When the opportunity of self-employment presented itself, I instantly leapt for joy at the thought of working in my PJs from the living room couch, forgoing a commute and having my very own flexi-time. But it wasn’t for me. At least, not all the time. Why? Because I really do love working with people... the banter, the tea rounds, the singing and - importantly - working together to beat those tight deadlines.
I officially joined the lovely TA team in November last year, after freelancing here since the summer, and we’re harmonising beautifully… quite literally! I feel very blessed - group hug anyone?!
"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success."
Building and designing a catalogue is a lot like putting together a puzzle with a group: lots of pieces that all need to come together and the more hands involved, the trickier it can get to make everything fit just right. But with great communication, strategic thinking and individual skills that work well together, it’s a smooth and precise process and a lot quicker to achieve.
Communication and teamwork take effort and planning, so our weekly meetings and deadline scheduling help us all club together and delegate tasks to the right people and get the job done. So while our clients patiently wait for the first draft of their catalogue or design piece, the TA team’s productive individuals are pooling their talents and working together to achieve the goals ahead (all whilst singing 80’s hits or playing Pop Master!).
When we reflect on the amount of catalogues completed over the past year - and read the glowing testimonials - it really shows just how well we do work together.
Teamwork is about making sure every member of your working group feels valued, understands their roles and contributes effectively to the team goal. It’s also about getting a job done quicker by dividing projects into bite-sized chunks.
Teamwork can include any of the following:
In every successful team, there’s a strong leader, someone who understands the importance of collaboration in decision-making. The team leader must also be committed to reaching the team’s goals and have strong communication skills to be able to share their passion and vision for success.
Each team member must be made aware that they have an important role in the team’s success. If they feel involved, they’ll get involved, and work that much harder for the good of the team. If all relevant information is shared with each team member, and specific goals issued, each member can embrace that responsibility and really feel they are making a valid contribution.
Each goal that is achieved should be followed by a more challenging one, encouraging team members to expand their experiences, take on greater tasks and learn constantly from their successes.
There will always be aspects of a project that seem too challenging, that leave a team member stuck. These should be encouraged to be shared between the team, pooling resources with feedback and advice, brainstorming to help the necessary solutions.
Provide spaces that facilitate easy communication and discussion. Perhaps separate spaces, away from open-plan conversation work best, allowing team members to share ideas, brainstorm and discuss thoughts on specific tasks and projects.
Facilitate meetings between individuals on a regular basis, to encourage communication and teamwork on a given project, throughout its progress and before its completion. This allows for collaboration, (constructive) feedback and sharing of thoughts and ideas.
Always allow for and encourage conversation regarding the ‘hits’ and ‘misses’ of a team’s work… those things that can be improved, but also, those things that have been a success. This enables team members to find the best way to fulfil their role in the team, and to provide positive feedback and constructive criticism on the team as a whole.
There are no dumb questions. Conversation is always to be encouraged, regarding approaches and processes within a given task. Sometimes the simplistic and/or freshest thinking yields great results that would not be arrived at any other way. New ideas are to be encouraged, so that the team can then decide which work best and which should not be implemented.
Assigning mentors to team members where possible allows for coaching skills to be exercised, and for learning opportunities to be utilised. This can be implemented in house, or by an outside professional.
Good teamwork should always be acknowledged and rewarded. At the same time, it’s important to show discipline to any who trade in negative banter or bullying in the office environment. This should be stamped out immediately to demonstrate that it will not be tolerated.
"Alone we can do so little, together
we can do so much."
In any workplace, forming a strong team to work together to achieve a common vision, project or goal is a huge advantage.
So what are you waiting for?!