What is Teambuilding? - In Organizational development, whenever a team embarks upon a process of self-assessment in order to gauge its own effectiveness and thereby improve performance, it engages in team building. The morale of the team is an important variable
- In Organizational development, whenever a team embarks upon a process of self-assessment in order to gauge its own effectiveness and thereby improve performance, it engages in team building.
How’s the leadership team going these days?
Are you having trouble finding time for each other?
Is getting the business of the organization out of the way a burden?
Do you find yourself at the end of your executive committee meeting every week with members itching to leave?
Do the team members know each other?
Trust each other?
Serve each other?
It’s hard for leaders, just as human beings, to stay focused for long meetings. This is especially true when they seem to ramble on and on. What can we do to promote community in the organization and, at the same time, get all the business items taken care of?
The first variable is time. Each member of the team needs to see the fullness of their responsibility in leading the organization. They cannot squeeze in leadership of the organization amid a dozen other commitments. Each of us needs to begin with the understanding that leading any group requires a significant time involvement.
But second, we need to honor the time that each leader is committing. How can we avoid squandering that time? One way is to schedule the business items concerning individual needs at a different time from a meeting focused on the communal needs of the leadership team.
At worst, team building sessions help members become cynical about their organizations. This occurs when the team building events are held outside of the context of the organization’s normal way of doing its business. If you send people off to a team building event, as an example, but all rewards in your organization are based on individual goals and efforts, the team building event will have no lasting impact.
People will lose productive hours complaining about the time and energy invested in the team building or planning activities. Unhappiness, team criticism and leaders complaining to each other sap energy, productivity and joy from the work of the organization.
An event that is not followed up with meaningful activities in the workplace should not be held. They harm trust, motivation, employee morale and productivity. They don’t solve the problems for which they were scheduled and held. You will eventually lose the people you most want to keep – especially if they don’t see your organization getting better as a result of off-site team building and planning sessions.
The success of a team building or of a strategic planning activity begins well before the start of the sessions. Use a team to plan the event since you want to model the behavior you seek from the team building sessions you schedule. The likely long-term effectiveness of a team building event or corporate retreat is enhanced when you incorporate annual team building events into an overall organizational structure. This cultural framework of philosophies, values and practices is designed to build the concept of “team” on a regular basis. In this environment, team building sessions can yield supportive results.
If team building and other offsite events are to offer value, their inclusion in an overall structure of philosophies, values and practices is critical. People must already operate in a team-oriented environment that is characterized by such philosophies as shared purpose, shared vision, shared mission and a performance development system that enables people to grow both personally and professionally.
Poorly planned and executed, created outside of the context of the total organization, the team building and planning sessions bring disillusionment, low morale and negative motivation. They fail to deliver the results expected. Organizations flounder with little strategic direction. Everyone works hard, but, usually on the wrong tasks and goals. Employees take baby steps toward accomplishing key action items and nothing important is finished.
And, when the next team building or off-site planning event is announced, the cycle generally repeats itself.
Which approach to team building would you prefer to institute in your organization?
Team building and planning events and activities have the potential to bring the people you employ a strong sense of direction, workable plans and solutions, a powerful feeling of belonging with and on the team and clear, strategic customer-focused values.