Building Collaborative Teams

The strength of any organisation lies in how well the employees work together. A couple of years ago, when we used the word ‘team’, we immediately imagined a bunch of people working together at the same place, exchanging ideas, building plans and working towards achieving collective goals. While the function and role of a team remains the same, teams are no longer a bunch of like-minded individuals with similar skillsets working together.

 

As companies became global and internet bridged communication gaps, teams started to become larger and more diverse. Different time zones, countries, locations, etc. were no longer the factors that determined the selection of individuals that formed a team. The focus shifted to competencies, qualities and diversity. Teams are now formed considering these to get the right blend of individuals together to accomplish an objective. Employees from all over the world work along with each other without any hiccups or hurdles.

 

To facilitate seamless collaboration, companies and leaders need to take appropriate measures to create a conducive environment for these talented individuals.

 

Goals

First step of any team building effort is clarifying and reinforcing the goals of the team as a whole. Begin by communicating the objectives of the team and the desired outcome of this collective effort. It is crucial to do this with the whole team to avoid multiple interpretations or miscommunication.

 

Roles & Responsibilities

Each member of the team must understand their role and have complete clarity about their responsibilities at all times to ensure that the team works in sync. Clear understanding of this will help in working effectively and without conflicts.

 

A part of being a collaborative team is sharing the responsibilities. Once there is clarity about the roles and responsibilities of each individual, the focus will move from individual achievements to group achievements as the interlinkage between the two becomes obvious.

 

Democracy

A democratic approach for managing the team works better in order to foster collaboration. When each individual has a platform to voice their opinion, there is assurance that their work and point of view counts. As the whole team has a say, collective effort improves and collaboration increases. There are lesser misunderstandings and miscommunication. Employees feel empowered and work more dedicatedly towards the goals.

 

Knowledge Sharing

Introducing a knowledge sharing platform within the team helps them understand each other’s domain and appreciate their inputs. It also creates an atmosphere of mutual respect as individuals understand each other’s contribution and point of view better. Exchange of domain knowledge also positively contributes towards achieving the team objectives.

 

Recognize & Reward

Along with acknowledging and rewarding individual achievements, celebrate the collective achievements of the team. Giving tangible rewards to team efforts also drives collaboration Encourage individuals to share the success through such efforts. As collaboration isn’t a one-time effort, recognition is a necessary tool to instil it as a part of the culture.

The time and resources invested in building a collaborative team have high returns when this team tested. A team that works well together is ready for a difficult challenges and ambitious goals.

 

 

Back in 2015, Mercedes-Benz India had the aspiration to retain the No. 1 position in the luxury car segment until and beyond 2020. To achieve this, new products were being introduced, the network had to be expanded and the after-sales had to gear up for handling triple the load. All of this had to be achieved without a change in the existing team structure. Mercedes-Benz India began a journey of cultural change to fulfill this goal.

 

 

With high targets set for the year 2020 and the mission to make us stronger internally, EXPEDITION 2020 kicked off as the tool enable us to combat challenges and adapt rapidly to the ultra-dynamic market.

 

In order to connect, to communicate, to express, to evolve – in short to grow together we started off with some very quirky and witty ‘mantras for stars’ to imbibe this change across the organization. These mantras were based on our core values but communicated in a light-hearted way to make message effective. At this stage, it was necessary that the values of the organization were reinforced in a way that it brought the employees together.

 

Multiple projects were launched to achieve the collective goal. ‘Business Innovation’ encouraged employees to ideate and provided a platform for all employees to collaborate and contribute to the business. The mobile service truck (Service on Wheels), which was launched in July 2018, is a result of this exercise. ‘High Performance Culture’ with new training programs, infrastructure development, etc. focused on enhancing employee skills. Other programs such as ‘Risk & Crisis Management’ enabled the team to safeguard business and employees. While, ‘Process Optimization’ revamped multiple processes, cutting costs and boosting efficiency by unparalleled tangible means.

 

EXPEDITION 2020 has not only helped Mercedes-Benz maintain the leadership position since its launch but has also brought the entire organization together through collaborative efforts to grow faster and reach newer heights.

 

initiatives like EXPEDITION 2020 illustrate that consistent and dedicated efforts successfully create a culture of collaboration between diverse employees. Unite your teams by communicating the larger purpose and refocusing on the goal periodically. As individuals begin to feel as a part of something bigger, they will begin to value their own and each other’s contribution towards achieving it. The team will collaborate more effectively and grow faster while exceeding your expectations.

 

- Mr. Roland Folger,

Managing Director & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India.