The Ultimate Guide to Effective Team Building

Team Building

  • Team building and team building activities are hot topics

Team building and team building activities are presently hot topics. If you do a Google search on “team building,” you find that term results in 18,100 searches per month and a similar search on “team building activities” results in 49,500 searches per month. What these statistics point to is that organizations of every type and size have come to realize that an organization’s greatest assets go home at the end of the workday and turning those assets into a coherent “team” has a huge impact on the organizations ultimate success.

There are many benefits to quality teamwork in the workplace. In fact, it is our belief that team building should be managements #1 priority. For our reasoning behind this assertion and a discussion of many of the resultant benefits, please refer to my article entitled Why Teamwork in the Workplace should be Managements #1 Priority,

  • The benefits of quality teamwork are numerous

According to that article, after 30+ years of working with organizations of every type and size, we have noticed a theme that all successful ones’ share. That is, they all consist of a group of enthusiastic, confident, optimistic, appreciative and happy people who work together on behalf of a future they have all committed themselves to! That statement alone explains why team building is such a hot topic.

  • Do the known approaches to team building work?

The question therefore becomes: do all the dozens of team building exercises found when the term is searched produce that result? We think not. Surely, it’s fun to take a work team and have them participate in any number of “games” that cause people to bond together. You can see a list of 32 of them in Rob Wormley’s article entitled An Epic List of Great Team Building Games, But it is our experience that the “hi” which results from the game is temporary. Our approach to team building, on the other hand, creates a level of excitement and enthusiasm that is permanent and long lasting.

  • We have a different approach

Our approach to team building starts with the leadership of the organization appreciating the critical importance of teamwork in the workplace and the need to get everyone working cooperatively together on behalf of a common objective. So, once the leadership comes to understand this, the next steps become relatively easy. It all starts with that leadership aligning on something that all the people in the organization can get behind. We call that the company vision.

  • Here are some examples

Think of Steve Jobs at Apple, or Bill Gates at Microsoft, of Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook. All of these people had an exciting idea that could literally change the world, which they indeed did. Do you think they had a hard time getting the people in their organizations behind their ideas? In fact, when the word got out, people flocked to their organization because they wanted to be part of the excitement. And that was the case with every organization that grew rapidly. Is it necessary that the vision of the leadership be world changing? No. It just must be exciting and meaningful.

  • The key to our approach is to conduct a launching event

Next, we produce and conduct what we fondly call “a launching event.” In other words, we hold a celebration, in advance, of the fulfillment of the vision. We gather all of the people in the company together for this event. If the size of the company is too large to do that with everyone at one time, it is possible to do the event several times for multiple groups.

In any event, we always recommend that the “event” be conducted with a lot of pomp and ceremony. After everyone is gathered, the leadership of the organization shares with everyone their vision for the future. If the leadership has also taken the time to create a strategic objective and a culture statement, as set out in my article entitled Strategic Planning: A Novel Approach, that too is shared. We recommend that all attendees be seated at tables with a facilitator from leadership at each table so that after each item is presented, there is a table discussion to accept feedback. This is critical to have all employees feel like a part of the process.

  • The launching event ends with an enrolling speech by the leader

After everything has been presented, the leader makes a speech that goes something like this: “So that’s what we’ve come up with. Sound exciting?

Here’s what I now need from you: you’ll be given a folder with everything we’ve talked about in it. We tried as best we could to include your feelings and thoughts in everything we did but who knows. Please take this home, take some time, study it, and let me know by this coming Friday, if you have any suggestions, questions, additions, comments, whatever. We’ll make whatever changes we think will forward us in fulfilling on the vision. And, once this is all done, I’m going to expect each and every one of you to operate consistent with the culture and join me in devoting yourself to the fulfillment of the vision. Can I count on you to do that? (Ask for a show of hands)”

  • The impact of this team building approach is always remarkable

Our experience is that all the hands go up enthusiastically. Then we bring out the champagne and cake, just made for the event, and have a toast to celebrate in advance the fulfillment of the vision.

This is the ultimate team building event. Everyone goes back to work excited about what they just participated in and ready to work together on behalf of the future they have all committed themselves to!

  • Here’s what one client company did

In one client company, located in Daytona Beach, Florida, we used the location to create a space theme for the event. Everyone was invited to an elegant dinner at a local restaurant. The room was beautifully decorated and when the employees walked in, the music from 2001, A Space Odyssey, was playing and on a screen was being shown beautiful pictures taken from the space lab. People were served a lovely dinner and then the presentation of the vision, etc., was made. After the presentation, the champagne and sparkling cider were rolled out, together with a cake, specifically designed based on the theme of the event. Everyone was literally blown away by the extent to which management had gone to produce the event.

  • Why this works so well

What makes these “launching events” such a powerful team building exercise is that nobody has ever experienced anything like it. All in attendance talk about the event for days and weeks, reinforcing the power of the event. The attendees truly get the seriousness of management in their commitment to the vision and they feel their responsibility in helping in the fulfillment of that vision. This is no brief “high.” It is truly the ultimate team building approach.

If you’re ready to take action and implement our approach to team building, give us a call @ 949-542-6830.