Organising teamwork is a chore. Kill it with Industry Box’s Tracks

Photo by Matteo Vistocco on Unsplash

We all have memories of working with the team to get to a decision, then wait, a colleague has been left out and we have to start again. Or maybe you were once that colleague, and secretly felt enraged. Or you have spent days on detailed kick-off documents for a new project, but then no one reads them and you end up doing lots of 1-to-1 on-boarding meetings.

That’s “organising teamwork” for you. The”why do I have to go through this” chore that comes with projects big and small. You may have a well-staffed project management team, but they could only help with the administrative components such as milestone-monitoring and chasing up individual tasks. The rest are for you, the “lead and liaise” central figure, to mastermind and to suffer.

Here’s where Industry Box comes in. As the low-noise team productivity tool for day-to-day teamwork, we bring a low-noise, high-organisation work environment to your entire team of colleagues, external partners and clients. Teamwork takes place in an orderly manner, removing noises so that the equally important but often left-out self-work can now have your attention and your newly freed-up time. And with the “tracks” design, teamwork becomes self-organised along the way. You and your broad team get teamwork, self-work and organisation in one move.

A noisy work environment saps leadership energy and teamwork is organised to pull work through

You could be working remotely from your villa on a private island, with no noise apart from distant birds chirping. But your work environment is as noisy as a Rolling Stone concert, where teamwork creates stacks of incoming communications through your email, instant chat tools (e.g. Slack, MS Teams) and work phone. You are constantly distracted, your self-work time is chipped away, and you have to sacrifice weekends to catch up on self-work.

When you are spending extra time on self-work (which feeds into teamwork), you hardly have any moments left to reflect on team interactions, to understand which team members require additional support, and to direct the team to consistently create value. That’s the kind of teamwork organisation that brings out the best of the team, and meets the needs of the external partners/clients, in harmony.

The best you could do is to start from the project’s own needs. Lay out tasks, then marshal the team into compliance with project managers, or make reactive adjustments based on feedback.

This is work organisation, not “teamwork organisation” where the team comes first and then drive the work. When the team is not nurtured, the members are at best compliant players, not collaborators who actively improve teamwork.

No wonder organising teamwork is an unthankful chore. Plenty of pain, little gain.

With Industry Box’s Tracks, teamwork is organised with team members at its heart

As the “lead & liaise” central figure, Industry Box allows you to publish posts on project developments, key information and latest insights to the entire team, including distant members such as external partners/clients. These posts are like the best blog or online news articles, where the messages could be a mix of texts, graphics and videos, formatted for readability.

And unlike instant chats or emails, the messages are not interrupted by multiple responses or corrupted by personal opinions or patch-up information. They are presented as they are intended, helping team members stay connected with the projects, and ready to work together as a team.

And it gets even more powerful with Track.

When you assign team members into value-creating tracks, you give them a strong sense of belonging

Conventional teamwork organisation thinks in terms of tasks. A team member could float into or out of the project at moment’s notice, as they are assigned to arising tasks or their tasks are cleared. They are part of the project, but without an anchor to develop a sense of belonging.

When you set up a project on Industry Box, you can define tracks, each one with its own subscribers. When a post is published on a track, only the subscribers will see the post.

Tracks are powerful in preventing internal posts from being viewed by external partners/clients, but even more powerful is to divide your project into value-creating tracks (e.g. set up new supply chain, new marketing campaign launch), each with a stable set of team members working with each other over an extended part of the project’s duration.

Tracks instill team members with a clear sense of their significance to the project through these value-creating tracks, and with a clear sense of community with other team members on the same track. This becomes an anchor to build a clear sense of belonging.

This is a good starting position for organising teamwork. After all, your project is as good as your team allows it to be.

You can nurture each track towards value creation with regular, targeted posts and then set high-level requests

When you publish posts on a track, you now have a defined audience and a history of previous posts to refer to. It becomes much easier to craft targeted messages where relevant information are included, irrelevant information left out, and content structured for the track members to “get it” instantly and be ready to work.

To members involved in a number of tracks, they can also automatically put project updates and information into the perspective of each track, giving them the focus they need to create value efficiently track-by-track.

And when the project requires a track to contribute value, simply create a post on the specific request, and provide additional information not included in previous posts. The track has been nurtured to respond well to the request — members know who they are working with within the track, are equally up-to-date through the posts, and are clear in terms of what values they should deliver as a track.

The tracks are self-organised to create value. And your role is to help them become better self-organised

Members in the tracks don’t need prescriptive micro-tasks that tell them (the subject matter experts!) what to do, or have project managers herding them towards arbitrary deadlines. They can take the request, discuss within the track, and set out how they should fulfil the request at a high quality and within timeline.

Your role as the “lead & liaise” central figure is not about ensuring tasks are completed, but helping the tracks become as self-organised as possible. This mean monitoring the tracks’ level of engagement with the project, and evaluating the tracks’ efficiencies in value creation.

The engagement monitoring part is supported by Industry Box’s User Analytics capability, which quantifies individual members’ and tracks’ engagement trend with your posts. When a particular member or a track is dis-engaging, you could intervene sooner so that every value creation track is productive.

With tracks, you can oversee the track members’ dynamics and how often the track is providing collective output. When a track is not efficient, you could work with the track to improve their ways of work or address inter-member frictions. This is a much better use of your efforts and leadership skills than going after individual member, asking them to “keep up with the next task”.

The Industry Box Track design does more than organising teamwork. It elevates everyone in the project

The starting point of Industry Box’s track design is to enable team-centric way of organising teamwork. But in this process, the entire project is elevated.

Your role is first and foremost elevated from task design & monitoring to value-creating track design & efficiency. The team members are elevated from individual subject matter experts to members with a clear identity and mutual support. And the project team as a whole elevates from task-crunching to value-creating.

This elevation puts everyone in a more empowered position, gives more meaning to their work and connects everyone to the project’s outcome. Teamwork is truly organised towards collective performance and results. Even colleagues who are juggling multiple projects and the external partners/clients who are traditionally out of reach of teamwork will feel the empowerment.

Feel it for yourself. Getting started with Industry Box is easy, and free.

About Industry Box:

Industry Box is dedicated to introducing streamlined & frictionless stakeholder management, as we believe this to be a hidden productivity blackhole for most companies and managers.

Apart from raising awareness about this issue and promoting industry best practice, we have also designed a digital tool with all the best practices built in, so that managers & leaders can introduce and benefit from best-in-class stakeholder management without the learning curve.

See here for our other blog articles on raising productivity through better stakeholder management, or by becoming a more productivity-conscious stakeholder.

Founder of industrybox.io — stakeholder engagement best practice without the learning curve.

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Scott Lothian

Scott Lothian

Founder of industrybox.io — stakeholder engagement best practice without the learning curve.

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