Our team focuses on our objectives, our processes, and our outcomes. We gather in meetings to check in on each other’s assignments in an around-the-room reporting style. Everyone hears what everyone else is doing. Sound like your team? Sounds more like a bunch of people gathered to report on projects, not a team.

So, the meeting ends and two or three gather to discuss the silliness of the meeting or the lack of status on certain projects or, even worse, the lack of skills in a team member. It happens in an instant and now this small group is more interested in gathering to complain about their teammates than they are in the actual meeting. Shortly after that work-arounds emerge and the team is a fractured group of professionals focused on their technical skills with no real concern about the damage to the team. Small breakaway groups conspire against the team.

Rewind the tape. Start by building collaboration in your meetings. Instead of reporting out around the room as your main event, list projects in active state of implementation and have relevant members report on their components. Encourage commentary and contribution by asking more questions along the way. Innovation happens with “what if…”, “how can we improve…”, and high performing teams enjoy both collaboration and innovation.

If you inherited (or find yourself in) a team that is fractured, commit to bringing conversation to the full team meeting. Step back from participating in the disgruntled dialogue and speak up in team meetings to stretch past your usual contribution. One gathering at a time this group becomes a team again.