The concept of "team building" means different things to different people. Over the past 9 years I have spent a ton of time with hundreds of clients and thousands of people creating successful team building programs. Our shorter programs may span only four to eight hours in duration, and our programs focused on helping teams make a significant shift in how they collaborate may last over 9 months.
Regardless of how long the program is, I have always defined team building in three ways:
1. It is a tool to help accelerate team formation.
2. It is strategic in nature.
3. It is focused on skill development and behavioral change.
If you want to create a team building program that will have a positive impact on your team, it is important to pay attention to the pitfalls you may encounter.
Here are 4 common reasons why team building fails.
1. It is irrelevant.
- there are no clear objectives
- the facilitator never spoke to the "decision maker" prior to the event
2. It is ambiguous.
- there are no clear "tools" to take back to the workplace to help team members be more effective
3. There is a lack of commitment
- the program isn't linked to broader professional development efforts
- there is no follow-up scheduled as part of the program
- the facilitator has no real business experience and never spent time in the boardroom
- the facilitator has limited knowledge about business or your industry
If you see symptoms such as these within your team building programs, it is likely you won't see a change in how your team collaborates.
So, what are the keys to making team building effective?
Stay tuned for this Thursday's blog post and I will share with you the 4 P's of Strategic Team Building.