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2024; A New Beginning – Reflect, Review, Reinvent

Radical change on every front is the order of the day. Uncertainty has become the certainty of today. Most important of all is the ability to deal with rampant change, to learn new skills and to preserve your mental balance in unfamiliar situations. What has strongly emerged is the ‘4-C’s’ of transformation – critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. To thrive in the new business landscape teams will have to reinvent themselves again and again to stay ahead of their game.

Critical Thinking – Who are we as a team is a now more urgent and complicated question than ever before. When confronted with a completely unprecedented situation, what is the right thing to do? That’s where a sense of purpose & vision will guide the answer; it provides meaning, motivation and offers a framework that makes critical thinking worthwhile to expand options to deal with change. When team members feel their purpose is aligned with that of their team, their engagement and self-efficacy is stronger as well as heightened loyalty is boosted. It’s not what you do, it’s what you undo. The options of what we think and do are limited by what we fail to notice, and because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change, until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.

Communication – Gaining a deep understanding of the dynamics at play within the team is a crucial and essential requirement. Each member brings a distinct set of skills, experiences, learning and communication styles (DISC personality differences) to the table. The essence of communication is intention. Clarifying it helps to communicate in a congruent manner that builds trust. The team needs access to itself through the vehicle of information. It enhances communication, empowers people and strengthens self-organisation. If it moves freely and abundantly through the team more people will connect, across disciplines, across boundaries, across the organization at random. Today AI can provide a foundation for gathering important operational team information, identifying areas of strength and weakness within the team, correctly match personality and complimentary skills with task and providing diagnostic tools to generate doable information for leveraging the right decisions and action. Intégro Learning SA, a team specialist company, has pioneered a team AI software operating system called, ‘TeamingExcel’® that boosts three necessary cognitive skills, learning, reasoning, and self-correction.

Collaboration – Engaging members to generate viable solutions has become necessary. Collaboration with AI stimulates ‘thinking together’ effortlessly, with speed and across boundaries. Thinking together, also known as collective thinking breeds team intelligence. It is a purposeful and pragmatic activity that leads to or enables coordinated action rather than just being ‘warm and fuzzy’ or purposeless. It is the meeting of minds where each person retains his/her individuality and at the same time contributes to a robust and diverse group-level conversation. It activates latent team potential. We value intelligent individuals but seem to lack ways of understanding and working with thinking in the “team-as-a-whole”. In fact, effective collaborative thinking is the “engine room” of the modern “knowledge and learning organization”.

Creativity – Creativity is the ability to think and see a task or a problem in a new or different way, or the ability to use imagination to generate new ideas. The advantage of a team is the latent creative potential inherent in each member that can enable solving complex problems or find interesting ways to approach tasks. Some skills to stimulate creativity are; making connections, finding patterns between different ideas and make connections to find solutions. Experiencing something for the first time can also create connections that help you view tasks differently. Asking questions, by challenging the status quo. Making observations, paying close attention how people use products or services can help you see how well they function, and then devise ways to improve them. Networking, a team has the advantage of working with people from different backgrounds can expose new ideas and inspire creative thinking. Experimenting, no matter how unusual an idea might be, a willingness to test it and see if it works is an option. Failure is an opportunity to learn from and improve.

Sources: Johan Cronjé, Specialist Coach Intégro Learning SA; Yuval Noah Harari; 21 Lessons for the 21 Century, Jamie Birt; Creativity Skills Aug 2023