Everyone knows how important communication is for a team to work well together. After all, if people are not checking in with each other, a project can be moving in eight different directions – and none of them forward. That’s why communication is interviewed for, trained on, and facilitated with tools like phone calls, emails, SMS, and in person meetings.
But even flawless communication can’t keep people from getting sick, or prevent the unpredictable events like car accidents or family emergencies. It also can’t keep a business partner from changing their mind mid-project, or rearranging deadlines every two weeks.
A truly great team needs to do more than talk to each other – they need to be able to support each other. While dedicated roles are necessary for a great team structure, flexible teammates are required for team success.
So, how do you ensure your team will want to step up when the schedule gets shortened, or the budget is unexpectedly limited? How do you plan for the unforeseeable, when a co-worker will be knocked out with pneumonia or away handling family matters?
Choosing The Players
- When interviewing, present people with scenarios where they might have to take on roles or duties of team members, and see how they respond.
- Ask about how they have adapted at times when plans were suddenly changed, or timelines abruptly shortened.
Building The Team
- Forced interactions are not productive, but there are ways to team build without eye rolling.
- Volunteering, physical activities, field trips, professional development activities, and shared meals are all great ways to foster strong relationships within your team.
- The other benefit of coordinating these activities is instilling in your team that they are all valuable – to each other and to the company, which is a huge motivator for hard work.
Learning To Bend
- Cross train when possible – or try to give the team insight into what the different working parts are in the project.
- Use improve training to build critical skills and adaptation techniques so that unexpected obstacles never cause projects to grind to a halt.