Many employees have had dismal experiences of well-intentioned team-building events that fall flat. Sometimes, paintball, golf and Master Chef just won’t pass muster. A poll referred to by Tirian.com in an article published in 4Hoteliers on 28th February 2013, revealed that only 5% of the people surveyed say team-building programmes are effective.
Psychologist Campbell Thompson of Psychology Melbourne considers team events a waste of time if they’re poorly planned with no clear organisational outcome in mind. There’s little value, he says, in events motivated by “…. got to do an annual away day” or those that fail to consider the team’s specific needs.
Professional team-event-planning firms like Full Circle Motivation would concur that there’s a lot more to team building than playing games together. The questions these exercises are designed to solve need to be clearly formulated beforehand: Does a team need to be motivated after a tough and challenging year? Does it need to be rewarded for extraordinary efforts? Do personality clashes need to be ameliorated? Do hidden or underused strengths need to be tapped?
Actually, Team development is the desired outcome, and this can be achieved by using carefully targeted programmes designed to be experienced by the participants as authentic, relevant and educational.
For example, recreational team events aren’t simply about letting off steam and having fun; they ought to be energising and entertaining but also focussed on changing the way participants learn (and teach) new skills. Events like this are generally useful but, in themselves, insufficient to promote real team building.
Educational team exercises are also required, designed to raise awareness of organisational and team needs and build knowledge (and new ways of learning) about new concepts.
However, the picture will be incomplete without developmental team-building exercises designed to improve inter- and intrapersonal relationships and increase positive, functional behaviour.
Full Circle Motivation in association with Nishi Singh Coaching, have been organising developmental team events for years to bring organisations together, not only to acknowledge the achievements and progress they have made over the past year, but also to motivate and inspire their people by celebrating successes. Such programmes are designed to change the way people feel, think, and behave.
In the planning stage, the content needs to meet a number of criteria:
- A look back at the previous year’s successes
- Celebrating success
- Showcasing current projects
- Current and future industry trends
- Re-connecting with the organisations’ vision and values
- Working as one team towards a common goal and sharing in the excitement and growth planned for the next five years
Ensuring teams share project work is key to the process; day-to-day business prevents internal knowledge and expertise being informally communicated in spite of a multitude of channels of communication being available. Team events provide an opportunity to network across the organisation through coffee breaks and round table exercises focused on, for example, developing different markets and regions for products, nationally and internationally. Additionally, fun interactive energisers are employed to the keep the audience engaged and uplifted.
As a start point in ensuring that teams work cross functionally, Nishi Singh adds: “we always ask two key questions: What is the change in behaviour the client wants to see from its leaders? and What does this behavioural change look like when staff interact with one another?”
“We then employ an established methodology called Action Learning; where groups of people problem solve specific issues using powerful questioning techniques. Each member of the group would be given the opportunity to present an issue; the other members ask questions to stimulate individual reflection leading to change and action.”
Strategic ‘team development’ must be the target but it also must be focused, content driven, engaging, relevant and yes, fun too. All work and no play . . . ..