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Thinking Skills and Teaming Skills go Hand-in-Hand

Teaming Skills

The sheer complexity of business today means that no one person can know it all or be in command of it all. With the global marketplace, the importance and reliance on technology, and the imperative for innovation, cross-functional teams are the only way to develop viable business solutions. Learning to be a contributing member of a team is so critical that Carter Cast, former CEO of Walmart.com, deems it one of only two reasons for career derailment – the other being a lack of self-awareness.

There is a misguided assumption that teaming comes naturally. 

Oftentimes organizations provide team building events, such as experiential activities (rope climbing) or retreats (three days off-site) which are designed to enhance interpersonal relationships. But these types of events are not related to the work itself. Teaching individuals how to work together as a team is a different outcome (see Team Capabilities, below) and requires learning team skills in the context of conducting team work. Being a contributing member of a team is as much about the personal contribution of one’s role, as the functional role.

The capabilities listed below don’t come together overnight. They require multiple exposures to team assignments and projects, and to be truly successful they require an understanding of the various functions of a business and how each contributes to the overall organization.   

This is just a short list – you can find the full list in the Future Proofing book

Collaboration and Cooperation – knowing how your work fits in to the larger-whole means you make decisions based on the impact to others / the organization

Communication – expressing  ideas as well as feelings AND being open to receiving communication demonstrates the ability to “make sense” of information and people

Sharing credit – being able to share credit demonstrates an ability to see one’s role in perspective and demonstrates leadership

Promoting understanding – being open to new or conflicting ideas, asking for more information, allowing “unpopular” sentiment to be heard and valued all stretch one’s thinking abilities

Appreciating diversity – well-developed thinkers appreciate that almost everything can be seen from multiple angles and that more diverse ideas bring about better outcomes

Moderating conflict – the ability to resolve conflict without anger or resentment demonstrates a mature thought process and commitment to the greater good

Putting a group of people together does not make them “a team.”  Teaming skills are developed through the give and take of team-related work over the course of months and sometimes years.