An interesting HBR article was posted by Carlos Valdes-Dapena, a former Director of Organizational and Group Effectiveness at Mars, Inc. about how he was involved in a project to help drive greater team performance in the company. The title of the post, Stop Wasting Money on Team Building, discussed how team building events many organizations partake in have little long-lasting impact on teamwork and performance.
What was engaging in the post was how Carlos was really talking about establishing and strengthening two main components of organizational alignment – accountability and teamwork.
Carlos’ story discusses how he and his team worked with a division to understand where they could more effectively collaborate with one another and then set specific areas where teams could collaborate, given that Mars employees and culture leaned towards accomplishing tasks – and getting rewarded for work – individually.
Carlos’ work uncovered a high level of personal accountability, but joint accountability – the aspect of where the team works to make certain certain standards are met and tasks are accomplished – didn’t really exist.
With that there was little to no teamwork across groups because of the inherent culture. Solid teamwork is, obviously, a strong component to any high-performing, aligned organization.
Lastly, Carlos talks to how the team he worked with had to find this out for themselves and determine how they could best work together. This is such an important part of the process. The participants were bought into the challenge because they created it. They were aligned in purpose. It wasn’t placed upon them.
Do your teams hold one another accountable? Is there a strong collaboration culture? Are you using team building events to try to get leaders to bond? Focusing on alignment and connecting employees to work on tangible projects and skills to develop it can be much more effective.
In a future post, we’ll look at this from an HR/OE perspective in how Carlos and his team really looked at how they could have an impact in driving alignment and bring solid business value across the organization.