A happy, efficient team is a productive and innovative one. When communication, collaboration and creativity are given room to breathe, the effects can be positive for both workplace behavior and business goals.
To gain the aforementioned attributes, leaders need to create actionable objectives. For example, leaders need to ensure there is a strong link between departments or establish a positive, creative team culture in the workplace where communication is valued. Embarking on a team building activity day could be an effective way of achieving these objectives.
Why opt for team building?
Team building has easily shrugged off misconceptions of irrelevancy and undue expense to become a focal part of many businesses. Multinational corporations such as Coca Cola, Apple and Google all recognize the importance of team building to the point where former Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ management style was primarily team building-focused.
Jobs found that repositioning workers in a business, whether that’s promoting someone to a position of leadership or moving them to a more suitable role in the company, helps workers talk and work together more efficiently. In a similar fashion, team building activities can bring skills to the fore or help develop new skills to encourage inter-departmental conversation and communication, changing a firm’s overall behaviour. The end result of team building should be a high performing team and business in all areas as workers should be highly motivated to perform better and better using skills and tricks developed in these activities.
But where do leaders start when it comes to team building and business objectives?
Aligning workers to a purpose
Kate Tammmagi, a team-building thought leader, has created a three-tiered approach to as a general “go-to” for achieving business objectives.
She claims forming groups of employees to align them to a shared purpose is part of what she calls the ‘Forming Stage’, the first stage of her objective-based approach. Leaders must also establish other objectives such as “the beliefs, values and norms of behavior” in the workplace. Establishing these core goals means leaders have created a foundation to build upon and develop.
This is where team building activities come into play — putting employees into a team helps them get to know each other and can bind a group. However, it is how this team operates with other teams that is extremely important, as collaboration is the cornerstone in any successful project or activity. Having teams that want to help each other and make the company succeed in its vision can make a huge difference in how successful a company is, making the binding of groups critical for leaders.
It is easy to see how team building can help achieve the goal of improving collaboration. During a team building activity, handfuls of workers all work together towards one common target, much like teams would during a workplace project. As a result, collaborative-based team events help teach the benefit of working together towards a shared purpose and not against each other.
Developing and nurturing
Tammemagi’s second stage is called the ‘Storming Stage’. She says after leaders have established a foundation, they need to keep workers aligned to their purpose and goals but also give workers experience of working with new team members. In addition, the stage needs to nurture shared problem-solving and generate new ideas within teams.
Team building activities are useful in achieving all of these objectives. Leaders can mix and match different workers in different groups to see how effective they are in achieving new goals. In addition, there is a wealth of team building activities offered by corporate events firms focused on problem-solving and generating ideas to create a solution. Honing these skills during an activity ensures they are brought back to the workplace to be used in office situations.
Finally, Tammemagi’s final stage is called the ‘Norming Stage’ where employees, teams and departments continue to work well together over an extended period of time. Continued use of team building activities — perhaps on a monthly or bi-monthly schedule, helps refresh the skills and values needed for workers to meet business objectives, whether that’s through improved communication, collaboration, problem-solving or trust.
Overall, each business, whether you’re in charge of a multinational corporation or a small-to-medium sized business, is going to have its own set of objectives when embarking on a corporate team building event. Regardless, these objectives are important as they help determine the goals of the event and what leaders want to extract from the experience, helping to create a better workplace for everyone.
Ash Curtis is a brand journalist for the Bluehat Group. He writes on staff training, team building and development.