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Culture Bites 019 - Does Teamwork Work

Published on 27 Aug 2018
Does teamwork work


When there is a problem, we throw a team at it - but does teamwork always work? In this episode of Culture Bites, Corinne Canter and Dominic Gourley talk about what kind of work suits a team (or not) and how Silos form.


Microphone Below is a brief summary of some of the key points we touched on in this episode’s discussion:


Do Teams Work? Sometimes.

In the book Senior Leadership Teams: What It Takes to Make Them Great, the authors find that out of 120 Leadership teams that they studied, only 1 in 5 senior teams are actually effective.


The Work Needs to be Suited to Teamwork

The work that is going to be done needs to be suited to a team (not all work is suitable). We tend to think teams are always the solution to every problem, but we need to think about the type of work which is going to be done.

A team works well when their work requires them to deliver something together, to problem solve together. The biggest issues with teams happen in the dynamics between people – the ability to build trust in order to have robust conversations. Sometimes the dynamics go astray because the work is not clear, roles are not clear, or we’re a group of people who have been brought together and called them a team but don’t actually need each other to do our job.


The Days of the Hero are Numbered

Teams can multiply individual diverse talents. By leveraging each member’s talents – we can produce an outcome which is better than we could have produced on our own.

Today, things change so quickly, no individual hero can be across everything. We need more collaboration, but is it the collaboration of a group of individuals or that of a team?

Are you a team of Champions or a Champion team? We all feel like we should say ‘Champion Team’ but the truth is that we need a bit of both – the trick is understanding when. When do we need to come together to problem solve and make decisions collaboratively (Champion Team)? When is the decision my decision because I’m the head of the function or expert (Team of Champions)?


Silo Thinking

Organisations being plagued by Slios is one of the most common complaints we hear. Sometimes we ask Executives which team they are on and they’ll give the usual answers: ‘sales’, ‘operations’, ‘HR’ etc – when the CEO says ‘The Leadership team’ we as. Leaders often identify more with their functional team, and that makes sense, but Leaders need to make sure that their ultimate allegiance is to the Executive team. If Leaders are more aligned with their functional area it causes problems for achieving the organisation’s outcomes because they will promote the interests of their function ahead of the needs of the organisation. Silos often start from a lack of alignment in the leadership team.

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Listen to more Episodes of the Culture Bites Podcast:

001: Kick Starting a Passive Team
002: Dealing with Delegation
003: Telling Someone They have a Blind Spot
004: What's Wrong with Being Competitive?
005: I have a Competitive Teammate – Help!
006: What is a Toxic Culture?
007: How Leaders Impact Culture
008: Is Culture / Climate / Engagement the same thing?
009:  My Manager is Resisting Culture Change
010: How the Banks got here
011: Myth Busters: If I’m not Aggressive then I must be Passive
012: How Culture Works Pt1 – Overview
013: How Culture Works Pt2 – Mission, Philosophy, Structures
014: How Culture Works Pt3 – HR Systems
015: How Culture Works Pt4 – Job Design
016: How Culture Works Pt5 – Leadership
017: Rebecca Kardos, CEO Aurora Energy
018: Is Conflict in Teams Good or Bad?

Culture Bites Podcast is Copyrighted © by Human Synergistics Australia 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Do you have a question or feedback for us? Send a message to

Do you have a question or feedback for us? Send a message to

Do you have a question or feedback for us? Send a message to