No one gets so high and lasts so long at the top without having a team behind them. Do you know who I’m talking about? Hyperion, the tallest tree in the world. At 115.85 metres tall, this redwood on the west coast of the United States is an example of teamwork in nature. Few can say that they have reached the top without the help of their colleagues, don’t you think?
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Lessons drawn from sequoia temwork
Anyone who has visited California will have fond memories of the natural beauty of the state. In addition to its beaches, the state is home to the world’s tallest trees: the sequoias.
Redwood National Park is home to 45% of the world’s red sequoias. This magnificent species is famous for its great size and longevity. They can grow to over 100 metres tall and have a lifespan of 1800 years.
Giant sequoias are so huge because of their extraordinary longevity and they’re so long-lived because they’ve survived all the threats that could have wiped them out. Their sturdy trunk makes them withstand even the strongest winds. Their bark emits chemicals that protect them against fungi and other threats. It’s also fireproof, so fire is not its biggest threat.
However, the secret of their success in the natural world is another: teamwork. Despite being such a tall tree, sequoias have a shallow root system in proportion to their size, about 30 metres from the base of the tree. The extraordinary thing is that they manage to stabilise each other by intertwining their roots with those of neighbouring trees. A system that allows them to withstand floods and even hurricanes. They need each other to survive, grow and outgrow themselves
Roots that strengthen office teamwork
“Interdependence is a higher value than independence”, says Stephen R. Covey in ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ (Planeta, 2015). Teamwork increases efficiency and opens the door for different minds to focus on the same project.
In previous articles, we’ve already discussed the role that good teams play in employee job satisfaction. Building quality and trusting relationships with your colleagues makes everyone strive for a shared goal that will lead them all, leaving no one behind, to achieve success.
Just as in sport, when building a team, its members must be committed to more than just supporting each other. As in the example of the Sequoias’ work team, they must be prepared for the unexpected and be willing both to push each other when they must, and to take advantage of the opportunities others give them.
Choosing the right members for the right team
Building a good team takes time and effort. Just as not all the pieces of a puzzle fit together in the same way, you have to know which partner works with whom – and for which particular task. You need to combine diverse and compatible personalities.
Differences between people are a plus when it comes to team building. They make it much easier to come up with innovative and creative ideas. In addition, each of us stands out for possessing certain skills. That’s why it’s important to build groups where the experience or qualities of its members can contribute new points of view to the rest.
In this sense, the role of managers is fundamental. Not only must they be aware of the uniqueness of each individual employee, but they must also be aware of the foundations that are necessary for a team to achieve success in a functional and harmonious way when it’s entrusted with a project.
Faster and more reliable results
Two heads are better than one. That’s not just our opinion, it’s how the saying goes. Teamwork is about pooling available resources to achieve a common goal. This often leads to better results because the team not only presents the ideas, but also the members themselves evaluate, discuss and modify them until they reach a result that satisfies everyone.
“Teamwork is about pooling available resources to achieve a common goal”.
This process helps reducing the time needed to achieve success. And the less time someone spends on a project means that they can take on more projects, which essentially leads to improved efficiency. This helps a company save resources and, at the same time, become more competitive.
Inclusion and team motivation
Partners must be willing to learn from each other, to understand each other and to listen to each other. It will be essential for everyone to understand that not everyone in the group is the same. Some people will be faster, others will be more decisive, or perhaps there will be those who, by investing twice as much time, will achieve excellent results.
Rewards, incentives and gifts can boost morale and encourage healthy competition among teammates. A situation that can be an issue if it’s used to highlight that some people contribute more than others. It’s like with sequoias. Hyperion is the biggest tree in the world only because next to it there are dozens of smaller trees that intertwine their roots with its own to weave a safety net. And it’s only thanks to that web that Hyperion has been able to achieve its own success and stand out from the crowd.
One thing that should not be overlooked when talking about teamwork is the general relationship between colleagues. No one should feel like an outsider, everyone should feel like a valued member of the team. Involving, motivating and encouraging all team members makes everyone feel included and important.
“No one should feel like an outsider; everyone should feel like a valued member of the team”.
The vicious circle of good results and motivated employees
Teamwork is an essential part of the success of many companies. Supporting a more participative way of working also forms new connections between colleagues. There’s a sense of shared achievement that motivates the workforce as a whole.
No one wants their employees to feel like worker bees, but as an intricate part of their company’s success. When the people who make up a company are happy to come to work, it creates a better environment for other colleagues and customers alike. This encourages talent retention, increases the attractiveness of the company and reduces absenteeism rates. People are satisfied and it shows. This has a direct impact on business performance.
As we saw with the example of sequoias’ teamwork in nature, if all the trees in the forest are cared for, strong and working together, they will continue to grow and grow, reaching new heights every day.