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Real teamwork as the recipe for success

12.11.2018 Ina Rothfuß 0
Real teamwork as the recipe for success

"Together, we can do this!” – How often have you heard or read statements like these by Federal Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maizière over the last few months? In light of the refugee crisis, those statements suggest that the crisis could only be overcome if Germany – if Europe – joined forces and found solutions together.

If people stopped fighting on their own to work on things together, they’d become capable of accomplishments a single person could have never dream of – and this doesn’t apply to mammoth tasks like integrating refugees into our society only. Companies with employees capable of genuine collaboration will always remain one step ahead of their competitors. For if there is one entrepreneurial recipe for success, it is real teamwork. This is what today’s issue is about.

How do I turn an average team into a top team?

This question is regularly asked by everyone who develops and monitors teams. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer.

I’m sure you know from your own experience that close cooperation can be a source of conflict: bad moods are known to thwart team performances. This is not surprising. Unlike our private lives, we cannot choose our professional environments.
Often, we are forced to work with personalities completely different from our own, which is the reason problems arise: conscientious Mr. Schneider is unable to understand why impulsive Mrs. Fischer rushes through decision-making processes – even the important ones. Mrs. Mayer, herself being rather shy, thinks that confident Mr. Müller is nothing but arrogant.


The key to shared success: mutual understanding and effective communication

To allow Mrs. Fischer, Mrs. Mayer, Mr. Schneider and Mr. Müller to work together successfully despite their different character traits, they must overcome communication difficulties and learn to understand each other. This is the key to team success.

Encourage mutual understanding. Point out the fact that different people tick in different ways – in fact, preferably how they tick – to your team. Make sure to convey to your training participants the importance of the whole team recognizing and acknowledging each other’s strengths, needs and shortcomings. This is the only way a team can pool individual strengths become strong as one.


Support communication within the team. Make team members aware of how essential it is to address problems within the group. Most notably, they should not wait until the “last straw” – and mind their tone as well. Only appropriate, sympathetic and, ideally, individual communication can help the team release tension successfully. This clears the way for great achievements.


Time for concrete action: this simple exercise strengthens solidarity and communication skills in teams

Group exercise: Blind Series of Numbers (10-20 Minutes)
This exercise doesn’t depend on group size. However, you might have to allocate more time for bigger groups.


  1. No talking
  2. Group members are blindfolded

This is how it works:

  • each participant receives a number (whispered in their ear) - you can increase the degree difficulty by not choosing consecutive numbers like 1-12 but random numbers.
  • place your participants all over the room. Make sure they don't form a line.
  • the goal of the game is for the participants to form a numerical line according to their individual numbers - without talking to or seeing each other.
  • the exercise can start as soon as each participant has received their number and found their position.


Reflect on the exercise:

Talk about the performance post-exercise and don't hesitate to communicate your objective impressions to the group. Ask questions like the following:

  • What did you find most difficult?
  • Did everyone pull together as a team? Why/why not?
  • Was being unable to express yourself verbally difficult?
  • What was important in order to complete this exercise successfully?

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