3 keys to collaboration on our virtual consulting
Have you ever worked in a team environment? One where everyone contributed and made the team function successfully?
It can be hard to pin down what makes the team successful. After our practicum project experience, we analyzed it and we’ve narrowed it down to three key elements.
Effective communication is the key to teamwork. Team members need to communicate honestly and promptly. Also, being a good communicator means being a good listener. Each group member should keep open-minded when listening to others’ ideas. This will create a friendly and open atmosphere for group members to share their honest ideas.
Strong teamwork requires team members to learn about each other’s strengths and weaknesses. By learning from each other, the team will be good at identifying all aspects of a project and delegating tasks fairly to the most appropriate team members.
Team members should be supportive and always work towards the advancement of team goals. If one runs into difficulties, others should try their best to support him or her. By supporting each other, the whole team could not only improve their performance but also improve their professional development.
How did we put these elements into play in our practicum project?
In February, our team of five presented our work virtually at Angel Flight West’s annual retreat. We branded our project as a means to increase Angel Flight West’s reliability and more efficiently optimize AFW’s volunteer resources.
Preparing for the retreat was not as smooth as we expected. We made a major change on both presentations and prototype deliverables two days before the meeting. With time running out, our team spirit kicked in and we came together to make a compelling presentation.
Our initial presentation and prototype deliverables were focused more on the technical aspects of our models such as variables selections, model selections, and model accuracy. However, after realizing the audience of the annual retreat are not going to care as much about the technical aspects of the model as we do, we decided to focus more on the business sides of the model. For example, how our model will bring changes to the organization and how our model will impact daily operations.
Pivoting on the fly
Once our team agreed upon these major changes, we immediately hold a meeting where everyone attended. We effectively communicated with each other during the meeting. We both shared our thoughts and listened to other’s ideas.
We first outlined our presentation sections and decided together the contents to put on each slide. Then, based on each other’s strengths and weaknesses, we delegated our tasks: two people were put in charge of writing presentation scripts, two people were responsible for changing the contents of the slides, and one person was in charge of beautifying the presentation. We created hard deadlines for each task and arranged another group meeting to practice the presentation.
During our second meeting, we went through the presentation slide by slide. We commented on each slide if there are changes needed. After the PowerPoint was finalized, two presenters practiced the presentation in front of the whole group. We supported each other and gave corresponding suggestions. We ran through presentations several times before the retreat.
By the time of the annual retreat, our group was already well prepared. The presentation turned out great and the audience loved our presentation.
Teamwork even more critical during pandemic
Our team could not accomplish such success if everyone did not contribute to the team.
Just as Steve Jobs once said, “Great things in business are never done by one person.”
Teamwork has always been a significant capability for organizations. With companies going through major disruption and digital transformation, it is even more critical in today’s “innovate or die” economy for employees to collaborate effectively within projects and across different business departments.
I hope this blog could help with your teamwork strategies and improve your teamwork experience.