Teambuilding is not collaboration

Posted by Janice Scheckter on 11 May 2015 10:20 AM CAT
...and that planned, expensive team build is not going to build a collaborative ‘connected enterprise’" Designed by Freepik


While both collaboration and team-builds are important, they don’t serve the same purpose. When we think of collaboration and when we talk to the connected enterprise, we think about organisations connecting and collaborating across their entire ecosystem – this for the most part includes collaborating with partners such as vendors/suppliers, and possibly even with aspects of the society in which they exist.

This very possibly, already negates the requirement to define teamwork, but to avoid any perception of one-sidedness or lack of completion; I will define my view of teamwork. Team builds are mostly about improving cooperation between teams operating within an organisation. It may not mean that the silo structure is challenged, but rather that from within the silos, the teams are working better, smarter and in a more cooperative manner.

 Fellow blogger Jessica Lee Stoner’s defines the following:

Collaboration is working together to create something new in support of a shared vision. The key points are that it is not through individual effort, something new is created, and that the glue is the shared vision.

Coordination is sharing information and resources so that each party can accomplish their part in support of a mutual objective. It is about teamwork in implementation. Not creating something new.

Cooperation is important in networks where individuals exchange relevant information and resources in support of each other’s goals, rather than a shared goal. Something new may be achieved as a result, but it arises from the individual, not from a collective team effort.

At Indigo New Media, we include in our conversations with customers, the direct link between collaboration and innovation and when we look at the top global innovators, without fail, a strong collaborative culture exists.

Interestingly enough, for the most part when teams are challenged and cooperation seems to be failing, a team leader is required to intervene. This is not the case with collaboration, as when collaboration fails, it is often about the lack of collaborative culture and looks to the leadership of the organisation to ensure that a collaborative culture both success succeeds and thrives.

Team builds and teamwork comes with fewer risks and is possibly easier to implement as the implementation focuses on smaller groups rather than cross-functional teams. Collaboration often comes with some element of risk. It’s time consuming, due to its cross-functional nature the lines of authority and accountability are blurred and there exists both shared purpose and a competitive presence. Having said that, the rewards of the collaborative business are potentially much greater than that of the cooperative business.

Janice Scheckter works with cross-functional teams to embrance collaboration. 




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