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Thriving Teams: Expectations v Reality

According to the Harvard Business Review, “94% of businesses said agility and collaboration are central to their growth, but only 14% say their collaboration processes are working well.”

As humans, we are social beings and enjoy working with others, so even a small improvement in collaboration performance improves work outcomes and employee experience. But it’s easier said than done.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same results.” – Allan Ryan

What is the difference between thriving teams and teamwork?

Teamwork is about getting the job done; thriving is about growing yourself, your team and work outcomes. Teamwork is about best practice; thriving is about working together through connectivity, communication and innovation to stay ahead of the competition in new and different ways.

Yet, in reality, teams cannot be managed or made to thrive. To thrive, individuals need to feel confident and connected, taking responsibility and action to learn and change themselves.

Teams cannot be managed or made to thrive. To thrive, individuals need to feel confident and connected, taking responsibility and action to learn and change themselves.

Every team needs a great coach.

An International Coaching Federation report shows that 60% of team performance comes from the organisational structures, systems, methods, and rituals; 30% comes from the team kick-off, and 10% comes from team coaching.

In a 2021 context:

  1. Remote and distributed work means that now more than ever, the responsibility for everyday work performance and productivity falls to the team leader. The increase in digital collaboration means that teams are the discrete units within the ecosystem of the organisation.

    Improving digital collaboration is vital to maximising the value of the technology investment and team performance. (The 60%).

  2. Team building activities, especially team kick-offs, are crucial. If everyone in your team feels confident about their place and purpose, and they know how to connect with others both personally and digitally, collaboration will be more successful.

    Nowadays, off-sites have been replaced with on-sites. It is no longer a select few who participate; now, everyone is participating.


    By building the attributes and behaviours of great collaboration when we are together, we nurture relationships that we can maintain online. (The 30%)

  3. Team coaching is now the responsibility of the team leader and the whole team. (The last 10%). Indeed, the International Coaching Federation states that team coaching is “one of the fastest growing disciplines in the coaching profession and is becoming increasingly important in organisations”.

    For remote teams, it is more challenging than ever to ‘coach in the moment’; to pull someone aside or go down to the coffee shop for a chat. A virtual coaching meeting feels like any other online meeting, feedback session or daily stand up.


    For remote leaders, coaching a successful team is an essential skill to master, requiring planning, focus and new tools.

Where do you start?

Start by exploring the behaviours and attributes that underpin healthy collaboration.

Our “Thriving Teams” ebook includes tools, tips and actions to build confidence and connectedness. 

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