Focus and leadership
Team building programs are useless unless they help the participants connect their new-found awareness to results. The same applies at the team level. Team members may find it interesting to learn more about team members, but there is a need to connect learning to action plans which result in tangible and measurable outcomes for the company.
In great teams, leaders spend time clarifying goals, cultivating their own leadership skills and collectively identifying new ways and solutions to achieve great results. An effective leader will check make sure the organization’s goals and strategies remain clear and achievable for every team member. At the same time, they help build capability of individual team members versus always taking on the work of the team themselves.
Simply developing productive and constructive communication to a greater degree will help leaders increase their effectiveness and their teams function most effectively. Leaders often feel unnecessary pressure to tell everyone on the team what to do. The key is to focus on influencing versus doing.
Experiential learning helps clarify big picture goals and expectations. In order to do this effectively, you must communicate the goals in a number ways that appeal to a variety of team members. Some may need a visual representation (e.g., a roadmap); others may need to know the “why” behind the goals to buy in. A proper facilitation will help the team to articulate their understanding of the overall goals in their own words based on their experience.
Another experiential learning solution can be created to help the team focus on the goal (the what) and the key strategies (the how). Activities are designed which help uncover trouble spots, create feedback flows and help team members to leverage opportunities. The activity can be followed by a strategic focus session.
Change management and creativity
Activities can help identify one aspect of the team that you would be excited to see change come about. The team can to make sure everyone agrees it would be worth it to affect change in that area. The facilitator will help determine what the best possible outcome could be if the team made the change, adopted a new procedure, tried a new approach or do whatever it is you have identified as a change need. The flow of ideas from the team on how to make it happen will generate excitement and awareness about new possibilities and pathways for progress.
Team building is a means to an end, not an end in itself. What do you want your team to achieve?
Team building is the magic phrase when it comes to corporate training. But is it producing real results?
Many organizations invest time and money for events to help team members bond together and function more effectively as a team; staff return from these outings with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement, yet results are hard to quantify and short term at best. Despite the best team building efforts, many organizations are still struggling to produce the required results.
One main reason for this apparent mismatch between expected and actual outcomes is that team building isn’t directly linked to business results. It is true that the team enjoyed the motivational feel good exercises. But although the team learned about each other’s behavioral styles, motivational profiles, individual strengths and weaknesses etc, they have failed to connect their learning and experience to desired business outcomes.
Another reason for the lack of a lasting outcome is there is no continuity beyond a one-time event. A successful team building process should be approached strategically, not as a one-time event with unrealistic expectations. It should create tangible experiences that modify behavior and result in actionable ideas to help the team and organization achieve their goals. Continued experiences, learning, reflection, integration and reinforcement are critical.