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Cooperation and Teamwork

Synopsis

 To quote a familiar cliché . . .

"The problem with the future
is that is does not resemble the present!"

American businesses can no longer maximize productivity and worker performance through traditional methods of work organization. Many of the work processes that served us so well in the past are found failing in today’s economic environment.

In an effort to radically improve the quality of products and services and to facilitate improvement in customer service, companies and organizations have run head first into a number of ruthless enemies which undermine those efforts. They include:

  • Turf wars.
  • Disputes over functional boundaries within a company.
  • Irrational competition between departments.
  • Appraisal focused on individual and independent contribution.
  • Incentives that force dysfunctional internal competition.

Teamwork, cross-functional processes, interdepartmental cooperation and mutual support will be characteristics of successful companies in the future. While it might take time for organizational structures and systems to accommodate team designs and horizontal work processes, there are many actions managers and supervisors can take within their present systems to facilitate improved teamwork and cooperation.

Managers and supervisors must learn how to cultivate more cooperation between workers and between departments. They must learn the ramifications of a competitive workplace and invent tactics to combat competitive practices. In order to obtain an aggressive customer focus, they must improve the speed, reliability and quality performance of their work groups through people who are highly interdependent upon each other.

Most team building approaches have focused on the interpersonal skills and conflict resolution strategies of individuals within a team. While these issues are important, effective teamwork fails most often, not because of individual difficulties, but because of the conditions of the work environment that often benefit individual performance and promote win-lose confrontations.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this module participants will better understand:

  • The characteristics of effective teamwork.
  • The elements of productive team leadership.
  • The relationship between teamwork and productivity.
  • The outcomes of cooperative work environments versus competitive work environments.
  • The causes of dysfunctional competition in the workplace.

Participants will be able to:

  • Apply specific strategies that will foster teamwork and cooperation.
  • Act more effectively in ways that are in the best interest of the company, rather than individual departments or work groups.
  • Provide feedback to management about obstacles fostering dysfunctional competition within the company.

 

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