Getting on with other teams

Getting on with other teams

No team can act in a vacuum. However good your team is, it can only be successful if it has good relationships with other teams and individuals.

One company set up a league of ‘regional teams’, all competing for the strong incentive of a holiday in Hawaii. Although success was measured by sales, each of the regional teams included contributory teams like ‘inventory’ and ‘delivery’, without which the sales teams could not operate.

Working to get on together

Getting on well with other teams is rather like helping your team members get on with each other. You need to invest time in things like listening and seeing things from other points of view – only this time it’s from the viewpoint of the other team.

Many of the building blocks of effective teamwork are also the bridges to other teams.

Woodcock (1989)

Here are some ideas for working well with other teams:

Identify the other teams that are most affected by your team and get someone to liaise directly with each of these teams
Ensure other teams have an accurate picture of:

– what your team does
– what it stands for
– how your team’s work may affect other teams
Share goals and plans:
– bring the teams together to plan overlapping work and ensure mutual objectives are understood
– aim to understand the other team’s viewpoint
Communicate and develop trust:
– exchange information on progress or newsletters when you work with another organisation
– send representatives to some of each other’s meetings
– socialise together so the teams get to know each other
– hold joint team training sessions
– hold joint meetings for issues of mutual concern to resolve any conflict.

Superteams recognise that they have a vested interest in providing all the help they can to others. They acknowledge that the relationship is reciprocal.
Hastings et al. (1986)

Good communications go a long way towards preventing the friction and conflict which can occur between teams.
Now do this
Think of the three most important things your team needs to do to improve its relationships with people outside the team.

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