Team building events. Ahhhhhhhhhh!

I have always believed that the whole thing about team building, is building. If the chosen event doesn’t build anything, one might just as well give the team £300 and send them to the pub. That way managers don’t have to concern themselves with logistics and the tiresome trinity: return on investment. Furthermore, managers can save themselves £4000 and they don’t even have to be there – how cool is that?

Brace yourself – this isn’t pretty

In yesterday’s article by Alison Green entitled; ‘Why corporate team-building events can be terrible’ she shares:
•“I heard from one reader who worked on a team of people who were having trouble getting along, so her manager organised a team-building event where everyone present had to share what they didn’t like about each other. Unsurprisingly, tears ensued . . . . colleagues went from not being able to work together well to actively disliking each other in about 30 minutes.”
•“Another reader described a team-building exercise where she and her co-workers had to spit soda into each other’s mouths – why? I don’t know.”
•“I heard about one where participants were asked to share the story behind a scar – physical or emotional. Yes, emotional. Those questions can be easy for some but if you’re someone who, say, dealt with trauma or abuse in your childhood – or if you’re someone who just prefers privacy – these are not fun games to play.”

We can all laugh, but one team building event doesn’t build a team. Successful teams are built over time and where managers understand the dynamics around two key words – Understanding and Outstanding. As the advertising guru David Ogilvy put it: ‘when everyone understands what they and everyone else is meant to be doing, then you have a well-run ship and few misunderstandings.’

Understanding colleagues – Motivational Maps as a team building product

This leads me to relook at one of our dynamic tools, Motivational Maps, from a slightly different perspective. You see, Motivational Maps was created by the forward thinking James Sale (who is a Brit by the way). He started to think about what motivated an individual to want to go to work on a Monday morning and to act in a certain way. He realised that an individual’s motives were invisible and set about creating a metric that would make the invisible, visible.

Through five years of testing, he found that only by using Motivational Maps to produce an astonishingly accurate account of where the ‘energies and emotions’ in the team are being directed and how strong they are, can we then go on to understand how people are motivated. Further, without this motivational energy there can be no performance no matter how skilled an individual is, or what the strategy dictates.

Motivational Maps works by illuminating individual and team motivators so that management get the opportunity to stimulate these highs and lows (for individuals and teams) in order to improve productivity.

Maps can give the HR team an insight into individuals’ motivators, their team dynamic and how this tool can refine the recruitment process which will greatly enhance selection and team performance.

I argue that Motivational Maps is better than spitting soda into a colleague’s mouth

However it occurred to me that Motivational Maps can be used as a more formalised team building product / event, because: First, it is not a psychometric measuring personality, it measures individual and team motivators; Secondly, unlike psychometrics which are constant, an individuals’ motivators change over time and therefore Maps for the individual and team need to be revisited. It is this constant revisit that helps to correct and embed the team support culture into the fibre – and profitability is the outcome. Maps therefore can work for:

(a) Organisations

•Management development – Appraisal, Rewards, Leadership, Coaching, Training
•Succession planning – Future mix & balance, Talent Management, Performance
•Culture shift – Staff engagement, Taking next steps to achieve vision, Change management

(b) Teams / team managers

•Team building – Motivating, Handling conflict, Communication
•Sales (and we are all in sales) – Managing sales teams, Increasing sales, Delighting customers
•Customer service – Aligning mission and culture with performance

(c) Individuals

•Personal development – Self Awareness, Self-Image, Self Esteem
•Recruitment – Selection, Retention, Re-direction
•Career development – Mapping options, Making appropriate choices

When the motivation of people starts increasing, so will performance – and performance gains lead to productivity gains, and these lead to more profit. That is to say: People + Performance + Productivity = Profit, the 4 Ps, but everything hinges on PEOPLE and that’s where Motivational Maps comes in.

Gaps and Maps – the stats behind the story

James Sale spotted a gap in the market and embarked on 5 years of research which started with an in-depth review of 3 powerful and overlapping models that depict aspects of our personality, self-concept and expectation – the 3 roots of motivation in the human psyche.

The models examined (and from which Motivational Maps was constructed) were: The Enneagram, Edgar Shein’s Career Anchors and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (in its various iterations); and he found that:
•Approximately 70% of our motivation is determined by the self-concept and our expectation; in other words , by our beliefs
•Motivation changes over time and as such Motivational Maps do not stereotype individuals; indeed Maps reflect how people change – the model is dynamic
•His new construct has been proved through the refinement of over 22,000 completed maps

The benefits that derive from building motivated teams are:
•For individuals – energy, enthusiasm and engagement
•For organisations – performance, productivity and if the strategy is right, profitability

As a team-building product / event, I believe that Motivational Maps provides an astonishingly accurate account of where team energies (and hence motivation) lie and is more than a spitting distance ahead of some of the wackier alternatives.