Team Building Exercise
How do you make sure the results of a team building exercise are sustainable?
Team building has an honorable philosophy behind it. People work in teams in corporate settings far more often than they don't. A well-oiled and high performing team doesn't happen as an accident. Therefore there needs to be some form of conscious thought applied to make sure that teams work together with creativity, sustainability and effectiveness that is required. Also, people shouldn't suffer a burn-out through the stress of being on that team.
People don't just come together in peace and harmony and produce wonderful and impressive results together. Team -building is the practice of creating a humane, effective group of people working towards a common goal. Each team is different and personalities do not mesh that easily.
But a team building exercise is not actually where the team building happens, however helpful, effective and fun they can be. What happens when the team building finishes and we have to return to the office?
A team building exercise, by its very nature, is temporary. There needs to be a degree of transferability so people can work out how what they have experienced on the team building exercise can be transferred to the workplace environment.
You can come away from a team building exercise happy, feeling good about yourself, the world, and your team. But then you get back to the daily work grind and find that enthusiasm being worn down as office inertia weighs in. After a year, you sometimes may as well have not done that team building.
So how does a company get a proper return on investment from the team building exercise seeing as where you practice and where you actually do are literally two different areas. The team building experience is as valuable as the time that its benefits last once the exercise is finished.
A team building exercise must therefore not be a stand alone event. If that is all it is then it will be doomed to failure due to having no momentum beyond its existence. If team building is part of an organization's plan then you can maximize its power. The direction of the business should feed the team building exercise's momentum, with team building a step in that direction.
So, let's say an organization finds that the feedback mechanisms it has do not allow its creative energy to be preserved. A team building exercise focusing on trust, tact and an ability to be open to feedback will help the business down that path. BEFORE the team building exercise takes place the organization should determine the procedural and policy changes that will support the lessons that will emerge. For instance, how can feedback improvements be measured and how will they know when the improvement has been achieved.