Back in May I wrote a blog post called “Teamwork on the Fly.” It was based on a Harvard Business Review report written by Amy C. Edmondson, the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School. Amy’s PR staff contacted me to say thank you, and graciously sent me her most recent book on the teaming concept.
I was interested in the HBR article because the strategic platform our company embraces is based on a “teaming” concept. We realized, through client feedback and the corporate climate in which our clients work, that collaborating efforts of service by bringing several different disciplines to the table helps exceed customer expectations and solutions. Teaming utilizes collaborative efforts and the expertise of different individuals in order to form the best team for the particular assignment given. The process becomes collaborative and creates a learning environment.
I want to share an excerpt from Amy’s book that I believe applies to most real estate areas of service:
“The Teaming as a Foundation for Learning” pyramid model allows us to peel back yet another layer of why this teaming concept is a win-win for us as commercial real estate service providers, and most of all for our client. In this pyramid model, Teaming is the base, which includes the interpersonal actions and behaviors required to quickly collaborate, adjust, and learn. The next level of the pyramid presents a leadership framework according to Amy. The concept of organizing to learn helps leaders enable focus, and apply organizational learning. At the peak of the pyramid, execution-as-learning represents a way of operating as and organization in which continuous, systematic learning occurs simultaneously with product or service delivery.”
The middle level of the pyramid, which is organizing to learn, applies well to the approach I believe we should take as corporate real estate providers. As we call on our national and midsize to large size local clients, the pressure of staying competitive requires continuous learning. This causes us to reach across the table in order to create critical teaming behaviors, in order to service clients with a collaborative effort. It forces us to align with teams based on expertise, diversity of thought, culture, and size.
Organizing to Learn, as stated by Amy, supports the collaboration needed to solicit employee’s knowledge (our client knowledge in this case), apply it to new situations or challenges and to analyze outcomes. This allows us to move our clients ahead even past their original objectives, surpassing client expectations, in spite of uncertainty in organizational change or implementation.
“A collective learning approach within a teaming framework exhibits behaviors of asking a lot of questions, sharing information, seeking help, experimenting with unproven actions (innovation), talking about mistakes, and seeking feedback in order to get it right. Through collective learning, organizations can detect changes in the environment, learn about customers’ requirements, improve members’ collective understanding of a situation, or discover the consequences of their previous actions.”
This strategy helps corporate real estate teams dig further into the expectations of their clients and beyond. This approach fosters the time spent with clients or with the designated corporate real estate team to embrace the collaboration of sharing, asking, innovating without fear, talking about mistakes, and seeking feedback in order to stay competitive. Addressing competition is sometimes addressing our approach, our way of thinking, and our processes.
Lisa Gardner, a former executive with both PepsiCo and J.C. Penney, heads up consulting and strategy development for OMS Strategic Advisors. Contact her at email@example.com.