“Unity is strength…when there is teamwork and collaboration wonderful things can be achieved.” – Mattie Stepanek
As the end of the year approaches, many managers remember that they have forgotten to hold a team building session during the year. Often this results in a frantic scramble to ‘tick-the-teambuilding-box’. Suddenly a team finds itself tolerating a competitive colleague at ten-pin bowling, or not listening to an inspirational speaker because they are too overloaded to spend time hearing someone else’s story, or perhaps even cringing through a hastily prepared ‘funny awards night’. Whilst each of these activities can be enjoyable and appropriate in certain circumstances, they are not always effective for every team and situation.
Team building should not be an after thought or a ‘must-do’. It should be something that has clear objectives and outcomes, otherwise you are wasting company time, employees’ time and often a load of money.[As an aside, should we really be calling this team building? Over the years this term has, rightly or wrongly, come to mean ‘having fun’ or ‘being social’. But guess what? Not every team or individual wants to have fun or socialise with their colleagues! And even if they do, everyone has a slightly different idea of what fun is to them. Call it what you will – we prefer to call it Team Development – no matter what you do, you should be using the time to develop the team and enhance its culture.]
Team development can be anything from a lunch to celebrate a job well done, a 1/2 hour skills refresh, a presentation, through to a 3 day team-vision and strategy session. It may or may not include activities removed from work (e.g. sport, games) and social elements (e.g. lunch, dinner). It can have a business focus or a personal focus. An event may be organised and facilitated by the manager, or it might be facilitated by a third party – a learning and development colleague or external consultant.What you end up doing should be driven by the needs of your team, not by what someone else has done or just because an activity sounds like fun.
So how do you make sure you are doing something worthwhile and not a last minute booking that no one is interested in? Below are some questions to consider.
- What are you trying to achieve with the team – both in the longer term and also at this particular event? This might include the type of culture you wish to foster, skills you wish to develop, collaboration you must generate or mutual understanding you need to encourage.
- What do you want people to be doing differently as a result of your event?
- What motivates or interests your team members?
- What types of environments or activities does the team respond well to? (Of course ask the team for input – just be aware that occasionally the responses will be about something fun they want to do, that has little benefit to the team as a whole)
- How will you cater to different motivations across individuals within the group?
- How do you see a team development/building event benefiting the business?
- How will you know this has been a successful investment in your team by the business?
- Are their any limitations to consider? This might be related to things such as policies, OH&S issues, cultural awareness, geography, or physical restrictions.
- What are all the possible options for achieving your objectives and meeting team needs/motivations? (This will involve some brainstorming and/or research)
- Which option or combination of options do you believe would be most successful?
- Is the preferred option one that you can run yourself or is help needed?
- Is the preferred option one that can be linked to other events or activities the team have done/will do? Sometimes team development is more sustainable if it is a series of related events spread over time.
Plan and communicate
- Make sure you plan the event well, no matter what you are doing.
- Communicate with the team to outline objectives and logistics. Most people will want to understand what the focus of the event is – whether it is do get to know each other better, develop strategy or just take some time out from the business to celebrate success.
If thought through well, team development can be used to build a team’s culture, capabilities and performance.
engagingPOTENTIAL: training, team development, coaching
Specialising in working with managers to develop extraordinary teams!
© Engaging Potential Pty Ltd