Mobilising the Messy Analogue Moving Parts - Week 4: Creating a team identity

Posted on February 25, 2020 at 15:39 PM

team

teamwork

Bringing people together and creating a team identity.

In previous weeks in our 6-week series our moving parts have included emotional intelligence, giving good feedback and coaching. The next key people skill or 'moving part' is bringing people together and creating a team identity.

With the increased availability and sophistication of new communication platforms, social media and virtual conferencing software, there is greater scope for us to work more flexible hours, patterns and in places which suit us.  There are many reasons why a dispersed or distributed workforce is becoming the norm and necessity for organisations, including the need to engage experts on a more flexible, cost-efficient basis, globalisation, fluctuations in capacity, demand and requirements, reducing the environmental impact of work-based travel and the availability of specialised resources.  Whilst good intent is there - this more flexible, remote working should enable us to improve our work life balance, increase the diversity within our teams and enhance our well-being, right? - not all the evidence points towards this universally being the case. 

Those who have read about David Rock’s SCARF model will know that Relatedness is an important factor in how effectively we work with others.  Time spent socialising, interacting, talking, connecting, understanding and building relationships with our colleagues is very, very important, and managers need to guard against losing that.  Technology and digitalisation helps us connect and function across geographies, but that’s not enough; what people need is human connection, a shared purpose, a sense of team spirit and identity, belonging, inclusion.  All of these things can be reinforced through regular conversations with our leaders, managers and colleagues – and can most definitely be a focus during check-ins. 

We can learn from the experiences of organisations with highly-distributed workforces.  The Unilever spin-off u-FlexRewards is a good example of one that has successfully overcome the challenges of bringing people together from all corners of the globe.  Coming in to the organisation to help overcome the problems being experienced in the early stages of building the global rewards platform, CEO Ken Charman had to throw away his pre-judgements about needing to tighten up things like project management, objective setting and change control and decided to loosen them instead.  In listening to his workforce, he realised that a shift from a “project machine” to a “social enterprise” was what was needed, recognising that success in projects was the product of social interactions in teams.  Hear Ken describe uFlexReward’s unification journey here. Thought-provoking stuff.

Next week's focus will look at two closely-related but different concepts - motivation and engagement and how they impact performance.

We hope you'll tune in then, but if this is not quite your thing then why not forward the link to a colleague who may like a read.

If you have any questions in the meantime do please get in touch.

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