How can I improve communication between my teams?
Communication between teams can be challenging, however it is possible and can be fun doing it. A little bit of competition between teams can help with productivity. What if the competition becomes animosity or lack of communication amongst different teams in a business? At this end, the business will lack in overall productivity and success.
Communication between teams is just as important as communication within a team. Consider this:
Several employees in a production plant are responsible for producing 1500 toy trucks a day. Within the plant, there are four different teams. All of which produce a section of the truck.
One makes the body, one the engine for movement, one the tires, and one the remote control. Now if the teams have a little healthy competition then working together to meet a common goal of the 1500 trucks is challenging and fun. On the other hand, if the teams are not working together, then the result can be a catastrophe.
These trucks need each of these teams and if you leave off a few tires forget the battery chamber or leave off the antennae, or a door the truck is just not the same. Teamwork is the biggest part of communication. Communication is the biggest part of teamwork.
With teams being more spread out than ever before, communication importance grows. There is a need to set up some form of connectivity with the separate teams. You may have a team in Utah and a team in Washington, and you need those two teams to work together. Traveling is part of the result, however this is not always cost effective and can at times be impossible.
The result then is to find a way to increase communication in several locations. This can be done in a few ways, conference calls, video conferencing and online communication programs. Which ever you choose, remember to have all persons involved in these calls introduce themselves, and add a little personality to these conversations? It is hard to keep peoples attention and get their involvement in person, let alone get it over a phone or voice chat.
Another way to increase the communication in team meetings that are spread apart, are to make sure all team members have the same documentation. Send this ahead via fax or email. This way it is easier for others to follow along and participate.
Make recognition of success. If one team or team member is doing a fantastic job, then take the time to mention this. Praise in public, discipline in private. This is the time to praise while you are all together. However, if there is a disciplinary problem that is not wide spread, handle that in a more private manner.
Increase camaraderie by connecting team members from different teams to complete projects together. This way you create mini teams within the larger teams, thus having an overall larger team spirit.
Team leaders need to pay close attention to the needs of team members, particularly when the team includes people from very different cultural backgrounds. They need to adapt their leadership style to the needs of their teammates; and team members need to be mindful of the style preferences of their team leaders and react accordingly.
With a little competition, comes often times a huge challenge. Remember that even though completion is good, it can also be a problem for productivity between teams. So, have your teams enjoy a little challenge, but encourage teamwork more than challenge.