Being strong and independent is definitely a quality that’s highly welcomed when it comes to employees. However, an individual, no matter how good they are, can never produce as much of quality work as a strong team can. This is one of the reasons why companies prefer splitting their employees into teams while making sure that everyone fits the team perfectly.

Still, this doesn’t mean that making a strong compatible team is easy nor that it’s always possible.

Figuring out how a group of employees can make an effective team is not the final step here, then it is up to employees to figure out how to work with each other. This includes finding common ground considering everything, from small talk and everyday non-work activities to using your brains together and coming up with great quality solutions. One of the ways companies can assist this process is through the so-called design thinking, which represents an approach stimulating different aspects of a person’s behavior, vital for working in teams.

Shared vocabulary

It is quite common for members of one team to have a completely different background knowledge and experience. Whether they’ve worked in teams where different methodologies have been used or if they’ve simply been taught differently, it’s possible that they won’t be able to easily understand each other. Not seeing clearly what one of your coworkers has to say can be quite a slowdown for the team.

The idea behind working in teams is simple. One team can only be as effective as their communication is. One of the things that design thinking focuses on is an approach where every member of the team has to be involved in workshops. This way, team members are naturally finding common ground and creating new traditions together. These workshops are helping employees in developing a shared vocabulary.

Thanks to employing design thinking, a team is able to go through all steps of a certain activity, understanding every aspect of it the same way as an entire team. Employees are, during the creation of a shared vocabulary, motivated in order to express their experience and their thoughts. Eventually, a common ground will be built and the team will run smoothly.

Tangible artifacts

Just as it’s important for designers to understand the business reality and on the other hand, it’s equally important for company managers to understand the potential of design in the process of creating added value, explain the people behind an innovative master degree in design management. That’s why when speaking about design thinking, one key principle always pops up - “show, don’t tell”. Facilitating visualization of complex ideas is one of the team benefits that the creation of artifacts brings, as visual representation helps coworkers have an easier time understanding each other.

Providing a physical dictionary for your team’s shared vocabulary is yet another benefit that tangible artifacts can bring to a team. Not only that having a physical representation of a team’s shared vocabulary makes a great starting point, but it also helps with any further misunderstandings. It simply covers everything an employee needs, packed and served in one place.

The main benefit of working in workshop-based environment and having artifacts to refer to in situations when it’s needed lays in the fact that teams become more successful this way. Everything the team is using was actually made by that same team and that makes everyone more proud and helps them be aware of their strength.

Team culture based on trust

In most companies, there’s a simple rule regarding decision-making situations. Whoever is most important, most paid or simply has the most aggressive personality, often represents the one whose idea will be considered. However, the design thinking process allows all employees to write down their ideas so that every idea has the same chance in front of everyone.

This approach allows people who have a slightly weaker personality, as well as people who are simply not placed too high in the hierarchy to actually express their ideas. Every idea is processed in silence, meaning that one’s opinion cannot be affected by another one’s. Written-down ideas get stickers based on whether others liked them or not, in order for good ideas to stay around for additional processing. This methodology creates a heat map showing ideas with most votes, so the opinion of the majority is what decides which idea is the best one.

Even though working in teams seems like a natural and usual approach that every company should stick to, that doesn’t mean that creating teams that can work together in unison is simple. This is where design thinking imposes itself as a powerful ally.

Author's Bio: 

Jennifer Hahn Masterson is a senior business strategist, holding an MA degree in business communication. She is always doing her best to help her clients find their place in the ever so competitive business arena. You can check her out on LinkedIn and Twitter.