WRITING TO WIN: Coordination in Successful Teamwork
By Royce Murcherson
In the last blog, I talked about collaboration as part of an overall team structure that helps colleagues come together to craft solutions and improve processes. Communication is also a key component in collaboration, for without communication there can be no real collaboration. And without coordination, the fruits of communication and collaboration are lost.
The Three ‘C’ Model: COMMUNICATION * COLLABORATION * COORDINATION
What is coordination? It is the glue that holds the model together. Coordination within teams is simply ensuring the job gets done. If you find yourself in the role of ‘team leader’, you must ask yourself two questions. What is my role and what will it take to get the job done?
- The team leader or team coordinator serves as a primary liaison between team members.
- The team coordinator is responsible for making sure team members are keenly aware of their specific roles and function within the group.
- Team coordinators are also tasked with the authority to make critical decisions when the team cannot arrive at a consensus.
Think of a team coordinator as a coach in a team sport. The team is made up of individuals each with particular skills or talents. The team coordinator must channel all of these talents into an effective force that will bring a project to completion.
The Team Coordinator Must:
- Have a long term vision of the work to be done
- Know each team member
- Define team roles
- Ensure the team has a common goal
- Make sure all team members know their assignments
- Leverage resources and specific skills of the team
- Create a workable plan
- Have the correct tools available for the team to complete their tasks
- Encourage effective communication among the team
- Conduct periodic checkpoints to determine progress against deliverables.
A lack of coordination within a project team can decrease productivity, complicate processes and delay the completion of projects. Below are some common signs:
- Duplication of Work A usual sign of a lack of coordination within a project team is redundancy. Redundancy is caused by a lack of communication. With redundancy, an organization will spend double the efforts, materials and time to produce the same item twice. Redundancy typically results from the poor coordination of a project team.
- Lost Information Teams must effectively share information to function at an optimal level. When this information is not readily available as needed within the team, the lack of information can create a cascading effect that will damage the team. Lost information can lead to delays.
- Delays on Deliverables – Deliverables are the building blocks of an overall project. Deliverables can be reports, documents, and software upgrades, anything that contributes to the successful delivery of the project to the customer. One of the signs that team lacks coordination is called ‘delay’ and delays on deliverables can cause a project to miss a completion date.
The advantages of team coordination are realistic. Roles, responsibilities and deadlines are assigned. Informal coaching and mentoring takes place which benefits the group. It ensures a consolidation of work that can be measurable, attainable, and time constrained. It provides a single access point of communication between the team coordinator and business executives.
For an expanded discussions on effective business writing and workplace etiquette, see my book:
Royce Murcherson, Ph.D., The Guide to Persuasive Business Writing: A New Model that Gets Results. Iowa: Kendall-Hall, 2013
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