Join Todd Dewett for an in-depth discussion in this video Recharging with team building, part of Motivating and Engaging Employees.
- There are many ways to try and recharge the team and build camaraderie. From celebrations to service projects in the community. One of the most popular traditionally is team building. Team building refers to fun, non-work activities the team engages to support individual development, positive communication, leaderships skills, and the ability to work more productively together as a team. This can happen during work hours or after, on site or away from the office, and team building might be part of a larger retreat or serve as a stand alone activity.
To effectively plan a team building retreat, remember to address these three issues. First, be sure to include a few employees in the planning process. As always, you're wise to get the team involved to generate buy-in. Next, have a frank conversation about current team performance issues. Your goal is to try and focus on two or three team dynamics that might be great targets for team building activities. The next task is to select the specific activities to be used at the actual retreat.
If you're using consultants to plan and execute everything, make sure they include relevant managers and employees from your team during the planning stage so you can be sure that activities match the team's personality. There are many different types of fun, learning oriented activities you can use in a team building event. They might include simple things such as board games, or silly activities like blindfolded building competitions. Depending on how much complexity you feel the team can handle, and still enjoy, team building exercises can include detailed simulations in multiday formats.
In any case, the major types of skill areas targeted typically include things such as communication skills, building trust, problem solving, creativity, dealing with conflict, and embracing change. After great planning, it's time to execute. At the actual event, remember these important components. First, the event should begin with a brief welcome and introduction. Relevant thank yous can be offered and the various players in the room can be identified. Next, jump right into clarifying the goals of the event.
Be sure, right up front, to signal to everyone that while we'll have lot of fun, the ultimate goal is learning, so that we might return to the office slightly better than we left. This is followed by stating any norms or expectations for the day. It's useful to explicitly state the expectation that people will engage in the activities. Speak up. Stay positive. Avoid using their smartphones all day, or any other guidelines you feel they should hear. Next, introduce the facilitator for the day. A facilitator may be from inside the team, elsewhere in the organization, or an outside specialist brought in just to facilitate the event.
Their job is to orchestrate the day. To get people where they need to be on time, to introduce the activities, referee the activities, and finally, to debrief each activity. Let's talk a but more about debriefing an activity. Following each activity, the team should gather around and engage in a short focus conversation about what just happened led by the facilitator. It doesn't have to take more than five or ten minutes, but it's very important that we not only have fun with the activity, but also learn something useful as well.
The facilitator will note some of the behaviors they observed and how they have parallels to our behaviors as a team back in the office. Capturing the main learning points on a flip chart, or smart board, will help reinforce learning during the debrief. Last, but not least, there needs to be one overall debrief session at the end of the event. Here you have a chance to summarize the topics discussed and to highlight the major takeaways. The goal is to once more reinforce all learning points, and also to explicitly discuss ways to use what was learned back in the office.
This might be a new norm you've all agreed to adopt. Or maybe it's a funny sculpture that each person created as a part of one of the activities that would serve as a great visual reminder of lessons learned. It's your call. Feel free to be creative. But be sure to agree on how you'll take the learning with you after the event it over. Team building can be a great way to reinvigorate the team. It's about shaking up routines, laughing, and of course, learning. Follow the tips we just discussed and give your team the pick me up it deserves.
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- Assessing employee engagement
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- Modeling desired behavior
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- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.