NOTE: The following case study about stimulating teamwork is a composite of multiple individuals. Any resemblance to an actual person or organization is coincidental.
Faced with another major economic downturn, and receiving directives from above that more production was needed with fewer resources, the product management team at a large financial institution was tasked with generating and executing difficult options. Although they were not considered a cross functional team, their retail, commercial, and enterprise products frequently competed for resources. These factors contributed to numerous and nonproductive turf wars. Additionally, they were expected to meet the continually and rapidly changing needs of internal and external customers, investors, and employees.
Objectives generated from meeting with the individual team members and other stakeholders were: Clearly define their desired outcomes, gain a better understanding of the environmental factors affecting their business models, learn and implement creative problem solving, reduce team conflict and increase collaboration during decision making, and improve communication skills within the team. To address these issues, we decided to launch a series of monthly meetings. The topics covered in the sessions included, building trust, communication skills emphasizing active listening, managing conflict, learning to provide tactful yet honest feedback, effective group social skills, and applied problem solving.
Twelve months after beginning the team building program, group members reported that the level of trust and cohesiveness of the team was noticeably improved, input and implementation of ideas were more balanced coming from the group, conflict was much lower and the team interactions were more cordial and relaxed. Most importantly, the team was able to identify and creatively solve new problems as they arose.