Teambuilding conjures images of trust falls and wall climbs, but often once those tasks are done your employees are no more united than they were in the morning.
"Performance within groups typically does not just happen. For a group to really perform well it needs practice,” CMI Teamwork CEO Bruce Hodes said. “The group needs to understand the best way to organize itself for performance.”
It’s something sports teams and the military understand – Boot Camp for the military and pre-season workouts for sports teams are the norm. In business, there is far less interest or appreciation of group development and the need for practice. Team practice, for the most part, is not factored into the business or corporate world.
“We form groups in business and march them into the corporate battle zone expecting them to perform and when they fail we are surprised,” Hodes said.
So what can you do differently?
Know the goals
“The major difference between a ‘group’ and a ‘team’ is that the team shares common goals. Everyone knows the goals and how they contribute to them in a team,” business coach Marti Benjamin said.
Focus on group performance
“The essence of good work team performance is not good communication or good relationships but a focus on performance and an agreed upon appreciation of what this means,” Hodes said. “When a group takes on being mutually accountable for their customers' experiences, the group can generate profit and customer loyalty.”
“Trust comes from each person being honest about his or her strengths and weaknesses, accepting responsibility for both actions and the impact of those actions,” Benjamin said. “Trust is built when team members understand that they are expected to do what they’re assigned and/or have agreed to, delivering on time, on budget and with the best outcome possible.”
“Great leadership is about showing your people that there is more in them than they know: so they'll be unwilling to settle for less,” coach and author Barry Maher said. Maher inherited a team that was very dysfunctional, but by getting to know their strengths and showing he had high expectations, he inspired his employees to meet those expectations.
The team leader needs to be modelling and encouraging the right behaviours including trust, loyalty, high expectations and appropriate interpersonal communication. Organizational development consultant Dr Arron Grow said leaders needed to set the boundaries, and shouldn’t let team members get away with “non-team” behaviour.
See page two for the final five steps - including reward, recognize and have fun.