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Five Key Qualities Of Effective Multiteaming The world's greatest companies -both large and small- are increasingly being built by teams working on multiple projects simultaneously and delivering the best results possible.

By Johan Hanekom

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The world's greatest companies -both large and small- are increasingly being built by teams working on multiple projects simultaneously and delivering the best results possible.

Organisations are being scrutinised to optimise the use of capital and labour to achieve revenue targets. More from less is the maxim of our century.

Historically, employees could work in silos and focus solely on executing tasks relevant to their specific role in the organisation – epitomising Adam Smith's view on growth being rooted in the increasing division of labour.

Fast forward to today's workplace and we see an increasing prevalence of cross functional teams. Individuals have multiple projects with multiple deadlines. Lines are often blurred in terms of what constitutes tasks that relate directly to the employee's "day-job' and that which ultimately benefits the organisation as a whole.

The Phenomenon Known As Multiteaming

The phenomenon of multiteaming is defined as an individual's membership in multiple work teams. Here, the individual benefits from the opportunity to gain access to the knowledge of others through their own skills as well as the connection to the team. In essence a bi-directional flow of skills and experience.

Despite the idyllic nature of multiteaming, there are many challenges- mostly seen through the inability of proper team management or resource management in order to achieve project deadlines.

Below are key qualities of effective multiteaming- and how to adopt them into your team environment.

1. Sequencing

First and foremost on the list is sequencing- something that should be done strategically and something that is a focal point of multiteaming. Basically, sequencing is all about picking one task and focusing on it intensely (rather than juggling through many tasks).

Here, it is the concentration and dedication that should get your undivided attention. The goal is to decide on a distinct set of outcomes that you must achieve, focus on your actions to get there and stick to them.

2. Planning

Being focused on something requires planning up front. For example, when you are focused on a high-priority task, you need to escape from all distractions. This can be challenging especially if you work in meeting heavy organisation.

The goal here is to set your expectations, stick to your planning and communicate the progress along the way. Only this way, your team can see momentum and know how to handle similar tasks in the future.

3. Optimising

Multiteaming is not only a group of people working in a team. Moreover, it is a unique combination of experts from different areas grouped in order to contribute to each other's success.

Now, this process requires a great deal of optimising- so that no one's expertise is as superfluous. Under time pressure, this kind of optimizing could be crucial to the success of your actions. Think of this as a force multiplier– dovetailing key strengths found in each team member for the benefit of the whole.

4. Resourcefulness

Designing a great team requires a lot of resources. Even the smallest incremental changes can end up delivering significant results. Resourcefulness prevents overlapping and potential loss of productive time.

It could happen that your team don't necessarily have all the resources in place to achieve a desired outcome. In this instance you and your team need to adopt a mindset that spurs resourcefulness. Use what you have to its maximum potential and determine whether you've allowed resource myopia to set in– falsely believing that certain resources are key requirements for the desired outcome. Lack of resources can be a key driver of innovation, forcing the team to be creative with its resource allocation.

5. Trust

You will be depended upon to fulfil your commitments to the team– and likewise your team will fulfil their commitments to you. Self-interest can and will erode this trust if it jeopardizes the well-being of the team. No one wants to work in such a team or have a team member with this type of mindset. Trust is essential in multiteaming because it creates psychological safety which is a key requirement for effective teams.

Final Word

Teamwork is a cornerstone of many facets of society, and as such, organizations continue to increase the use of teams as a vehicle through which organizational goals are accomplished.

Apply the above concepts to help you and your team stand out as examples of effective and efficient multiteaming.

Related: Seven Of The Best Project Management Tools For Your Business

Johan Hanekom is a globally recognized expert on strategy, innovation, and growth with an emphasis on corporate entrepreneurship. A believer in social entrepreneurship, his paper while at Oxford focused on developing a nation of social entrepreneurs in Africa. Johan can be reached on Twitter @johanhanekom.



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