The “five Cs” are an oft-quoted local abbreviation that describe what Singaporeans desire. From “cash” to “condominium”, these attributes are deemed to be highly sought after.

Companies that want to boost their success rate can chase an alternative set of “five Cs” that can be applied to a corporate context. This is because, regardless of their business model, successful organisations are built through champion teams.

A champion team needs to incorporate the following “five Cs”:

1. Collaboration

Collaboration is defined as the act of working with another or others on a joint project. Theoretically, this seems like a given. So why is this notion so difficult to implement in the real world?

Common reasons are misunderstood intentions, differences in working styles among team members, personality conflicts and, increasingly, problems arising between people from diverse cultures and backgrounds.

Using and promoting the use of psychometric instruments like Emergenetics can help you to understand your colleagues better.

Team members can work better together when they realise the unique strengths and gifts that they bring to the table. Albert Einstein once said that if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, then it would have lived its whole life believing it is stupid. Unity is strength but diversity is power.

2. Communication

In the bestselling book, Crucial Conversations, authors Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler made people aware of their failings in handling delicate, important discussions in various contexts.

So what makes a crucial conversation? It is one where emotions run strong, opposing opinions are present and the stakes are high.

Using this as a platform, communication cannot come any more critical than at the workplace. Often, you succumb to your emotions whenever opinions differ. An almost indescribable lump of frustration starts rising from within and suddenly, your choice of words changes, tones become more hostile and accusations gradually follow. Been there before?

A key to effective communication is to adopt conscious rationality in the face of any crucial conversation. By asking yourself constantly “What do I want to achieve in this discussion?”, you can shape your individual thoughts and dialogue processes.

Also, the ability to look at various perspectives through the eyes of different stakeholders can help achieve conversational success as well.

3. Change

You are often reminded that the only constant is change. A team that remains contented may become complacent.

In relation to the previous two “Cs”, sometimes, a devil’s advocate in the team may be beneficial in the long run. Such a role would help promote continual improvement to work processes, key performance indicators and even behaviours.

Dr Spencer Johnson of Who Moved My Cheese? prescribes the concept of embracing change. Although written in the context of personal development, the advice in this iconic book can certainly be practised in a corporate team setting where change in all forms should be anticipated, implemented and enjoyed.

4. Creativity

In today’s fast-moving business environment, a lack of creativity and innovation would only lead to reduced profits and low morale. Where would Apple be if creativity were not encouraged?

Throughout corporate history, the behemoths of businesses that failed to tap on new ideas have fallen by the wayside. In an article on cbsnews.com, titled Harnessing Your Team’s Creativity, author Janice Hui suggests how creativity can be stifled at work due to organisational culture and managerial influence. 

You should re-look your definitions of creativity because it is a common myth that creativity exists only in certain job functions. A rehash of tried-and-tested formulas may not always work. Whether it is the finance department or the sales team, creative thinking should be encouraged and religiously practised.

5. Camaraderie

“What is the difference between camaraderie and collaboration?” you might ask. Frankly, only a thin line separates these two concepts.

A line, though thin, could differentiate a great team from a good one. Collaboration is no doubt critical for business success but if you are to think a little deeper, robots also collaborate.

The automated production lines of Toyota are so efficient that they work rhythmically together, due to the collaboration software that dictates the actions of each machine.

Thus, camaraderie is what makes people human. The single greatest asset in any organisation is its people. The workplace relationships among these people are organisational treasures. Employee happiness is a vital element in forecasting and increasing productivity and talent retention rates.

If you are able to harness positive psychological capital, organisations and teams can improve the self-efficacy, optimism, hope and resilience of their employees, This in turn improves job performance.

As you can see, these “five Cs” do not and cannot exist in isolation. An absence of one would affect the existence, promotion and sustainability of another. Without collaboration, there can be no camaraderie. Without change-receptiveness, creativity would not be encouraged.

These pillars of a champion team must be upheld in any organisation, or else teamwork may just end up as another ideal that is preached but not practised.