conflict hinders a team’s ability to move in a positive direction. In contrast, unification permits team work towards a successful finish.
Association - In my final course before graduation, I participated in an advertising campaign where our purpose was to form a winning campaign strategy for a potential client. At the beginning of the school year, my professor divided our class into teams of ten students, and announced that by the end of the semester we were going to be well acquainted with each other. I casually knew some of the students from former classes, but as I worked with them outside of class, my one-time acquaintances turned into good friends as we invested time, energy, and ideas into a first rate advertising campaign. Our relationships and associations with each other created a positive environment in which we worked together and achieved positive results.
Commitment to work together as a unified team will produce many rewarding outcomes. Instead of relying upon one individual’s contribution, a team contributes many different ideas, experiences and skills. In a successful team, not only are the results greater, but each member benefits from the knowledge and skills that the other team members can offer.
Stephanie Tuia is a Client Account Specialist with Teamwork Training, visit CMOE.