The lore of triumphant underdog occupies an important place in the History of Sports. A massive payroll or the best talent on paper doesn’t guarantee bringing home the grail. More often than not, the key word associated with winning is chemistry. However, a collection of individuals with different roles and responsibilities – or even skills and abilities – certainly can’t be construed as your typical science experiment.
Winning is largely a function of individual attitude, combined with a shared sense of respect, trust, and accountability. When mixing those attributes with respected leadership and an organizational culture that creates a meaningful definition of team, winning is a probable outcome.
While your goal may not be to win a Stanley Cup, managing a happy, productive and profitable business shouldn’t be taken lightly. If creating and managing a great team were easy, then every business would be happy, productive, and profitable . But sadly, the harsh reality is that business failures are primarily due to failures in effective leadership.
An individual showing up at work and going through the motions for a paycheck (with the occasional donut day tossed in for good measure) simply isn’t an equation for building a winning team. Uniting a group, developing strengths, and addressing weaknesses are key to effective team building exercises.
The first step is to identify a real purpose, such as improving the team’s insights to innovation, or communication skills. Team building exercises are only productive and meaningful when they are well planned and executed strategically – otherwise, why do them?
The second, most vital step is to identify and acknowledge the challenges facing your team. This way, you can align your team building exercises towards effectively helping your team work towards winning outcomes. Be candid with yourself! Here are some questions to ask:
How well do team members know each other?
Do people work well together?
Is poor communication impairing the group’s success?
Are there conflicts creating divisive environment?
Does the drive for individual success fracture group harmony?
Are reward structures and incentives at odds with team development?
Are people resistant to change? How does this impact the team?
If you were a competitive athlete, there is no way that occasional training would get you to the top – you’d be training almost daily! Simply put, a combination of regular, continuous training and exercise gives you the best shot at winning. Team building works the same way. Planning one or two events per year is a waste of time. With regular ‘training’ and follow-up, you’ll have a team that’s both fit to compete and in shape for long-term success.
In future blogs we’ll explore some great team building exercises to align with these questions.
“The ratio of We’s to I’s is the best indicator of the development of a team” – Lewis B. Ergan