What in the world is team-building; and how does it help develop high-quality teams, businesses, and organizations? Not sure? Let’s take a look.
Most of the companies I worked for in the private sector did not have team building. Not really. Yes, they would have events where teams would gather, celebrate victories, and talk about next year’s priorities. Yet, that’s not quite it.
Here is the definition of team building.
the action or process of causing a group of people to work together effectively as a team, especially by means of activities and events designed to increase motivation and promote cooperation.
Ah. Do you see the distinction? Team building is about learning how to work together, to collaborate, build morale, and develop cooperation. Team building is about movement. Simple. Yet, many teams, businesses, and organizations miss the opportunity to develop their people. Why?
In the article, Moving From Concept to Execution: Implementing Developmental Growth Opportunities at Work, I talk about the importance of developing people on your team, and in your business, or organization. I think we can all agree that team building, as defined here, is important to teams, right?
Well, why then do you suppose businesses and organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, miss the opportunity to create developmental opportunities, like team building, for their employees?
There are a couple of different reasons.
- Everyone in the business or organization is stuck in the weeds.
- Developmental opportunities are not prioritized.
- Team building opportunities are only prioritized for leadership.
- Lack of funding support, or team building does not make the budget.
Alright, let’s take each reason and discuss how, in fact, the implementation of team building would alleviate the reasons businesses and organizations are using to justify not incorporating team building into their business models.
Reason 1: Everyone in the Business or Organization is Stuck in the Weeds
Sometimes the day-to-day operations are known and openly acknowledged as the reason teams, businesses, and organizations do not implement team building. Sometimes it is not, yet is still the reason.
Either way, team building is actually an activity, more a system, that can get teams, businesses, and organizations out of the weeds, or day-to-day operations, for the day, yes, and forevermore.
High-quality team building can be created and delivered to create more balance between the day-to-day and strategy. In fact, in the article, 7 Keys to Balancing Strategic Thinking with the Day-to-Day Operations of Your Team, Business, or Organization, I write about 7 keys to this balance, all of which were honed by team building.
As you can see, the reason used to justify not doing team building is the exact same reason why team building is so important. If your team, business, or organization cannot balance operations day-to-day with strategy, they will only ever reproduce what was previously done. Static. Which, of course, does not move teams, businesses, or organizations forward.
Reason 2: Developmental opportunities are not prioritized
Developmental opportunities being prioritized below other strategic objectives is very common; and is a paradox. It is a paradox because, yes, there are other strategic objectives that are very important; yet, making the conscious choice to include team, business, and organizational development into the strategic objectives will take everyone further in the pursuit of those objectives.
People need the opportunity to develop. They need the chance to get outside of their comfort zone, stretch, and see the team, business, or organization in a new way.
When we have the opportunity to see things from a new perspective, we also have the chance to create new ways to be and to work.
When we learn new ways to be and to work, we create the possibility of moving our teams, businesses, and teams toward our strategic objectives in new ways. Ways that, prior to team building, were previously unavailable. Why?
It’s not that people don’t want to see new ways to move the team, business, or organization towards the realization of those objectives. It’s not. They do. Yet, they need the space to do so. They need the opportunity to put their regular work down for the day, and think differently. To think strategically. So important.
If you are wondering how to create space to think differently about your team’s, businesses, or organization’s priorities within the context of developing team building opportunities, take a look at Creating Movement in Your Team, Business, or Organization: 3 Steps in 3 Minutes.
3. Team building opportunities are only prioritized for leadership
As was aforementioned, I’ve worked for companies, large ones, that run their organizations this way. Not a demerit or a problem. Rather an opportunity. An opportunity to create a new way for teams, businesses, and organizations to think about their priorities.
Think it about it this way. Leaders, lead, yes? Well, in order to lead the way for staff, and to pull them toward you, they need the opportunity to learn more.
Learn more about themselves, and their work. To grow. When they have the opportunity to grow, their work efficiencies and output will increase.
Further, when leaders are the only ones that have the opportunity to grow, the gap between the “leadership team,” and the rest of the team, business, or organization will widen. Not helpful.
Everyone needs to grow. When everyone grows, everything that the team, business, or organization is working to accomplish will also grow. Grow towards meeting the priorities, objectives, and goals everyone is working on. Moving together.
4. Lack of funding support, or team building does not “make” the budget
Ever said, or heard, we don’t have the budget for that? We all have. However, I am inviting you to think differently about the necessity and need for team building. If we see team building as creating the possibility of moving our teams, businesses, and organizations closer to our strategic objectives, we can always afford it. Always.
Further, given the fact that COVID-19 will continue to be a reality for all of us, the need to spend quality time with our teams is, and will continue to be of utmost importance.
We have a choice. We can resist our current reality, and become more frustrated. Or, we can embrace our reality, yes, even as it continues to shift, and persist. In the article, 4 Keys to Creating Persistence in the Face of Resistance Through Acceptance for Yourself, and Your Team, Business, or Organization, I write about the need to accept and persist. Important.
If we don’t have budget authority, or budget making capabilities in our current roles, we can persist in advocating for team building, even when we’ve been told no, or not at this time. We can continue to create team building as a possibility.
If we are the budget managers, we can simply find the budget to make team building a reality for our teams, businesses, and organizations.
We can choose to make development and growth a priority.
Remember, when you develop, your team, business, or organization develops. Likewise, when your team, businesses, and organization develops, you develop. Reciprocity. And, when everyone is developing, the team, business, and organization will hit their numbers, and meet their priorities, objectives, and goals more effectively and efficiently.
In short, you will be actively creating movement and eventual traction for everyone, including your end user and customers, clients, and the community in general.
Be well. Create well. Lead well.
Linn-Benton Community College’s Extended Learning Department specializes in Corporate Training, including individual leadership coaching, and team building, for all teams, businesses, and organizations. For more information on team building, you can contact Terri Houde at email@example.com, or Jeff Flesch at firstname.lastname@example.org.