So, we found this article on the web one day when looking for inspiration for our blog: 4 Steps for a Successful Corporate Team Building Program. Really interesting, really good read. Take a look at it if you have yet to do so, because here’s our response to it:
As we have discussed previously, a successful team is something that is made through the consistent efforts of its constituent individuals. However, it is often the case that teams are unable to realise their full potential due to an inability to analyse their team dynamics objectively and find room for improvement, which is why there are times in the development of a team when a having a professional who knows about team building to step in is beneficial.
When such times arise, and a team building session is organised, it is successful provided:
- The participants are able to relate what has been done to their daily life, and understand how it benefits them to have a more cohesive team. It is only when team building takes on relevance in an individual’s life that he will take an interest in it, and subsequently gain insight into his life, leading to an improvement in the way he leads his life as he realises and understands areas for improvement.
- Participants become able to see beyond the bad, ugly, and grotesque to find the silver lining. This should be self-explanatory. If participants are too focussed on the negative, all they will get out of the team building session will be more spite and contempt, and greater tensions. Not really something desirable.
- The effects from the team building session are felt long after it has been conducted. There is no point in holding a team building session if it will only help the team to work together for that one hour or so.
To continue, Mike from Create Learning listed these four as the steps for a successful corporate team building programme:
- Full understanding why they are there.
- Proper sequencing of events.
- Focus on Processing and Reflection.
- Follow up and now what?
Well, guess what? Here’s our take on what the four steps are:
- The team building effort is targeted. This means that the session should bring to surface the problem the team is facing and attempt to solve this problem. For instance tensions may be high because the general consensus in the team is that the boss is too demanding. In this scenario, the aim of the activity will be to allow team members to get to know the boss better, in his capacity as a human being, rather than a tyrannical despot, so that they come to understand the reasons behind his demands.
- Tied to this, the right kind of activity has to be selected to address the issue. There are many team building options, and the one selected must be able to produce ideal results. The activity should be flexible and adaptable, so that it can be altered if necessary, especially when it is being carried out. After all, nothing ever goes according to plan.
- Which brings us to the next point: the facilitator has to be capable. By capable, we mean:
- Not only does he have to establish the goals and overarching objective of the activity, right from the start, he has to reinforce them throughout the event in a manner that it does not suffocate the participants. This is to promote reflection among the participants as they are reminded to consider the fulfilment of the goals.
- He has to be observant: a facilitator who is unable to notice the signs of a fight before it breaks out cannot possibly deliver the results the organisation wants.
- He has be emotionally detached from the on goings as he has to be objective, and may have to provide feedback if he notices something undesirable occurring during the event to the client to be addressed later on.
- He has to provide advice and encouragement when it is necessary: an event lacking energy not just lacklustre, it fails to create the bonds necessary for the team to improve.
- And this leads up to the last point. As Mike rightfully points out, it ultimately all boils down to the follow-up after the team building session. The team has to be able to quantify and qualify what has been learnt, and evaluate what has been achieved, which should be done as soon as the team building session ends and everything is still fresh in their minds. These takeaways should be recorded on paper, and revisited periodically so that they are not forgotten. In this way, a single team building can have lasting benefits which may even trickle down to future generations of the company.
What are your thoughts on this subject? Leave your comments in the section below.