Developing Trust From Team Building

After a bit of a hiatus in team building I am now being asked to source options for clients across various sectors. I wondered whether this represents a general shift in company attitudes to their internal events, are they becoming recognised as a valuable element of staff motivation and team cohesion, or are they still perceived as ‘something we should do’?

To get most value from the exercise I always consider:

  • What are the dynamics within the group?

  • What are the objectives for holding the teambuilding exercise?

  • What skills do they want to test?

  • What behaviours do they want to review?

  • What is the time frame?

  • How will the outcomes and learning points be translated back at the office?

When selected correctly the results can surprise – comfort zones are breached, communication happens and the hierarchy disappears. What seemed daunting during the briefing can be mastered with a group’s determination, preparation and communication.

A Case Study:

One client has an internal talent pool for whom regular meetings are held throughout the year, each one comprising a team building element. No two activities are the same, for example

  • Physical activities – white water rafting, track days, outward bound

  • More cerebral – raft building, unravelling stories with riddles

  • Learning new skills – circus show, velodrome cycling, cooking tasks

Activities were selected for assorted objectives, for example to foster good working relationships, break down internal silos, improve communications and observe leadership skills. Most importantly they want the group to have fun – those who play together stay together!

The benefits of taking part in regular team building was evident at a recent meeting when a bunch of new members joined the group. The newbies had met twice before however when put with the bigger, more settled, group the results stood for themselves:

The group was split into five teams: three from the existing group and two from the new group. They then had to undertake five varied activities calling on all their skills, physical and mental, and they were ranked 1 – 5 by activity at the end of the day.

Light bulb moment!

In 14 out of 15 instances the existing three teams filled the top three slots.

Because they are now used to working as a team they communicate well, they know each other and they TRUST each other. This way they can make a leap of faith when decision making, they know offence won’t be taken to their suggestions and they can just ‘get on with it’ as a TEAM.

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