No other discipline can deliver results as powerful as can OD in the domain of teamwork.
This having been said, too many OD practitioners look at teamwork out of context and proceed to work with organic teams or “cousin groups” to develop team effectiveness before examining the context in which the team operates.
This post will focus on what an OD practitioner needs to both look at and deal with in order to create a context for team work, regardless of the specific team.
1) Does the organization have an expectation that clearer defined roles and responsibilities as well as adherence to process are essential to team work?
Because the truth is: teamwork’s added value is that it compensates for the inability of process and total role clarity to enable the work flow. Often poor team work is a result of overdosing on process and clarity to control work flow.
Creating a context for teamwork entails working on teamwork as a compensation for the system in order to get it to work.
2) Does the organization recruit team players at the top?
Because if the organization is led by people who maximise their subsystems. there “ain’t gonna be no teamwork”.
Creating a context for teamwork entails working on the optimization of subsystems at the top of the organization.
3) Does the organization fund face to face interaction?
No amount of technology can compensate for the alienation inherent in the global configuration of organizations. People who do not meet face to face will not be able to work well as a team, especially if the issues at hand are complex and need a lot of healthy heated interaction to solve.
Creating a context for teamwork entails insisting that face to face dialogue is budgeted.
4) Does the organization overcommit to its customers?
If the organization has hallucinatory commitments to its customers, the entire organization will be covering their ass to show that they are not guilty for the inevitable slips that will occur in both schedules and costs. Teamwork in over committed organizations is a critical success factor, but very rare.
Creating a context for teamwork entails removing the “blame game” and working on the over commitment, not just the team work.