Are you interested in building up your team, but have limited time and money to spend? It can be hard to build a case to devote funds to teambuilding, but a series of short, well-designed teambuilding sessions can help you:
· Identify any issues that are impeding performance within your team
· Energize team members
· Improve relationships among team members by highlighting the diversity and individual strengths present on the team
· Re-align team members to your organization’s values and goals
Even if you feel as though your team is “rock-solid,” it’s still a good idea to consistently invest in your team as a whole! You don’t have to dedicate an entire day to teambuilding – a series of short, 2.5 hour sessions spread out over a year’s period of time is enough to re-align and re-engage your team. Your team is worth much, much more time than that, but if you could only do 4 sessions with your team this year, make sure it’s these:
1. Topic: Self-Awareness. Invest in an instrument that promotes self-awareness. There are loads of these out there, and even a freebie is better than nothing. I happen to recommend Emergenetics (I’m a certified Emergenetics Associate). But if your organization has already invested in a psychometric instrument, get everyone to dig theirs out and use it for the foundation of your first teambuilding session. This is an excellent starting ground for team development because it will get people thinking about their preferences, their strengths and their talents. Hopefully you’ll find a consultant who will make this a fun and informative session and set a foundation for more fun and reflection over future sessions. While most people have a pretty good understanding of themselves, the real purpose of this kind of session is to help team members learn about each other.
Outcome: increased self-awareness; ability to objectively understand different thinking and behavioral styles of peers, colleagues, bosses and direct-reports.
2. Topic: Emotional Intelligence & Awareness of Others. Always follow up an introductory self-awareness session with a second one that focuses on “awareness of others.” Double-back on your personality assessment used in Session 1 but this time focus on how members impact each other. You’ve got to help the extroverted team members recognize how they may actually be creating hardship for the introverted ones. And your introverted team members need to understand how when they don’t talk, the extroverts feel compelled to fill in the quiet. Make sure your consultant brings more activities that help bring out the different behavioral and problem-solving approaches that exist within your team. Aim for creating understanding among team members about how to work more cooperatively together; strive to create agreements about how to build on each other’s strengths. This should be an “ah ha” session for your team members, if done right.
Outcome: understanding of how team members impact each other; increased awareness of different thinking and behavioral styles; recognition of the gifts, strengths and talents of team members; increased appreciation for diversity and difference; collaboration and cooperation.
3. Topic: Problem-solving. Now that you’ve learned more about each other, it’s time to get the team working together to solve some sort of group problem. A good consultant will bring an activity that takes the team outside of its comfort zone to reveal any performance gaps or highlight issues that might get in the way of effective performance. Most teams rarely get to work together as one, big team to solve one, big problem; we tend to solve problems related to our focus-areas, so getting the team to work together on one problem can be enlightening – and energizing! It will help team members discover new strengths; team dynamics (both positive or negative) will typically start to reveal themselves and any problem areas or rifts may begin to show. Resist the urge to simply explain-away these potential problem-areas! A competent consultant can help you and your team Identify behaviors or patterns that are helping you and those that may be getting in the way of your performance goals. Make sure you end this third session by cataloguing behaviors that are working for the team and those that may need to be addressed.
Outcome: appreciation for interdependency associated with high-performing teams; demonstrate the importance of risk-taking as a team; highlight the importance of creating a safe environment for risk-taking and performance; value safety, support and accommodation of diversity and difference; highlight the need for mutual accountability.
4. Topic: Communication. At the heart of every high-performing team is solid, consistent and effective patterns of communication. Use this fourth meeting to get at the heart of your communication patterns: identify where you thrive at communication; discuss areas where communication is breaking down; address different ways of communicating among team members. Sometimes just talking about communication issues is helpful; but a good consultant will be able to get the group actively practicing new ways of communication with each other. A good activity will illustrate the importance of communication skills and give team members an opportunity to practice these skills.
Outcome: reveal the importance of communication skills such as active listening, open-ended questions, positive and supportive language; highlight the need for mutual accountability; promote respectful conflict and debate; allow for honesty and trust.
These four sessions can help your strengthen their relationships, improve communication and cooperation and increase satisfaction which will go a long way towards improving team performance.
If you’re interested in bringing some dynamic – and effective – teambuilding to your organization, I'd love to help! You can contact me for a no-obligation consultation. All of my programs are customized to meet the unique needs of your team and your team’s goals & needs. What are you waiting for? Contact Karen Main at 720-272-3433 or visit our website for more information.