The Triple C’s of Teamwork

“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” In this episode, I share my simple list of elements of a high-performing team: Communicate, Coordinate, and Collaborate. When used effectively, these elements can save time and energy on otherwise wasted efforts and concentrate the team on what matters most: success achieved together.

*Note: the audio sounds off this week because I didn’t choose the right input when I recorded. But since I’m “One Take Jake” when I create my content, it is what it is, hahaha!

A simple internet search for elements of high-performing teams will reveal numerous lists that can sometimes be overwhelming. Instead of having a long and distinguished list of elements that may be difficult to recall, I propose three simple elements that can be easily remembered through alliteration and are known as the “Triple C’s of Teamwork”: Communicate, Coordinate, and Collaborate

Communicate – The first and foundational element of teamwork. Communication occurs across numerous mediums, and the best teams know how to pick “channels” for different types: group, private, informal, formal, business, humor, fast, and slow. That is not an inclusive list, but uh get the point: as humans, we communicate through multiple paths, so we need to be deliberate and purposeful in how we use them. There must be a generally understood and defined framework so all teammates know how to efficiently and effectively talk to each other, both written and verbal. Optimal teams use all forms and communicate early and often. There is no worry about hurting one’s feelings as everyone is focused on the team goals and respect is earned through effort. There are no hidden agendas or diffusion of purpose, only unity of effort. Good ideas will thrive, and rough ideas will be sharpened or discarded. If you can master communication, you can be a valuable asset to a high-performing team.

Coordinate – The next element of teamwork ensures that every effort is timed correctly to support one another toward the team goal. Think about a basketball team that runs a pre-set offensive play: as players move around the court, they can anticipate where a player will be moving toward and can send an anticipatory pass in a direction where that player hasn’t arrived yet. There is trust between players that the pass will be sent and a player will receive the ball. That level of coordination should be both silent and non-silent. If a plan needs to be adjusted, the right teammates need to know how to adjust so that the team goal is still achievable. Having deliberate synchronization huddles during the week will assist in coordination. If those huddles are supported by a knowledge management tool that can store and share that critical information, coordination becomes even more dynamic because not everyone needs to be at the huddle to get the update; they just need to know where to look to catch up. Coordination should not be time-consuming, but instead should be only the amount of synchronization a high-performing team needs to retain the unity of effort toward the team goal.

Collaborate – The final element of teamwork is based on the idea that no one on a team is competing with each other. If all teammate’s contributions are considered and valued, yet not necessarily included in the final plan for action, the intent behind collaboration works well. Diversity of thought and experience can be a force multiplier. When good ideas are combined, they can become great. Collaboration is the act of putting communication and coordination together with continued respect for one another. It is the equivalent of multiple instruments joining together in an orchestra and playing their parts in a composition that leads to a beautiful song. Sometimes collaboration can reveal blind spots in a team plan that a singular person may have not thought of. This implies that a team plan isn’t just blindly followed by everyone, but rather that each teammate is watching out for one another and making adjustments towards success. Collaboration is the dynamic nature of a high-performing team to play up strengths, cover down on weaknesses, and stick together through it all to achieve success.