Businesses need team players now more than ever.
(And the sooner you and your coworkers get on the same page, the better.)
If you’re looking for a supergroup that serves as a shining example of effective teamwork, look no further than the Beatles.
Arguably the most influential band of all time with over 100 million records sold and more accolades than we can possibly list, the Beatles’ success didn’t happen by accident.
In fact, it was the band’s ability to work together as a unit that propelled them to superstardom.
And guess what? The principles that led to that sense of teamwork apply brilliantly to workplace teams today.
In this post, we’re going to look at:
- Why it’s so important to work effectively as a team
- 5 examples of teamwork
🔑 Spoiler alert: a powerful communication tool is one key to better teamwork. Grab the free checklist to help you choose the right one for your business.
But why is it so important to work effectively as a team?
That’s because no business or individual employee can afford to be an island anymore. Especially with the rapid rise of remote work and distributed teams, collaboration is crucial for teams of all shapes and sizes.
Not only that, effective teamwork also goes hand in hand with happier and more productive employees. When you’re surrounded by supportive coworkers, you’re more likely to smash your goals and get work done faster.
As the old song goes, “I get by with a little help from my friends…”
5 examples of teamwork to help your team come together
So, what do the best workplace teams have in common? Below we’ve outlined five examples of effective teamwork as highlighted by the Fab Four themselves.
1. Everyone knows (and owns) their role
Although the Beatles are often regarded as the greatest band of all time, they were only as good as the sum of their parts.
Sure, John, Paul, George, and Ringo were all masters of their respective instruments. They each also had distinctly different personalities and strengths which contributed to the group’s rise to fame.
How so? Well, the Lennon-McCartney songwriting partnership is legendary in and of itself: John Lennon’s artistic vision meshed perfectly with Paul McCartney’s ability to write pop anthems. Meanwhile, the often- quiet George Harrison’s technical guitar playing and Ringo Starr’s minimalist drumming made the band complete.
And while Ringo often got flack for his “simple” beats, the fact remains that his subdued rhythm actually contributed massively to the band’s style:
(There are F-bombs in this one, so y’know—viewer discretion is advised and all that.)
Strength-based workplaces produce the best leaders, teams, and results. That is, workers empowered to focus on the tasks they actually prefer to do are more engaged and productive at work.
Just like the individual contributions of the Beatles resulted in something brilliant, workers should understand their own roles and be allowed to work to their strengths.
Workplace teams should define not only company roles (think: manager, assistant) within their departments but also every employee’s personality type. For example, your team doesn’t have to solely consist of introverts or extroverts. Acknowledge people who are natural leaders, overachievers, and “the quiet ones” alike—each one has their strengths that’ll come in handy in different situations (and conflicts).
By mixing and acknowledging personality types and skill sets instead of trying to force people into roles where they don’t excel, you can create a more complete—and stronger—team.
2. Teammates are willing to share
The duo of Lennon and McCartney were responsible for the bulk of the Beatles’ output. They shared the role of lead vocalist and were undoubtedly considered the groups’ frontmen.
That said, they were more than willing to share songwriting duties with Harrison and Ringo, with the latter contributing to at least one song for many of the band’s albums. This willingness to share resulted in some of the group’s most beloved and quirky tunes (Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and Ringo’s “Octopus’ Garden”).
In short, each member of the band respected each other’s input and wasn’t afraid to share creative responsibilities.
Workplace teams should likewise be open and willing to share with each other. Whether it’s insight, resources, or feedback, frequent sharing signals transparency and builds trust. For example, teammates should be able to quickly ask for someone’s opinion or access to a document..
Similarly, communication tools make this sort of sharing and transparency a cinch. Quick back-and-forths and file sharing can both be done in a single platform (on either a computer or mobile device), making collaboration second-nature for busy teams. For example, RingCentral has everything you need in one desktop or mobile app:
3. Everyone gets along
The initial incarnation of the Beatles began as a group of teenage friends in Liverpool: that sense of friendship translated to their stage presence and personas.
From goofing off to grinning ear-to-ear throughout live performances, the group was clearly inseparable, especially during their early years.
The need for your teams to treat each other with warmth and respect might be obvious, but that sense of friendship isn’t guaranteed.
Pro-tip: Taking the time to plan a few in-person and/or virtual team-building activities each quarter, for example, gives you and your coworkers more opportunities to get to know each other beyond the office (and helps build trust that can make your team more productive).
4. Everyone communicates on a regular basis
Much of the tension between the Beatles that led to the band’s eventual break-up can be attributed to creative differences, but perhaps more importantly a total breakdown in communication between Lennon and McCartney.
From going “off-script” during interviews to bitterness about the release of their respective solo records, many of the duo’s biggest misunderstandings could have been potentially talked out.
The same logic can be applied to your team. In other words, everyone should communicate on a regular basis so that expectations are clear and tensions never boil over.
And when we talk about “communicating,” we don’t necessarily mean endless back-and-forth email threads. Consider the different types of meetings that are typical for today’s teams including short daily stand-ups, status update chats, and video check-ins:
Coming up with a consistent schedule of meetings is great for both monitoring progress and ensuring that everyone is on the same page. Video conferencing apps like RingCentral Video allow you to quickly schedule and join meetings—right in your team messaging app, so that it doesn’t interrupt your workflow:
You could even have team-wide conference calls with screen sharing (or keep it to a one-on-one video chat if you just want to catch up with someone):
5. Set goals (and grow) together
The Beatles went from being the biggest band in Liverpool to perhaps the most famous in the world, smashing records and impressing critics at every turn.
Going from writing innocent teenage love songs to rock and roll anthems was no small feat: that sort of ambition didn’t come from “winging it.” Instead, it came from a group of artists who understood their potential and used it to reach the widest audience possible.
Highlighted in his book The Beatles Way, author Larry Lange points out that each Beatle’s goal was “systematically set,” and the band approached those goals “one baby step at a time.”
Paul McCartney clarified the band’s goal-setting process in a 1964 interview with David Frost (timestamped below):
“We used to sort of think of things in stages… still do I think. When we first started off, playing in the Cavern, I thought first of all ‘Let’s get a record contract.’ We all did. When we got a record contract, we said ‘Let’s get a number one hit.’ …Got one of them.”
Simply put, productive teams discuss goals.
Combining the tips above, effective teamwork means committing to growing alongside your team and supporting them every step of the way.
For a business, this means understanding what your big-picture business targets are (think: traffic, revenue, support tickets completed) and meeting those goals together.
Having conversations. Sharing results. Building trust. These are the cornerstones of teams that succeed.
How to put these examples of effective teamwork into action
If you’re looking to create your own version of the Beatles at work, here’s how to do it.
To wrap things up and recap, here are some key tips to encourage your teams to collaborate more effectively:
- Emphasize the importance of teamwork during hiring and onboarding. Look at skills and experience in new hires, but also consider how well their personality might gel with your team. Once someone new is brought into the fold, make them feel welcome and have them spend time with their coworkers via shadowing and team-building activities.
- Build a culture that’s centered around collaborating. Make files, resources, and people as available as possible to encourage open communication and avoid bottlenecks. Give your team a collaboration hub that provides access to the tools and relationships they need to get their jobs done.
- Make communication as seamless as possible! Come up with a cadence of meetings that makes sense for your team. For example, you might have daily check-in chats and an end-of-the-week virtual meeting where everyone recaps what they’ve done and what’s next on the agenda. Remember, your job isn’t finished once the meeting ends. There are often follow-ups, points to clarify, and more. Make sure that there’s an easy way for your team to keep in touch after the meeting. For example, RingCentral’s app has a neat feature where you can create a group chat for all the attendees from a meeting. Here’s how it looks:
And with that, we hope these examples of effective teamwork served as some inspiration and motivation for you and your team to come together.
Originally published Mar 16, 2020, updated Jul 20, 2021