Tackling the Biggest Issue for Teams: The Inability to Collaborate

  • 17
  • Jul
collaboration workshops

If you did a quick google search for the top reasons why teams fail, you will find that an inability to collaborate is up there on the list. If it doesn’t have a specific mention in one of the many articles and posts you will find on the subject, then aspects of collaboration like ineffective communication will feature on the list of reasons why teams are unsuccessful.

“We have a silo mentality”, “we don’t collaborate in the team very well” or “we are ineffective at collaborating with other teams in our company/outside our company” are some of the most common issues our clients tell us when we ask them why they are looking for a team coach. You might already be nodding your own head as this resonates with you about your team, and if you are, you are definitely not alone.

An inability to collaborate holds many teams back. A study by showed that 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration for workplace failures, and another one from Stanford University found that ‘Participants in the research who were primed to act collaboratively stuck at their task 64% longer than their solitary peers, whilst also reporting higher engagement levels, lower fatigue levels and a higher success rate. What’s more, this impact persisted for several weeks.’ Read more HERE

Given that an inability to collaborate is such a common and concerning problem for so many teams, we are going to post a series of articles in the coming weeks focused on the issue. We’ll address different aspects of collaboration and discuss strategies you can use to overcome the problem and promote better-connected teamwork within your team. We’ll cover topics like building trust, breaking down silos, the importance of purpose and how to work well together if you are part of a virtual team.

Here’s an excerpt from our upcoming article on the topic of trust:

Trust & Collaboration
Trust is vital to working collaboratively. As humans, we are hard-wired to protect ourselves and those around us from harm. For millions of years, our existence was ruled by threat and danger, and our brains have evolved over that time to respond instantly to a perceived threat. What we didn’t know or what we couldn’t see was potentially harmful – the rustling in the bushes could be a sabre tooth tiger, and it was best to assume the stranger we meet on the path was an enemy rather than naively believing he is a friend.

This hard-wiring is still within us and is a powerful and often subconscious driver. When working in a team with others, it manifests itself in our attitude to how likely we are to do something with or for others in our team or in other teams we are expected to connect with.

Collaboration requires us to do things in service of the team and for other people in the team. People are unlikely to make the choice to do this if they, therefore, don’t trust others on the team. We are, after all, animals, with very strong emotional responses that come from deep within our animal brain – the amygdala – that is 40 times stronger and quicker than our conscious, human brain. If we don’t trust people, then this deep-seated, subconscious instinct not to collaborate with them will kick in. Building a higher level of trust is therefore vital to creating a more collaborative team”.

(Make sure you check out our next article where we will be discussing ‘6 Ways You Can Build Trust in Your Team’).

Over the next three months, we’ll be blogging and posting about collaboration, so keep your eye on our blog for more. Feel free to share the articles we post with your team or others that you know that are struggling to collaborate effectively. And if you want to talk to us about how we can work with your team to develop a more collaborative way of working, please feel free to email us on or CLICK HERE