The challenges of our „VUCA world“ – full of volatility, uncertainty, complexity & umbiguity – increasingly require a new kind of teamwork within and across organizations that is purpose-driven and benefits from new approaches to team building. For many highly creative teams this is no news: When working with successful startups, teams in social innovation or corporate citizenship projects, or with top research teams, I`ve often been impressed by their capacity to build relationships in order to raise impact through collaboration.
In partnership with Munich`s Social Entrepreneurship Akademie, we feature a number of inspiring examples of teaming between corporates & social enterprises in „CSR & Social Enterprise“ (book is in German).
Teaming is based on the principles of self-organization – aka teams defining their own solutions to their challenges.
There are 3 steps towards succesful teaming:
- identify the right people to collaborate with, including each others` organizational context & eco system.
- discuss each others` individual strengths, values, needs and desired impact in order to find a shared purpose.
- explore and test suitable practices & tools that help to effectively co-create & jointly work towards the shared purpose and – simply put – to get things done.
Additionally, Teaming can be fostered by strengthening 3 key elements of a (truly) collaborative skill & mindset:
- Curiosity drives people to find out what others know, need and what they bring to the table. It enables the kind of Growth Mindset needed for working and learning in teams.
- Empathy enables us to see another’s perspective & feel other people`s emotions (Daniel Goleman). It enables us to truly learn by asking genuine questions and by listening deeply when it comes to team members` diverse perspectives. When empathy is accompanied by an intrinsic motivation to act in a positive & helpful way, it becomes compassion: A compassionate perspective can elevate collaboration beyond idea comparison or polite compromise.
- Self-awareness is the kind of presence which enables observing ourselves and others with a clear mind. This includes not being excessively identified with our own believes, or being overwhelmed by our emotions when confronted with differing perspectives. This is particularly critical for Joint decision making, creative processes and collective learning.
Why are these skills particularly important for succesful Teaming?
Teaming is often introduced to navigate constantly changing conditions, which people typically perceive as stressful: Joining a new team or starting a challenging new project can feel like a high risk endeavour. When we feel under stress, self-protection becomes a natural instinct leaving us unable to understand differing view points, making us attached to „our“ ideas or following our impulses towards competition instead of cooperation. Under such stressful circumstances teams can become something like „emotional incubators“. It takes conscious work to shift typical „autopilot“ responses that often determine one`s thinking & acting when under stress.
Research shows that the required skill and mindset for Teaming can be strengthened by Mindfulness-based practices in organizations. This way, Teaming can become an integral part of organizational culture enabling sustainable impact through collaboration.