Growth: Cohesion not Expansion

This is the tenth part of a 12-part series featuring snippets from our new book, Team by Team. The only team building book ever written by the actual team. You can buy the ebook here.

Articles in this series:

  1. Selfishness: The Key to Teamwork
  2. Failing Forwards
  3. Stretch vs Support 
  4. Teeming with Teams
  5. The Honey Badger
  6. Say What You Mean
  7. Meditation over Mediation
  8. People over Positions
  9. Comments over Likes

Quality vs size/speed

In order to progress, learning is key. Being part of a nurturing team aids this. Learning from those who are older, younger, have been working for 30 years, those who are fresh out of university. A high-performing team learns from one another, no matter their experience.

Climbing the corporate ladder

The traditional corporate world is based on a hierarchical structure and it is drilled into us that we will only learn from our managers, not anyone below us. And the only way we’ll ever be promoted is when we have learnt everything our manager has. Whilst in some companies this might still be true, it doesn’t have to be the way forwards for all teams.

Because of the “dog-eat-dog” nature of the corporate world, we’re taught it is necessary to learn quicker than everyone else in order to gain that promotion that everyone wants so badly. Although this might be the goal for some, wouldn’t it be so much more beneficial if we all worked on learning from each other, gaining new skills all for the greater good of the team? By removing this need for one person to be “higher” than an other, and learning in parallel, the team grows cohesively.

Learning in parallel

The beauty of any team is that many things can be brought to the table, whether that be a new design program that has only just started to be taught at university to how to negotiate pricing with a tricky client. Surely this doesn’t imply that we all need to learn the same things, at the same time, for the team to grow? No. In fact, it means the complete opposite. It means allowing our team to take the time to improve themselves and hone in their skills in order to improve future work for the team.

“Allowing a team to take the time to improve themselves improves the team’s work.”

At Interactive Workshops, we’re a growing company with lots of fresh faces – many of which, at the time of writing this book, have been with the company less than a year. Within the team, there’s the Studio – the creative resource used by the Producers and clients to create outstanding work for all means of projects. With different roles from the rest of the team, the Studio needs to keep their creative minds buzzing and sometimes step away from the tenth PowerPoint deck of the week.

So, they book in two hours each fortnight to have a longer lunch and go and learn something new. Whether that be finally figuring out how to edit a video in the same style as that new advert on TV or testing out different layouts for future brochures. The Studio powers through the two hours and comes back to share what they’ve learnt with each other. It’s not to say that they’re now experts at that new skill, but it means they’re extending their skillset – even just slightly. Doing this then means that the Studio can then create better work for the rest of the team, allowing the team as a whole to improve their work, impressing that potential client we’ve been in talks with or outstanding delegates on a workshop.

Learning to grow doesn’t mean all learning the same things. It means each team member learning one new thing that brings something fresh to an already incredibly knowledgeable team.iw

Download Team by Team on Amazon Kindle here.