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In the game of football, familiarity with teammates plays a huge role in team performance. That is why, new players take a while to adjust to new teams. Research has shown that the performance of pro basketball teams varies according to how long players have been together, in short, professional familiarity between team players. Could this aspect of familiarity be true for teams working in offices? Research by Harvard psychology professor Richard Hackman shows teams perform better when the members become familiar with each other.
So, what is professional familiarity and how does it work? Let’s try to understand the intricacies and nuances of team familiarity in an organization based on studies.
Team familiarity can be defined as the degree to which two members of a team identify themselves to be familiar based on the experience with work they had in the past.
Familiarity with teammates helps the team members to work on independent tasks as well as efficiently communicate and coordinate. It can also be defined as the information or knowledge that the members present in a team consist of or have an idea of the independent or unique tasks and activities in their area of work.
It is the collaboration, coordination, and communication between the members of a team. Team members who work together for a long time can actually have more professional familiarity within themselves and the tasks.
Team familiarity can help teams cope with contingencies such as coordination complexity and diversity in the members’ prior experiences.
Why do teams with better professional familiarity among their members perform better? Here’s why:
Most of these advantages of team familiarity are obvious, and yet, a number of team managers and organizations ignore this aspect and fail to build team familiarity. Now let’s look at ways in which teams can build familiarity.
Most teams go through four key stages on the way to becoming familiar.
Here are some cues and tips to build team familiarity:
Building familiarity with teammates is a process and one should not expect an instant result.
The HRs role is key. Hire talent that will stay in the organization. If members keep joining and leaving the organization, professional familiarity is hard to build.
Like any other aspect of a business, familiarity too, must be tracked and measured. How to measure familiarity? Here’s how:
Team familiarity is a powerful driver of success in both sports and office settings. A well-connected team can accomplish tasks efficiently, adapt to challenges, and foster innovation. As team members, it is essential to be aware of each other's strengths and skills, enabling a more productive and harmonious work environment. Organizations must recognize the importance of familiarity with teammates and actively work towards nurturing it through strategic hiring, goal setting, and promoting collaboration.
So, the next time you step into your workplace, take a moment to assess your professional familiarity with your team members. Embrace the concept of team familiarity, and watch as it transforms your team's performance and brings forth unparalleled success.
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