"Houston, we have a problem.” When astronaut Jim Lovell uttered those words, chances of a safe return to earth by the Apollo 13 crew were almost non-existent. Yet, less than four days later they were back, safe and sound– and an apparent disaster was transformed into triumph.

How was this life-saving miracle achieved? In a word, TEAMWORK. Extraordinary teamwork between the Apollo 13 astronauts and mission control in Houston.  And the vital force behind it?  Synergy.

Synergy is not an accident – it can be orchestrated.  Orchestrating synergy requires commitment by the members of the team to the following key components: commitment to a shared vision, a core set of values, leadership, teamwork, coaching, open communication and trust.  All must be present in order to achieve team synergy.

Teamwork works because it brings individual team members together to be a part of something greater than themselves and contribute in ways that maximize performance across a team, department, and organization.  Teamwork provides individuals with a sense of pride, freedom and power that fosters commitment to success not only in their own role, but in the accomplishments of the team becoming deeply invested in the outcomes associated with problem solving, decision- making, goal setting, action planning and other activities of the broader team.

Most managers understand the importance of teams and teamwork but many have difficulty with application.  They struggle with how to harness and direct the energy and leverage the knowledge, skills and abilities of individual team members most effectively. Rallying people can be challenging, but through intentional methods like experiential learning, for example, managers engage their employees’ mind and body in a process of learning by doing.  We support this approach because we believe it best achieves involvement, awareness, understanding, and commitment to personal action.

In closing, the most successful managers are those who have mastered the dynamics of Building a High Performance Culture, and as a result have improved the engagement, as well as increased the productivity and effectiveness of their teams.

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