Good teams are made up of people with diverse skill sets and backgrounds who approach and view the world very differently. The other side of that coin is that when people come together with completely different paradigms of how to view the world, it can be hard to get everyone in sync on how and what needs to be done. That makes teamwork challenging. But where you can bridge that gap, you get something that is more than the sum of its parts.
When everyone is aligned and shares a common view of the outcome they're trying to achieve, teamwork gets easy. People naturally do their part and bring their unique strengths to that. When teams don't have that alignment, things like working at cross-purposes, working on different problems, and even focusing on individual status within the group (ego) over the goals of the group emerge.
I learned this lesson very early on as a rower in college. It became very clear that having eight people moving together at 90% of their individual capacity made a boat go way faster than everyone doing their own thing at 110%.
Rowing is the ultimate teamwork case study because you literally can't do anything on your own; you can't pick up the boat, can't steer the boat, can't row the boat, it's all about being in sync.
All kinds of factors can cause teams to lose sight of that in the workplace: disagreement about the goal, changing circumstances that make some previous goals irrelevant, changing composition of the team - these can all create complexities for keeping a team working smoothly.
The solution is continuous refocusing on the common goal and guided principles is critical for teams to maintain sync.
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