In inclusion, teamwork

As certain as death and taxes, every one of us works on a team, but, unlike death and taxes, teamwork doesn’t have to be unpleasant.  

In fact, effective work teams can be highly rewarding and wildly engaging when done properly.  

Ask anyone who was ever a part of a “dream team” and they’ll tell you that, when a team really jells it no longer feels like work and their results becomes legendary.

Research conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership reveals five critical roles that teams will play in organizations of the future.

  • Teams are central to success

  • Team leaders must be multi-talented

  • Collaboration is key

  • Teams are functioning below the optimal level

  • Team coaching and collaboration are areas of development

But, if working in teams is engaging, excellerates results and is critical to an organization’s future why, then, do so many teams struggle to pool their collective brains, opting instead to distance themselves and rely solely on their own skills?

The answer lies in what DifferentMatters calls the Teamwork Paradox.

“Teams with the most remarkable results are made up of people with diverse experience, skills and approaches BUT people with diverse experience, skills and approaches struggle to work together as a team."

Until you crack the Teamwork Paradox, your team will argue over who’s right and who’s wrong and, as long as they do, they aren’t focused on finding the best results.

To solve the Teamwork Paradox, leaders need their teams to:

  1. employ a full set of complementary skills,

  2. achieve a collectively agreed upon result,

  3. generate performance greater than the sum performance of its individual membership.

Anything short of this and you simply have a group of people who report to you.


Todd Attridge is an international business consultant, speaker and the founder of DifferentMatters; a company dedicated to building highly collaborative teams by turning people’s individual differences to their advantage.

When he’s not helping teams jell, Todd is a world traveller, avid cook, wine enthusiast and improviser at Second City who loves spending time with family and friends. 

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