The pleasures and pains of 'Corporate Team Building Activities'
It is well known that the strength of people working effectively together is qualitatively stronger than that of the individuals of that team working in isolation. The success of the Corporate Leader is dependent on how well he or she can maximize the potential of those they lead. Any corporate leader who is keen to develop strategies for ongoing growth and success needs to enable their staff not only as individuals but as members of a variety of teams.
Whilst there is a generic core of team member skills and behaviours each team will require something different from its members according to its function and stage of development. Teaching staff to be flexible to those needs and sensitive to their own needs and those of their team members will pay huge dividends in the long run. It is these principles which should be at the heart of Corporate Team Building Activities.
Successful corporate team building requires time, energy and skill. Great corporate teams do sometimes happen as if by chance, yet simply relying on serendipity can mean losing out on the tremendous benefits of having a structured and consistent approach to corporate team building.
There are many parallels in the sporting world. Each team uses the defined skills and expertise of the individual required to be a great defender, goal scorer or goalkeeper, yet it also takes a great deal of care to ensure that the individuals work well together, understanding how best to support the others to ensure they gain the optimum success. Players will adapt their play according to the game, the opponent and the weather and pitch conditions and know how this affects not only their own game but that of their teammates.
There are some simple principles which underpin effective corporate team building activities. These activities work at a number of different levels:
The team must understand and buy into the strategic vision and purpose for its existence. When people believe what they do has a value and understand how their contribution will make a difference, levels of motivation and commitment rise significantly.
Individuals within a team need to understand what success will look like. To ensure that everyone is pulling in the same direction corporate team building activities should ensure that there is a shared definition of success.
Corporate team building activities should help individuals recognise their personal strengths and what they can bring to the team. They need to be aware of their limitations and create strategies for ongoing development.
Corporate team building activities should help individuals develop a clear understanding of the strengths of others within their team and how each person’s skills and experience can be used to the teams best advantage.
Corporate Team Building Activities which create an understanding of how different personality types complement the team can be incredibly helpful. Those who are “big chunk” people who see the big picture and operate at a strategic level are often irritated by the “small chunk” people who need to see all the detail before they can make a decision. The feelings are often mutual and this can set up tensions. In reality, most teams need both types of people. Understanding the needs of one another and their relative value to the group can help enormously. Ideas and issues can be presented so they fulfil the needs of everyone within the team. There are many different models for identifying the different personality types what is important is that the team understands the need for a variety of approach and knows how best to serve their own needs and that of their team members.
All teams benefit from their members understanding how their attitudes, behaviours and baggage impact on their colleagues and on the team’s potential success. Learning the rules of good team behaviour and how to operate together is at the heart of the team’s ongoing success.
Corporate Team building activities should help the group to create a common language where everyone not only understands the vocabulary but also the subtext. A shared understanding of what “excellent” performance looks sounds and feels like raises expectations and standards for all concerned.
Activities should set out the parameters for team protocol. This will vary according to the needs of the purpose of the team. A team which is set up on a permanent basis is likely to have very different parameters to that which is set up for a defined short term project.
Parameters should include:
- Define the purpose
- Define the roles and responsibilities within the team
- Define the decision-making process
- Define levels of delegated authority
- Define the resources at the team’s disposal including people, budget, time etc
- Define the appropriate team behaviours – day to day operation, monitoring and evaluation process, reporting and recording, managing expectations within the team and with others
Corporate Team Building Activities must be seen to add value. You can create even more leverage when you empower the people within the team to take responsibility for finding solutions. As a Leader, you are reliant on the quality of your team as it is impossible to do everything yourself. At their best they make you look good, anything less and potential is being wasted. Is your programme of Corporate Team Building Activities serving your needs and the needs of your team? Perhaps it is time for a rethink.
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