The team at Pixar made a determined effort to develop an underlying spirit, a ‘fraternity of geeks’: the experiences across the team shaping their belief in a culture anchored in a team of peers, all contributing and sharing as many ideas as possible to use technology to change the world.
The interactions of the Europeans at the 2010 Ryder Cup went significantly beyond high fives and fist bumps. Critically, the team left the word ‘sorry’ at the gates of Celtic Manor: the team agreed that there would never be a moment where an apology for a shot would be required.
Working, training and living closely together, often in adversity, creates an almost telepathic understanding between the members of a four-man SAS unit, its small size boosting the strong cohesion within the team. They say it is alright for an SAS soldier to take a comrade’s girlfriend but never their ammo.
Red Cross team members want to be the best at what they do. Peer respect is the foundation for a genuine sense of mutual accountability. Nobody wants to be the one who drags the team down. When things go wrong, the team is prepared to ask difficult questions of itself.
When the Rolling Stones started out in 1962, what bonded them was their love of R&B. The shared musical heritage and passion for playing is the Stones’ taproot. The love of rock ’n’ roll has endured despite all the alternative temptations and distractions of sex and drugs through the decades.
Early cohesion for the Stones came from spending a lot of time together. The band lived, played and went everywhere together, piled into the back of a van. In their guise as outlaws there was the idea of the Stones united against the world, further strengthening their sense of belonging.
Over the years the Rolling Stones have developed cohesion through a method of decision-making that works for them. Often Mick can take the lead, taking input from the others, with Keith effectively having veto rights. ‘You know when Keith disagrees,’ notes Ronnie Wood. ‘He normally pulls a knife on you.’
At each step of the Northern Ireland peace process there were opportunities for the different members to either earn or destroy trust. Opportunities to earn trust often come naturally from teamwork over time, the best environment for team members to demonstrate their competence, reliability and care for each other’s interests.      
Respect for other team members was something that principal Jean Todt turned into a culture at Ferrari: ‘Sometimes people in Formula 1 are very arrogant. But even if you are very determined and have big ambitions, you must be very humble. You must try to make yourself available for others.’      
Build cohesionMain Menu
Earn trust through competence. Team members earn trust when they can show off their skills, demonstrate that they are masters of their task and prove their competence to contribute to the team’s purpose. You can turbocharge trust-building by focusing on quick wins that build teammates’ trust in each other’s capabilities.
Earn trust through reliability. Team members earn trust when they deliver on their promises. That can be as simple as turning up on time. Your own ability to remain consistent and reliable under pressure and through testing times will be the biggest determinant of how much your team trusts you.
Earn trust by showing you care and that you have your teammates’ best interests at heart. Backing them up when they need help, going the extra mile to support them and showing your appreciation for their efforts are trust-building behaviours, especially if done equally across the team rather than only with a favoured few.
Earn trust by trusting. Trust is reciprocal: trusting your teammates is a powerful way of earning their trust. Being able to be vulnerable in front of teammates, admitting mistakes or asking for help can make it much easier for others to follow your lead and create a climate of openness.
Earn trust by spending quality time together. We trust people we know well. Getting to know each other is a tried-and-tested route to team-building. Having fun together needs to be natural: you cannot force it, but you can create the conditions where you can relax and enjoy each other’s company.
Make it personal. In global business virtual, dispersed teams require the same tasks for developing as any other team. If anything, the challenge of building trust between team members is greater. Personal contact remains vital as a basis for cohesion and can be reinforced – but not replaced – by social media and digital connectivity.
Earn trust by overcoming conflict and crisis. Surviving the inevitable conflict accelerates trust in a team, but facing a crisis before trust is firmly established can cause terminal damage to your team. You should invest early in building cohesion as trust tends to be scarce when you need it most.

A powerful way of building the magnetic binding force of cohesion is by forging a clear and compelling team purpose as well as ensuring your team is well led. The shared common purpose will allow you and your team to remain consistent and reliable under pressure and through testing times. > Forge common purpose

Great leaders build trust in the team by going first and trusting the team. They focus on creating conditions where team members earn trust in each others abilities and learn to rely on each other. > Lead the team

Great talent is by its very nature highly combustible and therefore inherently unstable. The best talent, mismanaged, can push a team close to breaking point, even drive it apart. The challenge is in containing and channelling the fission, to build cohesion and keep the team of the very best together.> Pursue a quest for the best

In team environments, a toxically divisive aspect can be the perception of unfairness or of being mistreated. A perceived lack of recognition or credit as well as uneven financial rewards can pull a team apart. A perceived fairness matters more than the absolute or even relative amounts in maintaining cohesion.
> Shape the environment for success

Simple human contact and manners based on mutual respect and empathy provide a foundation for teams to engage in more meaningful dialogue, especially if they are starting from a point of conflict. Within all teams, it is difficult to achieve the necessary cohesion, teamwork or team-building without dialogue between members. > Master conflict

Team conscientiousness separates individual champions from those who can be part of a winning team. The critical difference is that they have learned a fundamental truth; that teamwork is essential to their own success, that they cannot win unless the team does. > Adapt or die

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