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3 Tips to Finding a Balance Between Independence and Teamwork

July 04, 2013 by Bruce Jones, Programming Director, Disney Institute

Image Source: Flickr User Tom.Bricker

July Fourth, Independence Day, celebrates the creativity and innovation that turned a vision into a reality. The Founding Fathers discovered new strategies through teamwork and individual insights, showcasing how important a balance between independence and collaboration is in the workplace. However, finding the cross-section between these crucial elements is not always as easy as American pie.

1. Prepare: Although George Washington, James Madison and Ben Franklin did not have the same role in the American Revolution, they used their individual merits to work towards a shared vision. In order to enhance individuals’ talents in the office, preparation is essential. Before group meetings, send thought-provoking questions to participating members. Allowing ample time for employees to sit with an idea not only increases productivity in a meeting, but also fosters individual creativity before groupthink.   

2. Brainstorm: Brainstorming resides at the intersection of independent thought and collaboration, if all members are prepared. To avoid a dominant member controlling the session, circle back to the initial question and ask each member to offer original insights. Without the collaboration of diverse perspectives, the Founding Fathers would not have created a successful strategy to gain independence.

3. Check-In: After the team determines an innovative approach, ensure that each employee understands his or her specific role in an upcoming project. Unclear tasks can lead to confusion and stifle creativity. Check-ins should occur throughout a project, not just in the beginning, to keep members on track and open to suggestions.

Happy Fourth of July, a day that celebrates independence through excellent teamwork! How do you balance independent responsibilities and teamwork in the office?



Posted in Creativity & Innovation | Tagged Collaborative Culture, Team Building, Communication Skills, Cross-Functional Collaboration, Independence, Founding Fathers | 2 Comments


2 Responses to 3 Tips to Finding a Balance Between Independence and Teamwork

  • jeff says:

    on July 04, 2013

    Do what you do as if your life depended on it. Our forefathers did that. Literally. It's contagious and can't be contained. And inspires people to give more than they thought they could. That's the goal of the leader - to make impossible possible.


  • Mike says:

    on July 05, 2013

    3 elements of leadership that get forgotten so easily as we dash from meeting to meeting. Thanks for the great reminder DI! I've printed off and put in my planner.


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