These tips will help you to increase your team-building efforts, whether you’re an individual or an organization.
1. A shared vision is created
For team building and organizational success, it is essential to have a shared vision. Spend some time together visioning – what you want and where you want it to take you. You should also celebrate your successes during this visioning time!
Ask Yourself: What is your vision? Are all members of the team united in their vision?
2. Set common goals
Ensure that your organizational/project and program goals are understood and supported by all team members. Each member of the team must understand how their efforts contribute to the more important goals.
Ask Yourself: Does everyone know their role in supporting the larger goals of the organization/team? Are all team members clear about the objectives?
3. Clarify your roles and responsibilities
Lack of clarity about individual roles and responsibilities is one of the biggest obstacles for groups and organizations to get to where they want to go. These roles can be clarified to help you achieve your shared vision and goals.
Ask yourself this question: “How clear are our staff in understanding their roles?” What are their specific responsibilities? What roles and responsibilities do individual team members share? What overlaps with other departments?
4. Support Management
Managers and supervisors play an essential role in keeping the learning alive. Supervisors, managers, and owners should be following up with employees to find out their needs and suggest ways that team building can be improved. Managers play an essential role in making sure that team-building learning is returned to the office.
Ask yourself this question: What systems are in place currently to ensure that learning is sustained? This topic can be discussed in staff meetings. Is there a coaching program?
5. Engaging Exercises
Team building can be both fun and challenging. It helps teams reach their full potential. Participants should be challenged and engaged throughout the process. You might consider bringing in an external facilitator to help you and your staff.
Ask Yourself: Which activities or exercises are most beneficial for your team? What topics are most relevant to them?
6. It’s your turn!
It can be distracting and disruptive to hold team-building sessions at work. Email, voice mail, and urgent messages often have a more significant impact than a team experienced in the office. You can reduce distractions in your day by having team-building sessions outside the office.
Ask Yourself: What kind of environment would your staff benefit from? While some organizations may prefer to have a more formal, corporate-style team building session for their employees, others enjoy the natural world and the outdoors.
7. Make an Action Plan
Make an action plan for team building to be a part of your daily work and life. Many retreats and team-building programs lack links to everyday business or organizational goals. You should ensure that the program is linked to the organization and everyday life in order to allow participants to “bring the learning home.” You can do this by incorporating formal action planning into the program and having managers monitor progress during staff meetings. To keep the “learning alive” after team-building events, coaching can be used. Find out which type of coaching is best for you.
Ask Yourself: How can we support and sustain an individual or team action planning? What systems are in place to help us revisit our action plans? Examples include manager check-ins and staff meetings.
8. Learn from your team.
Teambuilding will be more productive if there is an open communication environment within the group or organization. This will allow team members to feel comfortable sharing their concerns and make it easier for them to work together.
Before the team building event, find out what your team members want to improve their work and effort. This can be done either by the facilitator or the team-building committee through email questionnaires, focus group discussions, or individual meetings.
The biggest problem with team-building programs is not being able to meet the needs of the group. Make sure you take the time to find out what your team members want before you organize.
Ask Yourself: Which are your top three priorities? How can you find out this information from each member?
9. Make sure to keep it up!
Although team building programs are great for morale-boosting in the short-term (once a year), it is worth asking yourself: “What would it look like if we did more of this?” Imagine the results!
The event can be more successful if the facilitator is used for multiple programs. Using the same facilitator for each event will usually increase trust and understanding.
Ask Yourself: How much time can we dedicate to team building in our company this year? How will this look?
10. Have fun!
Team building activities should be engaging and fun for everyone. They should be meaningful and relevant for the entire team. Discuss with your facilitator(s) the topics and structure that will give the most significant leverage to your team.
Ask Yourself: What would it look like to have fun, given our organizational culture?
These ideas and systems can be integrated into your next team-building initiative.