In today’s rapidly changing workforce it’s critical to develop teams to bridge the age gap and to harness all available talent and passion for every project.
There are many reasons to work in teams instead of silos, but these are the three most important:
1. One of the biggest challenges heavy industry faces is transferring the wealth of knowledge that resides in the minds of our baby boomer workforce. They’ve seen and done it all. A 60-year old equipment operator knows more about the mine site, the neighbors, the ground water, the safety concerns, and the geology than almost anybody working there.
And he understands how to operate his equipment—in rain, sleet, high heat, and sub-zero temperatures.
So how do we get all this operating knowledge and insight into the minds and hearts of the younger workforce?
Working in teams.
2. Our Gen-X and the Millennial workforce isn’t satisfied simply following orders. They want to know that the smartest solutions and the safest options are being used, and they want to be included in decision-making.
Think about it this way: these kids — excuse me, young people — grew up showing their parents how set the timer on the VCR, how to text a photo, and how to make a bitmoji. That explains a lot. They believe their input leads to better results. And it usually does.
So what keeps them engaged, interested and committed?
Being part of a team.
3. Company loyalty isn’t the same today as it was 20 years ago. If you rely on legacy training to hand down the wealth of knowledge to the next person in line for the job, that temporary fix might not last.
What happens when that employee leaves after three years or six months? Working in teams spreads the knowledge and problem solving around and helps to buffer companies from the effects of losing any one employee.
What makes your operation more resilient to changes in your workforce?
You guessed it: teams.
Roadblock: team members are afraid to voice opinions or make suggestions.
Warning Sign: when the leader asks for opinions on an idea, all you hear is crickets.
Roadblock: all team members bring similar perspectives and problem-solving skills.
Warning Sign: when a difficult problem is presented, there are no passionate differences of opinion.
Roadblock: team members feel underappreciated.
Warning Sign: after a decision is made, team members undermine the results instead of supporting it.
Creating effective teams takes more than just throwing people together, it also takes training and understanding roles and procedures.
To make the best decisions and produce the most creative problem solving, you need to establish ground rules, such as the whole team agreeing that once a decision is made, all will stand behind it.
Encourage debate. Conflict may take some getting used to, but when you embrace wrangling in an open, sharing, diverse group, you see great results. Teams that can argue can really produce.
That said, when you encourage debate, all must agree to not make or take anything personally. There is no room for targeting individuals or for hurt feelings. Instead, teams need to learn how to leverage different approaches and perspectives. Teams that do produce better results.
At Q4 we tackle everything in teams and embrace our collective diversity. Some of us are more right-brained (we have Adobe Creative Suite passcodes) and some are clearly more left brained (they have P.E. after their names!)
We think this approach is the reason we provide such great problem solving for our clients.
Let us help your organization create powerful teams that share knowledge and work more effectively together.
Contact us now to find out how!