Cooperation in business enterprises: The team concept is usually just a label, not a working reality

What it’s all about

One of the basic business principles that leads to secure achievement of goals and above-average work results – not only in companies, but also in institutions, associations or clubs – is excellently functioning teamwork. It ensures – regardless of whether project groups, departments or business units are involved – the activation of the maximum possible synergy of all those involved in the respective work process. This state of teamwork excellence does not arise automatically, but is the result of a number of determining factors that together form the best practice standard of teamwork. However, its attention is neglected in many companies.

This leads to the fact that more than 60% of the operational cooperation structures described as „team“ do not meet the requirements associated with the term.

Lower attention to teamwork quality

The reason for this is the strong emphasis on demand orientation. Although it finds its counterpart in adapted organizational structures, the teamwork quality practiced here is hardly ever systematically examined and developed.

Even employee surveys, which are rarely conducted anyway, cannot close this gap, as they usually pursue other knowledge objectives.

As a rule, the extent to which goals are achieved is used as a criterion for the performance of teamwork. However, this parameter is only partially suitable because it does not indicate whether

  • the cooperation and its results can be optimized by activating previously unused performance potentials and whether
  • disruptions or risk factors exist that are currently not yet having an effect, but could weaken performance levels in the medium term.

Toward teamwork excellence through double benchmarking.

One method to determine collaboration quality objectively, easily and quickly is double teamwork benchmarking. Here, the hallmarks of a team’s collaboration are first compared to the best practice standard. It includes all the administrative and motivational rules, principles and behaviors that are fundamentally necessary for optimal team functionality.

By means of this comparison it is possible to

  • the quality status of the cooperation including team harmony and
  • the resulting performance for task fulfillment and goal achievement can be determined as well as
  • identify previously unused opportunities for increasing productivity, efficiency and success.

If this observation is supplemented by a second comparison with the cooperation quality of other teams in one’s own industry, one’s own field of activity or within the company, a statement becomes possible as to how one’s own, currently practiced cooperation relates to the minimum standard. This comparison then automatically results in priorities for the importance and urgency of change measures.

The Key Performance Indicator TQS

The Teamwork Quality Score (TQS) can be determined via best practice benchmarking. It is the measure of teamwork excellence and classifies teamwork according to four groups:

TQS > 80%: Teamwork Excellence

Collaboration that falls within this range is true teamwork. It is characterized by common goals, largely autonomous task completion, mutual complementation and support, as well as self-direction to solve problems and self-initiated measures developed to improve work results.

TQS > 60% to <= 80%: Collaboration as community

It is a mix of the characteristics of the group and the team, but still lacks crucial aspects in the collaboration to achieve a complete synergy of cooperation that make up the productivity and efficiency of a team.

TQS > 40% to <= 60%: Group Work

Collaboration in this value sector, is characterized by a low synergy of individual activities: people work together, but only ever within the framework that is given. Individual initiative or helping out with problems are rather rare. In addition, the cooperation is often characterized by unresolved conflicts. Although every medical assistant strives to do their job well, there is no sustained commitment to continuous improvement.

TQS 0 to <= 40% Special-purpose association

Here, work performance is characterized by „service by the book“ and „lone wolf“ behavior.

Teamwork Insights made easy

The two benchmarking comparisons described above form the operating principle of the Valetudo Check-up© „Teamwork Insights“. The collaboration analysis determines the performance potential of teams without the need for an on-site consultant. The instrument can be used immediately and at any time, regardless of industry or task. It is suitable for analyzing and optimizing team forms of all kinds (e.g. groups, departments, workforces, business units, etc.).The check-up, which has been validated in more than 10,000 team studies, is not an employee survey in the classic form, but an analysis and optimization tool geared to team performance.

Five research objectives

The currently practiced teamwork is examined with the help of a questionnaire and provides statements on five aspects:

  • The described double benchmarking comparison serves to create a realistic status and development portfolio of the team work
  • A SWOT analysis elicits the prevailing opinions in the team on the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities of their collaboration.
  • Determining and analyzing team harmony provides deep insight into the inner workings of the team.
  • The survey of employee team experience reveals barriers and forcing approaches for the development of team synergy.
  • An action plan derived from the results of the above points provides the concrete possible improvement and change approaches.

Daily use and concrete

The implementation of the validated check-up was designed with a view to achieving the highest possible acceptance and uncomplicated execution of the survey with maximum gain in knowledge:

  • the analysis is suitable for all industries and team forms,
  • the survey can be used at any time, as the required documents can be accessed online,
  • the analysis questionnaire can be filled out easily and quickly, the processing time is about 20 minutes,
  • no data or indicators are collected that would make it possible to establish a personal reference,
  • the analysis report is also anonymous, does not allow any conclusions to be drawn about individual team members, and includes a detailed team expertise with concrete recommendations for action.

The Valetudo Check-up© „Teamwork Insights“ is available in four variants.