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Top-achievers are competitive yes, but to assemble world-class companies and ventures, the upper ranks of billionaires, CEOs, scientists, artists and entrepreneurs are increasingly using collaboration, teamwork and cooperation.


In response, many schools (such as the Harvard Business School, the University of Phoenix and others) have implemented “learning teams” to foster teamwork and improve grades among students.


Granted, forming functional teams can be a pain in the ass but the payoffs are huge and the technique is being used in almost every industry. From manufacturing to IT; from research to cardiac surgery, learning teams are turning the good into the great.


To form winning teams:


  1. research every resource you can lay your hands on. Many schools have team handbooks but there is also a wealth of free scholarly information used by professional educators on


  2. write a team agreement or charter just like you would if you were forming a company. Clearly describe each member’s role and expected contributions.

  3. design a conflict resolution system. How will you resolve disagreements? How will you respond to late-work? When (and how) will you “fire” members of your team? Focus on successful outcomes, not just easy ones.


  4. plan for disaster. A team has many resources to draw upon if a computer crashes or someone gets sick. To make your team as nimble as an individual, have emergency protocols drawn up in advance.

  5. become team-work experts. The ability to participate in and lead teams is one of the key skills needed to earn top level salaries or build your own company. Every member of your team should invest in leadership training.

Over the next few blog entries, we’ll explore some practical ways to use your teams within the educational environments (both on-ground and on-line).


We’ll specifically look at co-authoring/researching, using revision workshops, the advantages of new-knowledge creation, peer editing and editing committees.

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Vincent Kovar