It has been a week. A week in a month in a year for which not everyone wants to give thanks. But Jess and I are inviting the spirit of cooperation to a place at our Thanksgiving table (in the hopes that it will seep into the rest of our lives, too).
Cooperation seems easy, but it can be hard even for the best of friends. When Jess and I became colleagues, we saw right away (and over time) that we came to our tasks with different personalities, different ideas, and different strategies.
But we believed—and still believe—that we’re stronger together, so we have a vested interest in learning how to bend ourselves to our common goals. Below are five strategies that make working together work.
1. Communicate: It’s easy to assume your colleagues share your views—about big stuff, like what drives you and your commitment to the work—and small stuff, like what does (and doesn't) belong on Facebook. Don’t assume. Instead, integrate twice-weekly check-ins with your team, and use an agenda to keep yourself on track.
2. Write Your Guide: Sure, it’s easy to make fun of a vision board. But you need to capture the spirit of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Work with your team on a manifesto, a position statement, or, yes, a vision board. Your guide is your...guide—it will determine the shape of your work.
3. State Your Goals: Don’t let business happen to you! Take control by taking an active role in driving growth. Committing to short- and long-term goals helps you and your team define success in specific and realizable terms. Bring those goals out at every turn to gauge your growth and remind your team how success can be achieved.
4. Keep a Team Calendar: A calendar may look like an isolating cage of to-dos, but it’s actually the easiest way to focus only on the one thing you need to complete right now. A team calendar can also help to clarify roles and responsibilities and ensure accountability. Teach yourself to rely on its wisdom.
5. Celebrate: A team that celebrates reaching small goals together will be a team that celebrates reaching bigger goals, too. In every calendar, make room to raise a glass to toast a team that works on working together.
Happy Thanksgiving, readers. We are thankful for you.
English PhD, former arts administrator, obsessive cook, native East Coaster, mom to two rabblerousers.
English PhD, former high school teacher, obsessive organizer, native Midwesterner, mom to three troublemakers.