Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Teamwork, Trust and Community

I have spent the entire day conducting a Team Effectiveness workshop.

These workshops are for some high performing teams that work with very important clients.

The foundational issue on all of these teams is trust - getting them to trust each other and their individual expertise so that they can function as a team to provide the best possible service to their clients.

A good deal of time during the workshop is spent getting them to open up to each other and take some baby steps of trust. After a few hours they begin to see their teammates with different eyes and relationships start to build – that hopefully they will continue to build on.

It is always eye opening workshop with huge payoffs for teams that take it seriously.

A couple of years back my friend James Walters introduced me to a book about trust and social capital by Robert Putnam. In his book, Bowling Alone, Putnam uses bowling as an example.

Although the number of people who bowl has increased in the last 20 years, the number of people that bowl in leagues has decreased. Since people bowl alone they do not participate in the kind of social interactions and civic discussions that might occur in a league environment. That lack of social interaction with co-workers has reduced the amount of trust in the workplace.

It is an interesting theory.

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