Team building in the workplace usually conjures images of teams mandated to be in a training room, checking their iPhones, Blackberries, and iPads to see what they should be working on and waiting for someone to provide an assignment with little to no connection to their work that provides a predictable outcome – teams are important.
So why do team building activities? In our work, we’ve had that question (from all different kinds of brain types – those with Analytical and Structural preferences like you might expect, but also those with highly Social preferences or Conceptual thinking tendencies), and the answer is this:
Team building activities are only as important as the objectives they’re designed to teach. Starting with clear objectives for team performance means that team building goes beyond team building activities and into action learning that stimulates real-world change for the better.
So here’s a quick 5-Step Guide to making team building effective in your organization:
- Start with your organizational objectives. What do you need to get done and by when? Where do priorities lie?
- Connect your people and teams with those objectives. Where are your most critical teams that need to deliver performance?
- Target those teams for increased development opportunities that ACTUALLY RELATE to the competencies they need to deliver on the objectives.
- Know who is on these teams and how they work. This is a critical step that even the best organizations sometimes miss. Know your competencies, but know your work, communication, and thinking styles as well, because it will make a huge difference to performance.
- Develop or refocus team building activities to activate the key points above. Design team building activities that connect broadly to objectives and skill sets that your most in-need teams require and then put them into an action learning process where they’re actually solving real-world problems.
Team building activities don’t have to be ineffective or purely for fun. Use these steps above to make sure your team building activities will build your organization’s effectiveness.