Understanding the importance of teamwork in modern organizations


Without teamwork, there is no chance of any success in every organization. In a country with limited resources like India, it becomes even more vital. Some dimensions of teamwork and its importance are sought to be explained in this article.

Introduction

Teamwork is the ability to bring about cohesiveness among a group of people and motivate them to voluntarily contribute towards all organizational goals. Teamwork is very essential in all organizations. A common misconception is that it is very important only in IT companies. This is totally wrong. It is relevant in schools and colleges. It is relevant even in social clubs like the Lions Club or the Rotaract club. It is the most important factor for success, just about anywhere.

In this article, we shall discuss the importance of teamwork with specific reference to a) Teamwork is where 2+2 is 5 and not 4 b) Teamwork promotes harmony and better work-life balance c) Teamwork creates conditions for individual brilliance too d) Teamwork highlights organizational competencies and e) Teamwork is very democratic.

We need to first understand what a Team is. Let us take the typical example of the Indian Cricket Team. There are batsmen. There are bowlers. Specialist fast bowlers and spinners among them. And then there is the Captain, who is also sometimes the Wicket-keeper, like M.S. Dhoni. Their experience makes a big difference in the kinds of competencies they bring to the table. Yet, every single player works for the country, and the single goal is a victory for India. As a Team.

What naturally follows is that a team is a group of individuals who systematically work towards a sharply defined, and very closely monitored goal. We shall now discuss the specifics in some detail.

Teamwork is where 2+2 is 5 and not 4

Teamwork has the immense potential of unleashing the latent talents of the team members. There are hundreds of instances where such teamwork is very obvious. In the 1983 World Cup final, teamwork worked like magic. The abundant energy was seen all around. The video coverage was shown on television any number of times. The dream shot of the then swashbuckling opener called K. Srikkanth is often shown on television. The four runs that he scored off a particular cover drive is even today, an inspiration for batsmen from India.

The Team always achieves tremendous success at any cost. Who on earth would have imagined that the wonderful T18, with the most modern features, would be manufactured at ICF, Chennai? Though this train is capable of 160 km per hour speed, reportedly further technological advancements are being worked out to make such trains run at more than 200 km per hour. Teamwork is something magical. The net results are always dramatic. This is the reason why Indian Railways is now giving emphasis on a good number of " Make in India" projects. Yes, 2+2 is 5 and not 4. The extra energy that gets radiated makes this possible.

Teamwork promotes harmony and better work-life balance

This is a very important aspect of teamwork. This can be seen in so many good families, where they live together as a joint family or live in the same city. The extremely nice vibrations make it very obvious. Caring and sharing are simply out of the world. When someone in the family is down with a serious sickness and that requires both money and physical leg work to run around, every member of the family chips in. This is a perfect example of teamwork. The only goal is the speedy recovery of the sick person.

Such a missionary zeal is often seen in good private sector schools. This author was really stumped to see this spirit in full display. One of the senior teachers of Mathematics lost her father. The teacher received huge support during the 15 days she was not able to be physically present in the school. Her peer teacher, who handled the 10th standard B section immediately took on the burden and completed all portions. Similarly, the other senior teacher who taught in the plus two levels also chipped in and took on the mantle of preparing the students of the 10th standard for their public examination. This was so good to see. It later transpired that the Mathematics teacher had helped in a very big way on an earlier occasion by taking extra classes for the period when the other teacher was on leave. She had the habit of helping other teachers regularly and was likes by one and all. This helped the team Members to bond with each other.

Similar situations were seen in a superb Heavy Chemical factory near Tuticorin. This unit had a township where the core engineers stayed with their families. In the event of an urgent requirement of production to be increased, the engineers would pour in and take on responsibilities. The technical advice would flow from all directions. The factory would witness action even at 1 PM. Most of the engineers would voluntarily chip in with additional work even on their own initiative. No wonder, the owner promoters were very happy with the high quality of teamwork. It is very essential that the team members would very often not sit on any ego issue and work selflessly. This works superbly in the IT sector, where the sleepless nights are always common to all IT professionals of a particular team. This gets repeated again and again. From documented sources, such a sharp focus on employees and their contribution as a way of life in teams is common in WIPRO, Infosys Technologies, HCL, and TCS. It is very much the practice at Bajaj Auto, where the R&D team is always empowered to come out with rival products good enough or better than those of Hero motor corp, the market leader. Of late, one hears that the R&D efforts at TVS Motors are also very good.

BHEL is another organization where teamwork has always promoted harmony. It was the first organization in India to promote the highly successful Quality Circles. These are voluntary teams of workmen who work beyond office hours to solve the official problems. Huge benefits in terms of record production and even other welcome things like a spirit of learning and sharing of such information had been recorded. Quality circles are now so famous across hundreds of Indian organizations. A better work-life balance is now sought to be introduced in many IT organizations. It works. For example, the huge number of organizations where the work from home is available for hundreds of IT employees, including women, is a really good example of the happy and productive by-product of good teamwork at the offices. In the manufacturing organizations, the leave facilities and the permission to leave the offices and factories rather early in the event of some urgent personal work, are pointers to good teamwork. Dr. Reddy s Laboratories has gone one step further. It has implemented the concept of what is called Self Manages Work Teams. These teams are autonomous units of workmen who decide everything about day-to-day operations, including shift operations. Such exemplary teamwork implementation always leads to better harmony at work.

Teamwork creates conditions for individual brilliance too

Lest someone think that the individual brilliance is sort of dissolved in teams, this author has a different take, based on his vast experience. For example, in an auto component organization, it was decided that SAP would be introduced. When it came to HR, every single employee of the various HR departments throughout the organization was free to air their views and ideas on what will work and what will not. For example, when this author suggested that the HR department should ensure a webpage to each individual employee where all details of his leave, PF and Gratuity particulars and the like would be available through a protected user I'd and password, it was immediately noted down and implemented. On a later date, when this author happened to meet the Senior officials in a meeting, he was delighted when his idea was praised as a good idea. The intranet facilities are now very extensive. SAP runs throughout the organization and the feeding of data is done so religiously. Hence, teamwork also has good safeguards for individual brilliance and creative ideas to Work and flourish. In fact, since the team members do not have big egos, the scope for good feedback and working with the worst of teething problems is done on a very serious basis.

Teamwork highlights organizational competencies

Teamwork, which is a way of life in every TVS group organization, has led to several core competencies. These competencies have really made this group world-famous. Every single organization of this group is either a Deming Award winner or a winner of some Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) award from the Japanese. It should be noted that such awards cannot work without teamwork.

The Japanese, as a country, exemplifies the value of teamwork. Any organization that seeks to collaborate with the likes of Toyota are always on the record, singing paeans of praise about teamwork that gets formed in a big way. As a rule, teamwork can only work when there are absolute transparency and good understanding between several sets of people. This is the touchstone of teamwork. The Japanese way of life makes these qualities in-built in whatever they do. Quality of world-class standards is always something that gets done so religiously in such companies.

The competencies related to strategy are even more complex. For example, Indigo Airlines is still making profits where every other single competitor is in red. Their on-time performance, combined with very good in-flight facilities and quick customer service in the airports are the key differentiators. None of this gets done without teamwork. At Sun TV, the master of electronic entertainment, teams debate the relative popularity or otherwise of a particular TV serial. If the feedback from the ground is not good, the serial is gone. Sometimes, such serials are pushed to the 10.30Pm slot, where the viewership is always not so much, anyway. The same philosophy guides the competencies in other South Indian languages. It is always seen that such dynamic organization has particular chemistry that works, as far as teamwork is concerned.

Teamwork is very democratic

This is another plus. Democracy has one big side-effect with very positive overtones: transparency. Since this is always assured, a spirit of democratic functioning is often seen in any team. The most important aspects of such democracy are the importance that is given to each individual member and the manner in which his or her views or ideas are taken into consideration for more effective functioning at any point in time.

Conclusion

Given current realities, it is becoming very obvious that modern organizations need teamwork more than ever before. This is reflected in the growing number of such teams, turning out very good performances in many organizations. This trend will continue. It has to continue and will hopefully even deliver better results in the years to come.


Comments

Author: Umesh14 Mar 2019 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 4

A nice article emphasising the importance and need for teamwork in the organisations.

It is an undisputed fact that teamwork is the way to progress and prosper. Still some organisations are not able to achieve this mantra in their working.

The reason is very simple and that is the inherent jealousy and competition in the minds of the people that they want to show their individual worth in the organisations to depict an image of indispensability. In that pursuit, they will not abide by a team and will rather try to disintegrate it to show their importance.

In such a scenario the higher management has an immense responsibility of tracking and controlling such ambitious people in the overall interest of the organisation. Any lapse by higher management in this regard will be costly and detrimental to the growth.

The top leadership should be knowing these things directly or through their management information system so that the corrective actions can be taken in time.

Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao19 Mar 2019 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 5

A good article from the author. He has given a very good insight into the importance of teamwork. A team always performs better than an individual person. But the team leader's role in the success of teamwork is very important. The leader should lead the team from the front and he should be unbiased. In such conditions, only teamwork will be successful.
The suggestions from all the participants in the team should be discussed properly and it is better to decide on the best decision unanimously. In some organisation, some individuals try to enforce their decisions by influencing the other members using their position in the hierarchy. In such conditions, the teamwork will be only for namesake and will not yield good results.
In many cases and many times, teamwork proved to be a good option. But too many cooks spoil this dish. So the team constitution is also very important and we should form a team in such a way that there will not be any controversy or overdoing of some subjects.



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