Disruption is the buzz word of business. And why wouldn’t it be, when tech-centric companies like Amazon, Uber and Netflix are transforming the way we shop, travel, play and communicate.

Perhaps your business is trying to disrupt itself? If not, then you can be sure that someone else is, and chances are they’re doing it with quite different teamwork practices than those you treat as the norm.

Is it technology that’s making the difference inside these disruptive companies? Yes, to the extent that product technology supports exponential growth. However, everyone has access to much the same technology at the same time, everywhere. It’s cheap, easy to use and mobile. Where’s the difference?

There’s a clue if you reflect on how we are genetically wired to engage and share with others, and in doing so, adapt, respond, and learn.

This is precisely what the disruptive teams in places like Slack and Dropbox are doing so brilliantly, and they’re doing it with the help (and at times hindrance) of new technologies.

5 strategies to reinvent teamwork

  1. Commit to nimble, connected teamwork

Fast disruptors understand that technology can be duplicated, but there is one thing that can’t be. In a disruptive world the secret to success remains what it was thousands of years ago: the ability of people to work together towards a shared purpose. In a word: teamwork. And it’s a nimble and flexible style that suits a world whose boundaries shatter in the face of globalisation.

  1. Scale teamwork

While technology and globalisation continue to disrupt the business landscape, they are not so much reinventing teamwork in their wake, but rather scaling it as a capability and culture. The best global companies are replacing traditional leadership development and team building with deliberate practice programs that equip leaders and teams to connect (not silo). Great teamwork scaled across the business, makes anything possible.

  1. Accelerate learning

Business is increasingly customer experience driven. This means teams must be agile, innovative and constantly learning how to optimise that experience for a customer who has abounding choice.

Shared learning is the key because working alone or in silos of expertise reduces learning, growth and creativity.

  1. Escape the gravity of hierarchy and structure

The disruptive companies are enterprises more than organisations, unencumbered by the gravity of organisational hierarchy, process and division.

Whereas the rowing crew used to be the ‘team metaphor’, a far better one is cycling’s peloton, where even competitors collaborate to achieve world class performance.

  1. Harness the power of one united team

The leaders of the most successful disruptive companies share their vision and move others to see it too. They’re marvellous story tellers. They inspire people to think as one team, to move as one team and to learn as one team.

Nimble, connected, technology equipped teams

Beware seeing technology as an end itself. Technology is the vehicle. It is who you take along for the ride and how you use the technology to share the challenges and opportunities.

Technology is reinventing teams and gives us power to communicate, collaborate and learn across great divides. Very few of us do this well. To prosper in today’s markets takes nimble, connected teamwork and we are just beginning to harness technology to this end.