In my previous blog post, I talked about the 4 reasons why team building fails and how it is important to be aware of those common pitfalls so that you can design a program that makes a positive impact on your team.
Team building can have a profound effect on the way teams collaborate, but to achieve that level of success you must incorporate The 4 P's of Strategic Team Building.
1. Personalization: The program must be based on clear objectives and desired outcomes. Information should be gathered through a "needs analysis" process, and you should have a clear answer to the question - "why do we have a need for this?"
2. Programming: The team building should be integrated into a broader professional development plan and should include follow-up to reinforce the desired behavioral changes. You should also clearly understand the level of impact your event may have. Programs that are 1-2 hours in duration may be fun and break down some barriers, but are only "energizers." Programs 3-8 hours in duration may enable "discovery" if well facilitated. Programs 1+ day may actually generate skill development and behavioral change.
3. Participation: For the program to be successful, key leaders must actively support the program, participate in the program, and provide coaching after the program.
4. Practicality: The best team building programs provide tools that team members can bring back into the workplace and use to be more effective as they collaborate and communicate with each other. A day on the challenge course generally doesn't provide this. Rich content with easy to use tools (minimize the fluff and theory) is essential.
So there you have it. It's pretty simple really. Avoid the pitfalls and follow the 4 Ps and you'll have a program that helps, not hinders, your team.