Using an example of a robot building competition, this video follows the story of two teams with different approaches to teamwork. Using their example, we can see what helps, and what makes it difficult, for winning the competition. It teaches:
- What all successful teams have in common
- Why clear communication can be more important than skills or experience
- How to develop a sense of team strengths and weaknesses
- Why some teams have a difficult time finding success
- What teams can do to improve their weak spots
Welcome to the CC robotics competition! Today, teams are competing to design and build a robot. The team whose robot is judged to be the best in the time allowed wins and earns internships at CC Robotics. The competition requires skill and talent, but what really matters is how teams communicate and collaborate, or not.
Any successful team, whether it’s a soccer squad or lab of scientists, works together in the same ways. They define the goal and what steps are required to reach it. They communicate and develop a sense of strengths and weaknesses. This helps them identify gaps that must be filled to be competitive and reach the goal.
Having the best player or most brilliant scientist isn't enough. To win, they must work together to turn weaknesses into strengths.
Let’s consider two teams in our competition: green and purple. Team Green got started by reviewing the challenge, dividing it into steps, and discussing each other’s skills and ideas for completing the robot. All input was welcomed. These discussions showed gaps in their skills that could slow them down. They considered each gap and how they could work together to fill it.
For example, the robot was electric and electrical engineering wasn’t a strength. So, Arvind and Serena volunteered to take the lead in solving that problem together. Soon, all the gaps were identified and the team had a plan for filling them. By communicating and planning ahead, they could be sure their individual work was aimed at achieving the same goal.
During the project, they agreed that any team member could propose an idea or share a concern. This open communication helped them make necessary adjustments along the way. Before long, victory was in view because the team was operating as one.
Team Purple, despite their talent, was in disarray. Andre assumed the role of team leader and without a discussion, divided the team into two groups: hardware and software. These groups got to work without discussing their skills, strengths or weaknesses.
Each group followed their own path and assumed it would work out. They had concerns, but Andre was dismissive. Nothing was more important than speed. The team also saw that Claire was distracted and not contributing to the software side. When Team Purple finally shared their progress, it was bad news. The software didn’t match the hardware and they realized they’d have to start over.
It’s not difficult to imagine which team was better prepared to win. Experience and expertise are not advantages when team members are dismissed or some members don’t contribute. Further, when a team doesn’t communicate well, everything becomes more difficult.
On the other hand, when teams communicate clearly and work together to identify and solve problems. They can overcome challenges and be stronger than other teams.
The next time you’re on a team, remember that success comes from open communication and cooperation that’s focused on the goal.
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