The Value of Conversation
"These people are just making it so difficult" said my friend. We met for coffee last week just to catch up and as she was telling me about some challenges she was facing at work. "Everyone wants a voice, everyone wants to be involved, everyone wants to be "in the know" so we have meeting after meeting and nothing seems to get done".
"Ah, one of the fundamental challenges of teamwork" I replied. "What do you mean?" she asked. "The problem with teamwork is that it's W.O.R.K." I responded and we both smiled.
The truth of the matter is that effective teams don’t happen overnight. In the beginning they are collections of individuals, each with their own expertise and opinions and aspirations. With focused attention on communication, that collection of individuals can become a high functioning team.
What type of communication? Interestingly the real key in building effective teams is having conversations. And there’s scientific proof!
Alex "Sandy" Pentland, the director of MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory wrote a great article in April, 2012, featured in the Harvard Business Review, about the new science of building great teams. The data his team has collected shows that great teams:
Talk and listen in equal measure, equally among members.
Engage in frequent informal communication.
Explore for ideas and information outside the group.
(check out his article: The Hard Science of Teamwork)
So what does this mean for my friend? Frequent meetings at the beginning of a project help get the conversations going. The W.O.R.K. in team work for her organization is to guide the content and purpose of meetings in order to establish a rhythm of conversation.
How can you improve conversation in your work routine?
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About Lynda-Ross Vega
Lynda-Ross Vega is a partner at Vega Behavioral Consulting, Ltd. She specializes in helping corporate leaders, entrepreneurs, and individuals with interpersonal communications, team dynamics, personal development, and navigating change. Lynda-Ross is co-creator of Perceptual Style Theory, a revolutionary behavioral psychology theory and assessment system that teaches people how to unleash their natural strengths and build the life and career they dream of. For free information on how to succeed in business and in life doing more of what you do best, visit https://www.YourTalentAdvantage.com.
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