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  • Writer's pictureDavid J Wudyka

Teamwork: Critical Design Theories

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

The concept of Teams emerged as an alternative organizational structure in the 1980’s, alongside the alternative pay systems known as Skill Based Pay and Gainsharing. The latter concepts have earlier histories. Skill Based Pay was first used at the turn of the 20th century. Gainsharing first appeared in the mid-20th century. Teamwork, Skill Based Pay and Gainsharing became possible only due to upper Management’s willingness to consider them. Their acquiescence was a revolution in the management of people and how they were to be paid.

There has been much written about these concepts in the last forty-three years. The technology of Teamwork resides at the top of the list. If it seems that we were implementing teamwork in the 1980’s despite not knowing much about it, you would be right.

Therefore we must first design and implement teamwork. No easy task. Here are some refinements of what we’ve learned about teams that we acquired during the last five decades. These are the critical ideas about team formation that enable and drive their success.

Here are some factors to consider:

1. Who should be on the team?

These should be people with the prerequisite skills, knowledge and experience to get the work done.

2. Which people are compatible for effective teamwork?

Where the luxury of choice exists, people who are qualified (see above) should be evaluated for their ability to work together. Sometimes this is known because the people are well known. Other times require the use of tools to assess compatibility.

3. Who needs team leadership training?

Many times team members are rotated through the team leadership role. But they may not possess leadership skills, facilitation skills or leadership knowledge beforehand. Therefore they must be trained.

4. How do teams handle conflict?

It is said that if we are alone in a room, we would find a way to create self-conflict! Teams encounter conflict more often due to their frequent interaction. They must be trained in conflict handling.

5. How will the teams be compensated?

This is about the results that teams achieve and how equitable rewards can be tied to the results. The common wisdom is that, since team members are led to believe that they are “equal” to one another, they need to be compensated in a way that appears to treat them equally. The most common means for doing so is to pay team members an equal percentage of their base pay rates.

For more information contact me at David J. Wudyka, MBA, Managing Principal, Westminster Associates

In the following article about Teams, Cara Hernandez identifies the importance of improving collaboration in team-based organizations. I hope you enjoy it!

Collaborate and Elevate: Tips for Improving Collaboration

in Your Company

by Cara Hernandez, Founder, Standout Ventures (

Collaboration is a key factor that drives the success of any company. It helps to promote teamwork, creativity, and innovation, which are essential for growth and development. Therefore, business owners and leaders must strive to improve collaboration among their team members. In this article shared by Westminster Associates, we will discuss tips on how to improve collaboration in your company.

Foster Cross-Team Collaboration

Cross-team collaboration is an excellent strategy to promote collaboration in your company. By encouraging teams to work together on projects, share ideas, and collaborate on solutions, you provide opportunities for team members to learn from each other's strengths and weaknesses. This fosters the development of new skills and expertise, leading to improved performance and innovation.

Promote Feedback

Feedback is a crucial aspect of collaboration. It helps team members to understand each other better and improve their performance. Encourage team members to provide feedback to each other regularly. This can be in the form of constructive criticism, suggestions, or praise. Also, make sure to provide feedback to your team members so that they can improve their performance and feel valued.

Refrain from Micromanaging

Micromanagement can harm collaboration within an organization in several ways. It promotes a culture of suspicion, hampers creativity, and dampens team spirit. To foster a more productive and collaborative work environment, it is crucial to trust team members with decision-making, encourage risk-taking and provide support as needed. This approach can lead to a more positive and collaborative culture, where team members are empowered to reach their full potential.

Switch to Walking Meetings

Walking meetings are becoming popular among companies worldwide because of their numerous benefits. They not only improve productivity but also enhance creativity and boost collaboration among team members. Walking meetings also encourage physical activity, reduce stress, and promote healthy lifestyles. And if your office is in an area that’s received a high walk score, there may be parks nearby you can walk to. So, if you want to improve collaboration in your company, consider transitioning to walking meetings.

Recognize Team Efforts

Recognizing and rewarding collaboration efforts is a powerful tool to foster teamwork and unity among team members. It acknowledges the value of each individual's contribution towards the collective goal. Celebrating both big achievements and small wins encourages team members to keep up the collaborative spirit and inspires them to work closely together toward achieving even greater results.

Training and Resources

Effective collaboration among team members is essential for achieving the goals of any organization. One good way to ensure that your team members are working together efficiently is by providing them with the necessary training and resources. This can help them to gain new knowledge, skills, and expertise that are relevant to their roles and responsibilities. By offering workshops, seminars, and online courses on communication, problem-solving, and teamwork, you can equip your team members with the skills they need to work together more effectively and efficiently.

Hold Regular 1:1 Meetings

One-on-one meetings can foster healthy relationships, facilitate goal-setting and feedback, and provide a platform for discussing issues or concerns. To encourage better collaboration and communication, managers should make one-on-one meetings with their team members a regular occurrence. This not only motivates the workforce but also leads to better productivity and engagement.

Collaboration is critical to the success of any company. By following these tips, business owners and leaders can improve collaboration among their team members, resulting in better teamwork, creativity, and innovation. Remember to create opportunities for cross-team collaboration, transition to walking meetings, hold regular one-on-one meetings, etc. By doing so, you will take your company's collaboration efforts to the next level and elevate your organization.

The ECM Institute is your best source for continuing education. Let us know if you have any questions!

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