Team Building: Effective or not?

The ability to share and leverage knowledge of others is separating successful organisations from those that fail. While it is possible to create the systems and structures that support the transfer of information, turning that into knowledge requires teamwork.

Winning teams are developed by design and nurtured through continuous effort such as team-building / strengthening activities.

The trend in team-building recently has seen adrenaline rush activities such as team-bungee jumping, paint-ball wars and white river rafting become the norm. But are they likely to cause lasting change in the quality of work relationships at the office?

The issue of physical prowess is almost impossible to eliminate as a major contributor to success in these types of programmes. What is needed is a training method that eliminates the hierarchy of physical prowess and equalises the team members in a new and humanising environment.

The common belief that the higher the ‘rush’, the more powerful the team-building experience, is wrong. It is equal value and contribution, coupled with skilful debriefing around relationship dynamics, which moves a team forward. If a group is interdependent, but doesn't realize that the actions of the individual affect the group, then teambuilding activities will meet with resistance.

  • A further important factor to consider is timing when introducing team building interventions:
  • So what are the characteristics of a Good Team?
  • High level of interdependence among members
  • Leader has good people skills and is committed to team approach
  • Each member is willing to contribute
  • A relaxed climate for communication
  • Members develop a mutual trust
  • The group and individuals are prepared to take risks
  • Group is clear about goals and establishes targets
  • Member roles are defined
  • Members know how to examine errors without personal attacks
  • The group has capacity to create new ideas
  • Each member knows he can influence the agenda

Any teambuilding programme or activity should be focused on strengthening one or more of these characteristics. This is a good checklist to determine whether or not a programme will have value and lasting effects for your group.

Real team building occurs when prescribed behaviours lead to tangible benefits, not simply good feelings. Teambuilding activities should involve real tasks, in which each person has a stake. Challenges that require creative thinking and require new communication skills, are the only ones with true effect. Collaboration and communication improves because it has to in order for the team to invent an innovative solution. Teamwork, innovation and communication go hand-in-hand! Since the outcome directly affects each person, new team skills are much more likely to be repeated back at work.

Nothing reinforces behaviour like success on the job!

Contact LifeLine Corporate for a free assessment to see how we can assist your company reach its goals and manage your team effectiveness. Training is customised according to your needs and expectations and this can take place to either a 1 or 2 day programme

(011) 728-1331 or bernadette@lifelinejhb.org.za
www.lifelinecorporatetraining.co.za