- November 10, 2009
- Posted by: admin
- Categories: Blog, Career Growth, Communication, Corporate Culture, Enterprise Agility, Human Resource Management
Team building is an important factor in any environment since it plays an essential role towards the overall organizational performance. It focuses on to get the best out of the employees by working closely with each other towards the accomplishment of ‘combined tasks’. It is highly imperative for the management to communicate its importance to the employees working in teams. This way, employees can learn a lot from each other’s experiences as it also ensures self development.
When it’s functioning appropriately, it can gain positive results but when there are certain problems/issues like conflicts of interest, then it not only impedes the group’s performance but also affects the overall organizational productivity.
For this reason, team members must be selected carefully; management should communicate goals/performance expectations to them on a regular basis, develop suitable chain of command and establish team norms. These are few fundamental things (among many others) that need to be done in order to be productive. Moreover, the overall team’s productivity can be improved further by identifying its strengths and weaknesses, giving more emphasis on ‘we’ than ‘I’, improving communication and motivational level, encouraging employee inputs as well as giving time to time honest performance feedback.
Kindly share your opinions/suggestions on what can be done further to unify the efforts of the team members for the purpose of gaining better results? Most importantly how do you permeate your team’s mindset, prioritizing ‘we’ over ‘I’?
Much of the work boils down to your team’s leadership. The leader must have identified clear-cut, time-bound, written goals for the team. This must be communicated, in no uncertain terms, to all levels of the team. In essence, every team member will have a definite idea as to what is expected of him. There should be aboslutely no ambiguity about it.
In addition, the leader will make sure that communication is transparent at all levels; be positive, cheerful and every member should feel that he is an extremely important link of the chain.
This should solve your unification factor; Now, feeling “we” over “I”, well,
again it’s a leadership issue. Rememeber, your team is good as the leader of the team and as weak as the weakest link in the chain.
Through effective communication, enouragement and spirit of leadership, the leader will make sure that team remains a cohesive unit with absolutely no descrimination based on the position or whatsoever; where the motto is “one for all and all for one”. Treat your team members like your family; your customers like your guests. He will always be an inspiring leader who is also a member of the team – but not a boss.
Remember the good-old saying, boss will say “do” but the leader will say “lets do”.
I am only speaking for the US on this answer, but one must be careful how the subject of “team building” is broached with the management staff. It’s become something of a cliche’ because it’s been tried so often, and usually with unclear or even negative results.
It evokes visions of falling backwards into the arms of one’s peers to build trust (a total cliche’ now) and many American execs have done the same “team building exercises a dozen times or more already in various seminars. People in the US sarcastically refer to going out for lunch with coworkers as “team building.”
Not that it’s not a good idea. It’s an essential idea. But here in the US, anyway, it must be done very creatively- perhaps even stealthily, so that the message isn’t lost in the sea of overexposure and cliches.
What does it take for a company or a department to become successful? Of course, a company has to have a solid plan, attainable goals, enough resources, and the right people who can make it all come together efficiently. In the latter, a smoothly functioning team is needed to work towards the company’s goals.
Of course, a team doesn’t simply mean “a group of people,” although some people think that having people work in the same group together is already sufficient enough to call them a team. Being a team requires more dedication and a better relationship.
For some people, working well together as a team comes naturally. Unfortunately, for many others, it isn’t as simple as that, and would require more work.
Conflicts can easily arise in a group wherein teamwork hasn’t been fostered. There will be personality clashes. There will be differences in opinions and working methods. Communication problems will take place as a result, among other things, and this will only strain relationships further among the team members and give rise to a whole host of other issues.
When such things happen, a group will become ineffective and unable to meet its objectives. Some employers and managers turn a blind eye to such matters, thinking that the people involved will just sort problems out by themselves eventually. The truth is, many of them just don’t know how to handle these things. In this case, team building is an absolute necessity.
Team building is important because this will ensure that everyone involved is working with the others harmoniously. Not only that, but they will also be able to realize and understand the roles they play in the group’s success.
Team building doesn’t just target the members of the team; even the manager or the leader will need to participate in this because this will also help them learn how to get along with the entire team and also learn how they can manage and settle conflicts swiftly and effectively. This will also help them understand what kind of issues have been affecting the team, as well as any possible new ones that could develop, and how they can avoid them in the future.
Indeed, a team of people is crucial to a company’s success, but only if it functions efficiently. Team building is important in creating a good group of people and in making sure that the employees are satisfied with their work as well as their working environment. Without team building, you will be losing perfectly good individuals due to problems that could have been addressed and solved in the first place.
My advice based on my professional experience:
1. First and foremost, you should be a faithful believer of an inspiring vision and you should be enthusiastic, persevering and influential when this vision is shared with the integrants of your team with the aim of creating a strong feeling of purpose that should be the main driver to encourage to your team to fulfill satisfactorily and even exceed, the goals scheduled for the project regardless that is needed work in tight schedules and in facing an uncertain future perspective as is usual in the current economic recession.
2. Show consistently, a passionate, emotional and inspiring style of leadership in such a way that you may influence positively from your role as a leader to your co-workers whom would be committed, engaged and inspired to give the best of themselves and be enabled to overcome the difficulties, nuisances and uncertainties typical from long term projects being developed in tough business contexts.
3. Assuming a supportive attitude and being appreciative with the integrants of your team to encourage a better climate in the workplace that may be instrumental in fostering cohesiveness in your team and thereby, in the improvement of its overall productivity.
4. Don´t hesitate be communicative with integrants of your team to provide meaningful guidelines, helpful advice and opportune feedback about the progress of the project and share enthusiastically the next steps that should be observed during project´s life cycle as part of a virtuous dynamic in working cohesively to excel and succeed.
5. Recognize opportunely and reward with fairly, the excellent outcomes and extraordinary performance, as tactic valid and effective to motivate, encourage and support to the integrants of your team in achieving productivity’s goals and project milestones, both individually as collectively during project´s execution.
6. Share with your team the corporate big picture by communicating those aspects of the business plan that are relevant to the project that you manage. Providing clear elements of strategic interrelation with the project that is being executed with observance to standards of quality and operational excellence, is easy creating a solid foundation in virtue of which, your subordinates will find easily an exciting mission to accomplish and a clear sense of purpose.
7. Take advantage from any failure of your team to encourage effective learning and propitiate in them a sincere and pragmatic process of analysis that signifies a real solution to amend the failure and an opportunity of learning and to make adjustments to succeed for the next future.
8. Share the goals that are being fulfilled during project execution with Senior Management and communicate these feedback to your subordinates to create cohesiveness in your team, improve its morale and encourage in them a passionate attitude, a cooperative mindset and a sustained effort to succeed in achieving the project goals.
9. Celebrate enthusiastically and recognize opportunely any meaningful goal or milestone successfully reached by your team during project execution. Verbal recognition for a job well-done when is communicated publicly by a manager with strong influence and undisputed authority is the most cost-effective and powerful motivator to ensure that your team´s members will be motivated, engaged and with positive mindset.
10. Being an attentive listener to gain insight and anticipate properly any doubt, uncertainty or fear that any member of your team of your team could feel when a unexpected constraint or an external disruptive fact, could pose a risk against successful project execution
Links to 3 questions I posted in Linkedin.
1. When has the passion turned into indifference, which has been the flaw?
2. How do you use non-verbal communication to your professional advantage?
3. How would you find strategic misalignment of a corporate project?
With all due respect, I disagree with the comments concerning conflict. Team conflict is not only a possibility in a team, but with certain members – high achievers, top performers, stars – conflict in inevitable.
Conflict is not a sign that there is something bad or wrong with the team. It could be, but it is not the conflict itself that indicates a problem but the fact that the conflict does not get resolved.
At the outset we have teams discuss and agree on a Conflict Resolution Process – at the outset when they are NOT in conflict. (Most people will have a more difficult time agreeing on a process for resolving conflict when they are in it versus not!) We do that so conflict can be addressed and as a way to acknowledge that it will occur. it is OK., and should not be swept aside.
We sometimes say that conflict, chaos and creativity are cousins. Great ideas can emerge from either condition. In fact, the physiological response is often the same in each state!
I do agree that leadership plays a key role in how a group functions. A key role leadership plays is developing alignment around a common purpose.
The following is taken directly from one of our manuals that we sue when helping organizations build teams:
From our research and experience, teams that have dramatically improved their ability to accomplish desired results and consistently achieve high performance have developed four distinctive characteristics:
1. Goal Directed “Relentless focus on performance.”
• Clear about what superior team performance looks like
• Knows where they are going
• Have a well defined definition of success / desired end state
2. Team Alignment “Hold themselves mutually accountable for results.”
• Aligned on what they will do to achieve its results
• Detailed, endorsed plan to achieve goal
• Explicit team and individual roles
• High level of commitment and trust
3. Action Oriented “Real teams do not develop until the people in them work hard to overcome barriers that stand in the way of their collective performance.”
• Acts in a purposeful manner
• Knows what behaviors are required
• Committed to “straight talk”
• Has defined measures of progress
4. Flexible “Knows that if it is not getting what it wants it (the team) has to do something different.”
• Monitors performance against expectations
• Has a process for self-correcting
• Adjusts behavior to achieve results “..faster, quicker than individuals stuck in organizational quagmire.”
Salima, I hope this has been helpful. And to gain more alignment and better results, please go to our website, http://www.wsa-intl.com for more information on team chartering. There are six (6) key questions that you can use to develop greater productivity with your team.
I think life is 50% “me” and 50% “we”. The team must serve the needs of the organizations and the individuals.
Regarding conflicts of interests, I have systems thinking. The right front wheel may have different interests than the left front wheel. The answer in such cases? The good of the car. And if it turns out that car isn’t going the direction you wish, switch to a new car.
I think some cultures are better than others at team-building. We are rewarded from Kindergarten on for being BETTER than others. It is all a big competition. Few exercises are team exercises, except for sports, plays, band, and so on.
I think objectives have to be clear in definition and value. Unclear goals will demotivate. At the same time the conclusions should be derived from the group. Saying people are in charge when they are not is very frustrating to them.
My motto is Be Valuable. My justification? Because we are all simply different parts of the same universe. As such we must meet our needs, and many wants, while ensuring the system’s needs are met. And our value, which we exchange for the value others provide, makes the system tick.
So, I think the purpose must be clear and meaningful, such that the mission is above us, and not just to boost the exiting CEO’s stock options or make our manager look busy.
I think you have a good discussion here and several excellent answers. I agree with Herb Briggs, team building is often times a day out there jumping off poles and climbing walls.
Here is my two cents worth.
I think we should have the following in place and being continually renewed as the team evolves – two management things and two policy/structural things.
1. There must be meaningful work for all members. If people see an easy connect between what they do and how it affects the unit’s outputs/results, they will feel a greater sense of belongingness to the team.
2. Team members must have enough work to do to contribute towards this result. Lack of work creates more opportunity to discuss non productive things at the coffee machine or water cooler. Enough work generate focus and excitement of contribution.
Imagine a football team where some members are never required to run, kick the ball or defend – they will become disengaged pretty soon. Each member must have work allocated to positively affect the team’s results.
3. Rewards and recognition processes must nurture team culture. You can not have a rewards system promoting individual contribution (only or largely) while wanting people to work together.
4. Organization design must remain flexible. If you design or implement an organizational structure/work processes where people are too clearly put in their little boxes and not supposed to act or think beyond that you end up creating silos rather than teams.
Thanks for the question. Gives us an opportunity to reflect on what we really do out here.
I believe teambuilding occurs as the team is doing its work, not as an additional activity. Your question seems to come from a frame of mind that sees conflict as a bad thing. I would suggest that conflict is an opportunity for teambuilding. Whether or not conflict is bad depends on how the team handles it.
Also, remember that an effective team accomplishes two things. It does its task but it also creates an effective long-run environment that facilitates team performance. Each of these take time; thus, spending time on resolving conflict may impede task performance temporarily but it can serve to build the team. This is also an important team outcome so the extra time is not necessarily wasted. It is wasted if the team does not have the appropriate skills to deal with the conflict in a positive way. In this case they need coaching and/or skill building.
If you want to know the importance of Team Building you should look at the Japanese experience becuase the team work has become as a standard knowledge.
You should get some lessons form the Geese as below:
Fact 1: As each goose flaps its wings it creates an “uplift” for the birds that follow. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.
Lesson: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.
Fact 2: When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.
Lesson: If we have as much sense as a goose we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others.
Fact 3: When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.
Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each other’s skills, capabilities and unique arrangements of gifts, talents or resources.
Fact 4: The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
Lesson: We need to make sure honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement the production is much greater. The power of encouragement (to stand by one’s heart or core values and encourage the heart and core of others) is the quality of honking we seek.
Fact 5: When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Then, they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.
Lesson: If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.
You have already received a lot of excellent answers on the behavioral aspects of teambuilding.
I like to add to it that when you talk about teambuilding in a working environment teambuilding will only be successful if the work itself is structured in such a way that it provokes teamwork.
– make teams responsible for delivering an ‘end’ product (instead of making them responsible for executing a task)
– assign the responsibility and authority for planning, coordinating, organization of work processes to the team as a whole (instead of assigning tasks to workers and responsibility to a manager)
There are many more variations to think of. Of course you always have to keep in mind that the kind of products to be produced and the technology available have there influence on how (sub)products can be assigned to teams. However don’t let the team and its work be the last step in the design. Find from the beginning a good balance between the people’s needs and the technical requirements. You may be amazed about the solutions that can work very well.
And don’t forget all the behavioral aspects.
Team building, like any other process, requires experience. Simply following a set of rules will not guarantee success. Team building is a constant process. As the process moves along conflicts will arise, as will new problems and roadblocks. A good facilitator will be constantly mindful of the team’s direction and focus and will work to keep the team on track and cooperative.
Starting with smaller and more easily attainable goals in the beginning is of great help. This allows the team time to build confidence and learn while still making a positive impact. Smaller successes can be celebrated and the individuals will begin to understand the effectiveness of working together. They will start to realize that by making “we” successful, they will indirectly make “I” successful.
As team members gain experience in tackling larger problems they can move into the facilitator role and begin training others. Over time the team concept will become a normal way of doing business.
Not all people will be team players and you will need to deal with them as they surface; like any other performance issue at your company.
You’ve received some very good answers. In addition to most of the answers you’ve received, we’ve found it is important to give team members a language and tools to deal with the inevitable conflicts as well as help them tap into the talents on the team. There are five essential questions that a team must answer for effective functioning. Usually teams skip to number four, then get into storming about these.
1. Who am I/Who are you? Team members need to spend some time getting to know each other, thus the casual team ‘building’ activities help. An addition to that is to give them ways of understanding their personality differences so they can utilize these differences and learn to make space for them. Essential is introducing these differences as a language not as labels. Install the language as a part of the culture.
2. Who are we together? Establishing some norms to help deal with the differences before conflict occurs.
3. What are we here to do? Often team members have very different pictures of what the goals are because they jump to doing the tasks.
4. How are we going to do it? This is often treated as “who’s going to do what?”. However, different personality tendencies lead to different preferred approaches and potential conflict over how the work is done.
5. How are we doing? There needs to be an ongoing check-in to course correct.
If a team spends some time discussing and sharing the answers to these questions using a positive personality framework, they will come to the ‘we” stage. Often this conversation needs to be facilitated at first, but it can be set up as part of the standard operating procedures of the team.
You can find more about this approach to team development at http://bit.ly/4aqxe6
Clear objective is very important to build strongest team.
In addition, companies have to build strongest policy of having ethic and social corporate responsibility in the organization.
Team building is vast well understood area and a big business. The industry offers all kind of resources priced at various price points.
You have received a number of good responses on your topic. The only point I would like to highlight is that, ‘we’ over ‘I’ works where the objective of the individual members is aligned to the team objective or when individual members feel that their objectives will be achieved in the course of achievement of team objective.
The success of any group depends on the number of members in the group who believe in the above. The leader of the team can play an important role in helping the team members define their objectives(a lot of them do not have clearly defined goals) and give them roles within the team that will help them achieve their goals along with team goals.
Whether it’s a corporate team or a sports team or a full musical orchestra… without good team building, the organization fails… If everyone is on board and looking out for the rest of the team, the organization wins and will be successful…
I like the way you keep stimulating discussion on timely and important topics, and this is certainly one of my favourites.
Unfortunately my best friend just died suddenly and unexpectedly of cancer, and I am not feeling up to an answer — which in any case would be a radically condensed version of our last three newsletters on Preventing and curing group flu, getting exceptional results from teams, and unlocking the secrets of group dynamics. I think you get the newsletter, but you can have a look at them on our website http://www.klcassociates.com under “Insights for Executives”. There is also a pp presentation on Curing Group Flu.
Team building is essentially a process involving participation, collaboration and nurturing of team spirit amongst the team members. This sense of team spirit is inculcated amongst participants in the team through interactive team exercises and group discussions. Team building is required in most of the organized group activity, even as the modern work sphere is increasingly getting specialized with division of labor and the global market is powered by communication revolution.
This a common problem with most organizations and like many corporate challanges, the solution is easy, but not simple. In his book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni shares his views on teambuilding using an entertaining fable. He suggests that a team has to overcome five dysfunctions:
1. Absensce of Trust
2. Fear of Conflict
3. Lack of Commitment
4. Avoidance of Accountability
5. Inattention to Results
When I senthisized the book down to it’s essense, I found that it all comes down to what I’ve been telling clients for years:
People will want to work together to make the company better, only after you genuinely demonstrte that you care about them as human beings first. Once they sense that your recognition strategies are as much about them as the company, dysfunction #1, they will automatically become open to considering ways of making the company better; essentially the other four.
In this hectic, fast-pasted society, it’s all too common to jump over the “love” and get right to the “what have you done for me lately”, then wonder why your engagement efforts are no effective. One when you implement a comprehensive recognition and incentive strategy (we call in an Umbrella Solution) will you be able to control the education of managers and the implementation of complementary awards/rewards programs in the most effecitve and lasting way.
To improve the sense of team, you can ensure that each team members’/departments’ objectives also include the success of other team members/departments relating to them.
If team members make each other’s goals their own, you will have a stronger team who support each other because no one benefits if one fails.
Going with very basic definition of “organization”…. it says.. group of people striving for common objective and goal for monetary gain.
Diversity: Bring people from different culture and background together to accomplish achieve personal as well as organizational goals.
Ideas: Different people, uncommon ideas
Leadership skills: Working in group gives opportunity to every member to develop there leadership skills like forming, norming, adjourning and performing.
Conflict management: Need to explanation … i guess !!
You must find more questions posted on linked in already where expertise have given there bit. Just make a search for that too.
Hope it helps..
Hope it helps.