Building a reliable workplace team requires you to guide loyalty and productivity through a careful process. To help team members learn to work together effectively and fruitfully, I propose a three-point Teamwork Triangle:
1. Mutual trust and respect. Everyone must trust the other team members to do their jobs, respectfully considering their opinions, ideas, skills, and talents. When a software designer points out something won’t work because the team lacks the right hardware, don’t brush off their concerns. Buy what you need or modify your plans.
2. Results. If you can’t achieve your goals, nothing else matters. Who cares how great your code-monkey is if he never delivers his work on time to the writer who produces your technical manuals? Sure, spring into action, staying flexible enough to change as necessary—but only after setting hard-and-fast deadlines for everyone.
3. Communication. Communicate freely in all directions, making sure everyone understands their tasks and shared objectives. This requires consistent clarity, honesty, trust, and presence of mind. Forget to forward a technical specs document to someone, and you may find they’ve written code for the wrong product.
Constantly work to maintain all three sides of the Teamwork Triangle. If any side fails, it all breaks down. It’s a delicate balancing act—but well worth the effort, given the potential ROI.