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Structured Teamwork delivers true measurable breakthrough results, while protecting teams from spining out of control


Starting 20 years ago with a summary of 200 teamwork research studies from around the world, Side by Side, Inc. began a quest to find or create a step-by-step methodology that would develop teams that would achieve continuous breakthroughs.  Annually we added new studies to the database, which now includes over 1,200 studies.


Over 400 teams, including teams from Motorola, Texas Instruments, Westinghouse, Amoco, Johnson & Johnson, Raytheon, Shell, AMD, IBM, and other world-class organizations made tons of money as their teams continually surpassed their own performance records.  Five of the organizations ... including Texas Instruments, Portugal, and Texas Instruments, Singapore—won national quality awards.


Why Structured Teamwork?


Currently there is a huge need in organizations for the breakthroughs that the effective use of teams can provide.  All organization-wide strategic programs such as total quality management and work process reengineering require a foundation of teamwork to be successful.  The obstacle until now has been that there was no clear definition or methodology for how to succeed with teamwork.


Can you prove that teamwork programs directly improve work-group performance

Executives and managers ask for research to prove the business value of teamwork because they have personally experienced so many poor programs.  They went to the off-site resort hotels and played team games and simulations.  They did the “trust fall” and participated in other nonverbal activities they refer to as “touchy-feely”.  Managers left these programs shaking their heads, wondering whether this was the best way there was to improve team functioning.


Executives and mangers may be surprised when they read the conclusions of teamwork research.  For example, the unstructured “touchy-feely” activities described above do not lead to better work performance.  On the other hand, team goal setting can help any team achieve breakthrough results.  The summary of the research also shows that group brainstorming as normally practiced in most organizations today is not very effective.  Brainstorming, however, that uses a structured process leads to significantly more quality ideas.  Structured Teamwork successfully improves work performance.


Does any teamwork program consistently achieve significant business results? 

Many executives and managers are skeptical about the usefulness of teamwork programs.  They remember being promised that if they implemented quality circles, a form of team problem solving, untold improvements would occur.  There were similar high hopes for results employee involvement, participative management, and total quality management programs, hopes that were never fully realized.  Structured Teamwork successes have been achieved across the most competitive industries in the world:  semiconductor, aerospace, oil and gas, non-profits,faith-based organizations and high-technology assembly manufacturing.


A team of operators from ABB (Asea Brown Boveri) increased its manufacturing productivity from $1 million of product shipped per month to $2 million; a knowledge team of petroleum engineers from Amoco cut its time to forecast remaining oil and gas reserves from 119 person-days to 29 person-days; a test and assembly team from Texas Instruments reduced its manufacturing cycle time 42% on one of the company’s major products; and four teams from Raytheon saved their company $2 million in a single year.


What is Structured Teamwork?


What does the word teamwork really mean? 

Many executives and managers say they have good teamwork now.  When I probe and ask them what they mean, they reply to the effect that everyone gets along with one another.  The company may be losing millions of dollars due to poor performance, but the people get along with one another.


Structured Teamwork can be summed up in the following figure.




I call this C5 Teamwork.  It includes five important components that are each vital to becoming and staying a breakthrough team.  Within each of these components lies several critical team tool sets that everyone on the team uses every day at work.  The following table lists the team tool sets and describes why they are so important.  Our clients call this Structured Teamwork System created by Side by Side, Inc. “The Proven Path.”



Benefit of Component

1.  Team Creativity/Structured

Team members learn how to be creative using a structured model that encourages participation from everyone.  Creativity is the key which enables teams to come up with breakthrough solutions to problems and to make breakthrough decision.

Level 1 & 2. Communication and Cooperation


2.   Team Communication


A supportive work climate promotes creativity, breakthrough thinking, risk-taking, and team member commitment.


3.   Team Meetings


Team meeting skills and structures harness the incredible energy available in group dynamics and produce high achievement of meeting goals.  The team meeting is a mini-replication of the team’s culture.  Establish high performance/high commitment team meeting and there will be a high performance/high commitment culture.  The energy of a highly participative and effective team meeting is contagious.


4.   Conflict Management


When employees are asked to bring their hearts and minds to work to care and think about quality, productivity, and cycle time reduction—there are conflicts.  The conflicts can be healthy and result in breakthrough solutions when team members have effective and powerful conflict management skills.


5.   Team Problem Solving


Team members enthusiastically assume the role of solving problems together in and out of team meetings versus bumping problems up to management and griping.  Using basic and easy-to-implement problem-solving steps, team members solve problems on the fly as they do daily work.


Level 3. Coordination


6.   Team Values, Vision, and Mission


These establish work priorities, unleash idealism, and align the team with the organization’s vision, mission, and goals.


7.   Team Goal Setting


Effective team goal setting and action planning promotes team member involvement and increases success and commitment.


8.   Team Responsibilities and Decision Matrix


Roles and responsibilities are established and clarified regarding how each team member support the other team members and the team’s internal and external customers.


Level 4. Creative Breakthrough & Continuous Breakthrough


9.   Team Decision Making


These skills are required for the most difficult of all team participative management tasks: team decision making.  Without these skills, teams flounder, waste time, get in arguments, and end up requiring the manager to make the decision.  With these skills, teams make superior decisions and experience high commitment and rapid implementation of the decision.


10.  Work Process Improvement


Team members learn how to improve work processes.  Work in all organization undergoes bureaucratic creep, with process steps losing the value they had at one time.  Team members aggressively look for ways to improve work processes and eliminate waste and cycle time.


A C5 Organization


The organization modifies its human resources policies and procedures to be aligned with empowerment.  The organization achieves high performance teamwork across all units and with customers, suppliers, joint venture partners, and governmental units.


How does an executive or manager lead his or her organization to breakthrough? 

Many executives and managers have a glimpse of the vision of where their organization needs to go to win in the global marketplace.  When they link empowerment with Structured Teamwork as the engine to power an organization they can reach any strategic goal.  Many leaders find themselves at the top of disconnected organizations.  Systematic empowerment programs can help an executive bridge the gaps in what currently may be a disconnected organization.


Worldwide, in every industry, there are  few companies that have traveled 5 to 10 years ahead of everyone else on the breakthrough teamwork journey.  How can other companies catch up when the leaders of companies show no signs of slowing down?  Many companies need to do more than start or revitalize their teamwork program.  They need to implement an accelerated methodology that enables their organization to catch up to the leaders swiftly and run with them.  The research, results, and methods of Structured Teamwork will assist you and your organization to be one of those leaders.


Note to the busy executive:  To hope you absorb this material more quickly, I have summarized the key elements of this book at the end of each chapter of my book Breakthrough Teamwork.



What Makes the Structured Teamwork© System So Unique
... is that You get breakthrough results!



We deliver documented business results. Set the business results you want, set a target date, and achieve your results using the Structured Teamwork approach. Add your company’s results to our list of success stories:


  • Advanced Micro Devices in Sunnyvale, California – 80 teams combined to achieve $50 million of improvements just 3-4 months after training.
  • Texas Instruments in Singapore – Half of the factory implementing Structured achieved 23% greater productivity than the other half.
  • Over 400 teams including Amoco Canada; Vastar Resources; Advanced Micro Devices- Austin; Dell Computer; Texas Instruments – India, Portugal, Dallas, and Houston; and Asea Brown Bovari achieved dramatic results!

You leverage significant scientific research!


Structured Teamwork principles, skills, and tools have been developed over the past 15 years based upon a synthesis of 1,200 research studies. Every principle, skill, and tool in Structured Teamwork has control group field study research in real organizations behind it. The summary of this research was published in the book Breakthrough Teamwork.


The team leadership tools for the Structured system are based upon 3,000 leadership research studies described in Side By Side Leadership: Achieving Outstanding Results Together, a book that was a Wall Street Journal and New York Times DOUBLE Bestseller as well as awarded best Business/Career book by the Independent Publisher Book Awards in 2002.


You improve individual and team performance!


Structured Team Leader Tool workshops promote the participation of each individual, providing them the opportunity to be assisted with their individual work goals, problems, and work improvements. We transform every team member into a team leader using each person’s unique strengths while not compromising individuality and diversity. 


You build trust and commitment from each individual!


The over-emphasis on being a “team player” leads to “group think” and little innovation. Group-centered approaches often hurt individual productivity and rarely build and sustain energy or commitment around the team’s goals. The Structured system draws out individuality and diversity, allowing them to become strengths for the team and the organization. Teams become stronger as strong individuals work together.


You achieve Continuous Breakthrough!


Structured Teamwork supports the natural systems theory for organizational development. An individual team will make great progress, but the combined power of all teams in an organization using Structured creates a culture of sustainable Continuous Breakthrough. Teams will progress together through five successively
higher levels of teamwork shown in our C5 Structured Teamwork Model.


You unleash the power of creativity in teams!


Other teamwork programs do not explicitly teach team creativity. The Structured Team Creativity tools promote individual and team innovation.  Individual and team creativity tools and skills in turn improve every other component of teamwork. Creativity transforms mundane meetings into breakthrough events!


You solve real business problems while learning new skills!

Structured Team Leader Tool workshops present new teamwork tools in a  
Format where each participant, as well as the team, uses specific tools to get real work done. While each 2-4 hour workshop introduces a new teamwork component, at the same time the workshop reinforces and provides practice of previously learned basic tools and skills. The continual application of all of the Structured Team Leader Tools to real work goals and problems across the 24—40 hours of workshop sessions promotes expert team leader skill acquisition.


Action You Can Take Today


If you would like to learn more, you may find the award winning book Side By Side Leadership helpful. It provides a great deal of additional information on this topic and makes well researched and field-tested suggestions. An ideal companion is the book Breakthrough Teamwork that describes Structured Teamwork® methods, but also takes the discussion into pragmatic and results-oriented actions that you can take today, regardless of your role within the organization. At a minimum, we hope that you will give us your thoughts and comments. We are always excited to hear what people think. Here at Side By Side, Inc, we are committed to delivering leadership training and materials that deliver real bottom line results.