Articles on: Action Planning

Action Planning Best Practices - Teamwork


It’s all about relationships, and the culture you foster in your organization will promote effective relationships. Effective peer relationships lead to highly engaged and productive employees. Think of these area when implementing your action plan:

Help people to personally connect. Make sure that peer groups have opportunities for up-close and personal interaction. They need to rub shoulders. To really get to know each other and not just in business meetings. Plan events that bring peers together to socialize in addition to conducting business. Create, support and facilitate professional groups, local chapters of national organization, volunteer groups, hobby groups, after-work sports teams. Put special focus on the activities of peer groups that are critically important to the organization. Use the training function to build peer relationships by strategically populating training events.

Design workspaces to optimize interaction. Look for ways to work within the limitations of your facilities to optimize productive work relationships. Research shows that there is a definite correlation between the physical distance separating people and the frequency of their communication. Peers who are co-located will communicate more frequently. Strike a balance between providing necessary privacy and opening up the workplace to encourage collaboration and face-to-face communications.

Remove organizational barriers to transfers. Strategically assign people to jobs to cross-pollinate the organization and provide key exposure. Reward leaders who develop their people and free them up to move to other parts of the business. Variety in job assignments also provides opportunities to build peer relationships that enhance people skills, extend personal influence and develop organizational savvy.
Build relationships through short-term assignment. There’s a practical limit to the number of job transfers that an organization can digest. Cross-functional project teams, task forces and other special assignments provide an alternate way to build peer relationships. Team members get a greater understanding and appreciation of different parts of the organization. They learn how their individual and departmental performance affects others in the organization.

Recognize and reward team efforts and collaboration. Most recognition and reward systems are designed to reinforce the performance of the individual. Most significant business results, though, are achieved through the collaborative efforts of many individuals and groups. Those collaborative efforts should receive ample recognition. Find success stories of teamwork and collaboration and communicate them consistently. Promote people into leadership who demonstrate the willingness and capacity for team building. Consider how to reward teams in addition to rewarding individuals.

Support communities of practice. Provide resources for groups with common interests to share knowledge, develop best practices and advance their expertise. Provide behind-the-firewall technologies – social networking, blogs, social filtering, tagging and social bookmarking – whatever will best facilitate collaboration and learning.

Support peer-to-peer coaching networks. Research supports positive outcomes from peer mentoring relationships, including buffers from stress, higher job satisfaction and lower turnover. Peers can form more effective bonds when they are actively helping each other perform, learn, grow and advance. This is a different type of mentoring relationship than the traditional under-the-wing partnership between a higher-ranking, more tenured employee and an up-and-comer. The arrangement is less formal and the dialogue between participants may be freer and more open. Be a matchmaker, help peers connect.

Build peer collaboration into hiring processes. Involve peers in interviewing and hiring decisions to promote cooperation and deepen understanding of the needs of other work units. Peers can provide a valuable perspective and can contribute to sizing up a candidate’s cultural fit with the organization.

Encourage peers to frequently share work-related information. Sometimes all it takes to get peers collaborating is to let them know what others are up to. On cross-functional projects, periodically invite key stakeholders to informational meetings. Just by being included, peers from other groups will be better connected to what’s going on and broaden their perspectives and understanding of how things come together in the bigger picture. It’s important to ensure that business unit and department goals are not only aligned with top-level business objectives, but that they complement the goals of other workgroups.

Updated on: 11/18/2022

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