Why is effective communication essential for team success? Communication builds empathy and understanding and gets people on the same page. Effective communication breeds synchronization, an alignment of purpose and effort. Highly effective teams, regardless of context, thrive because team members are synchronized with one another.
Synchronization in a Kayak
Some say that putting a married couple in a tandem kayak is risking their marriage. My wife and I have tested this theory on several occasions. It’s been a great exercise in communication.
There are 3 actions I found tremendously helpful in our tandem kayaking adventures:
1. Stating a clear and specific goal (that we both understood) such as where we were going.
2. Awareness of each other’s efforts. If we both paddled on the left side, we’d turn in circles.
3. Allowing for open and nonjudgmental feedback.
When these 3 actions took place before we began paddling, we got to our destination. When they didn’t, we were ineffective, zig zagging across the water. Or, we made small and unnecessarily tiring progress, countering each other’s effort.
What Synchronized Teams Have That Others Don’t
The same actions apply to building successful teams. When teams apply the three actions above to become more synchronized, 3 specific benefits drive them toward success.
1. Efficiency: When team members understand the clear and specific goal of the team, they are on the same page. When they are on the same page, they waste less time, energy and effort. Each action smoothly moves the entire team closer to its stated goal.
2. Effectiveness: When team members are aware of other’s efforts, they reduce redundancy and maximize forward progress. Effectiveness is all about getting results. When teams are synchronized they become highly effective at achieving their given objectives.
3. Momentum: When team members are synchronized, they exhibit Newton’s First Law of Motion. Put simply, it says that objects in motion remain in motion. Open feedback allows for minor course corrections along the way. When that feedback is welcomed and helpful, it moves the team forward, building upon previous successes.
Whether in business, sports, family or just paddling a tandem kayak, synchronization drives results. Effective communication and being aware of what others are doing are essential components to get in sync. When you establish clear goals, work together and build momentum through quality feedback, you greatly increase your chances of reaching your destination. Synchronized teams go further faster than their competition. Not convinced? Maybe it’s time to grab a paddle.
Question: What else does synchronization do for your team? Share your thoughts below the post. I’d love to hear from you.