cohesive team

Cohesive Team in Challenging Times

Would you like to experience more cohesive teams among your colleagues?  Have you noticed that this is more difficult during this pandemic where so many people are working remotely?  Does it feel more challenging to build cohesive teams over zoom and Microsoft teams?


Let’s first look at what we mean by a cohesive team. 

My perspective is that it requires a variety of things but some of the most critical components include first a shared vision that everyone buys into.  Another key component is everyone’s commitment to everyone else’s individual success, not just the team success.  When you have these present, you can be assured you have created a cohesive team whether or not they are all co-located or calling in from around the globe.


The former CEO of Xerox, Anne M. Mulcahy, said “Employees are a company’s greatest asset – they’re your competitive advantage.  You want to attract and retain the best; provide them with encouragement, stimulus and make them feel they are an integral part of the company’s mission.”


What drives a cohesive team?  This kind of transformation is driven by a commitment by every member of the team to create a work environment where everyone steps up, speaks up and brings their best self to work consistently.

Why are cohesive teams so important? They are important at every level; for individuals, the team and the entire organization.

It is a basic human need that all humans share.  It is the need to feel validated, to be appreciated and to feel part of something greater than themselves.

This need is so great it is right above food, shelter and safety. It’s that vital to our existence as humans.

A key part of The Halpin method is to start every meeting with one or more quick acknowledgments to celebrate the successes.  This helps the team members being acknowledged get their needs met to feel valued and appreciated.  For the team, it is important because over time everyone will start to pick up on patterns and trends.  For example, people will start to see that Bob is best suited for these kinds of projects because he has been acknowledged three times for his success in this area recently.  

Betty Sue continues to get acknowledged for the role she plays in one critical process within our department.  Let’s see if we can give Betty Sue more responsibility around that role and remove some of the other tasks and expectations that don’t allow Betty Sue to bring her best, genius level, self.  This is how you start to create a cohesive team.

This also allows everyone to start building on what is working.  It’s human nature to lose sleep and productivity worried about what is not working.  These acknowledgements allow us to build on what is working so we minimize the risk of people staying buried in the frustrations and disappointments

For teams we get to start aligning people’s roles with their skills so work doesn’t feel like work anymore.  We start to build more mutual respect and trust so we have cohesive teams at every level.  

For an organization built on cohesive teams, the benefits are immeasurable.  People won’t be wasting time on gossip, rumors, negativity and frustrations. Instead people will have an environment where they feel safe to share their concerns and express their thoughts and ideas .  Everyone will feel safe to share because they know that their colleagues will listen and seek to understand by vetting their ideas and concerns.  Even if their concern or idea is not validated by others, being heard and being supported by vetting their ideas will help build cohesive teams.  

These acknowledgements can take as few as 3-5 minutes at the beginning of a small group or one-on-one meeting.  If you launch a bigger meeting, you might allocate 15-20 minutes on the Agenda for participants to share freely and openly.  It’s great to role-model this simple practical tool so that others will replicate you and bring this key component of cohesive teams into their meetings and on-on-ones.

If you want to build more cohesive teams in your organization, the tools are simple, practical and easy to implement.  More importantly this can be accomplished without a lot of time or effort.  

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