Article (August-2018)


Varied minds towards a common specific goal...

Smitha Swamy

Designation : -   Head HR

Organization : -  Festo Global Production Centre, Bangalore


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How do you define teamwork in contemporary terms?
SS Teamwork in contemporary terms - Varied personalities working towards a specific goal with contributing factors such as Positive Attitude, Determination to Succeed, Ambitious to succeed by taking calculated risks, Valuing each other keeping personal egos aside, Embracing change according to changing times and Undeterred focus without losing sight of the end result. Contemporary business has thrived with the use of teamwork in creating products, solving problems and developing alternatives and with the right Attitude of the employees and zeal to achieve the common goals would go very well in achieving and creating "Success Stories".
Team work is growing beyond personal interactions to crossing borders through help of virtual interactions with technology enabled services available these days. Employees from different cultures are coming together to work as teams complementing each other strengths.
What do you think - Is team building/team work an art or a science? Do you (in your organisation) have ever thought over the chemistry and mathematics of team work (please share with an anecdote)?
SS "Just as varied paths could lead to a single destination, varied minds could accomplish a single goal through teamwork" (Anecdote).
To me definitely it is an "art" as emotional intelligence plays a significant role in a team environment. Artificial Intelligence could be classified as scientific, but emotional intelligence is an art which can be sculpted to the extent one adapts it, just as a sculptor's passion results in a magnificent artwork.
Most of the leading organization has found that high - performing teams share similar attributes - like energy, creativity, and mutual commitment that can be observed, quantified and measured. Teams with these qualities are likely to be higher - performing than others. Finding that right person is a bit of an art, but you can get help from a scientifically - backed personality test that helps you learn about the strengths and development areas of all your team members.
As mentioned earlier, the best teams embrace diversity of all kinds - race, age, sex, education, cultural background, and more. I strongly believe that "surrounding yourself with people that do not see the world through your lens can be incredibly valuable." The most profitable teams are often the most diverse ones, so it pays quite literally to build teams with a wide variety of people and personality types.
What does it really mean to be a team player, in times when virtual teams and robots are taking over the workplace where technology neutralizes the chemistry of teamwork?
SS In times of virtual teams and robots, what it really means to be a team player - When technology neutralises the chemistry of teamwork, use the same technology to enhance effective communication within the virtual teams.  Virtual teams have become a fact of business life, so what does it take to make them work effectively?
Some of the basic principles for making the Virtual Team work is :
  • Get the team together physically early-on.
  • Clarify tasks and processes, not just goals and roles.
  • Commit to a communication charter.
  • Leverage the best communication technologies.
  • Agree on a shared language.
  • Create a "virtual water cooler."
  • Clarify and track commitments.
  • Foster shared leadership.
Do you believe that apart from popular traits of effective team and team workers, something more is required in changing fast paced business environment? What should be that "something"?
SS What is "something" that I believe, apart from popular traits of effective team and team workers in a fast paced business environment - "Positive Attitude with a passion to succeed and the ability to accept change by embracing continual improvement" will help effective teams to succeed in a fast paced business environment. We're all living and working in an increasingly fast - paced and ever changing business world. For teams today's environment can lead to challenges as well as opportunities to innovate and grow by capitalising on the rapid speed of change. To succeed and excel in today's business climate, it is imperative for the teams to consider and approach their roles differently than they have done in the past. Being open for feedback, understanding each other perspectives, adapting your strategy to stay relevant and taking a balanced approach to the fundamentals and clear communication forms the overall basic crux of effective team formation. A value system that encourages listening and responding constructively to others' views; providing helpful support to others, recognizing the interests and achievement of others, openness and transparency in communication and mutual respect and trust is a must.
What are some of the myths behind effective teams and team workers?
SS Myths behind effective teams and team workers :
1. Functionally competent individuals coming together can constitute effective teams.
2. Motivation of individuals to effectively contribute in a team can be achieved through excellent remunerations.
3. Managers and consultants are responsible for building teams.
4. Team members' skills are more important than their motivation.
5. Individuals aren't responsible for the quality of their team experience because teamwork is a group skill.
6. Teams are generally harmonious people who compromise their needs for the sake of the team.
What is the role of HR in accelerating chemistry for teamwork?
SS Role of HR in accelerating chemistry for teamwork :
1. Work with the management to define clearly the "Mission Statement", "Vision Statement" and effectively contribute to building "Strategies".
2. HR should also ensure that the vision, mission and strategies are easily comprehensible for everyone in the organisation by taking all steps towards effectively communicating to the employees.
3. Having an HR strategy that is integrated with the business strategy.
4. Work with employees as a catalyst in encouraging and motivating teams and individuals and helping them to always stay focussed on the bigger picture.
5. Building and nurturing talents in building competencies equipping the teams to contribute to their best capability.
6. Keep the processes simple and communication clear.
"Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision and the ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results."
Individual empowerment and collective teamwork - these are the two factors, which need to be reconciled for the full realization of the human potential in an organization. The guiding principle for empowerment is liberty and for teamwork it is fraternity. Thus we have here a social and political problem to be solved through practical synthesis in the modern work environment.