To begin, it’s wise to determine if your team needs a teambuilding program in the first place. Conducting a teambuilding session because, “We haven’t done one in a while.” or holding teambuilding sessions such as a romp at the local bowling alley or flying across the forest on a zip line are not all that successful. Moreover, these really don’t work if they are supposed to be seen as a reward for hard work. In addition, there are many more creative ways to help build and bond your team. So before jumping in to teambuilding willy nilly, here are some questions to ask that will help determine if a teambuilding session is needed.
Determining if Your Team Needs a Team building Session
Does the team have strong leadership? Regardless of how strong the team is, without leadership the team will go adrift.
- Rregardless of how strong the team is, without leadership the team will go adrift.
- While there are plenty of “Is” in the team, do members find self-seeking glory to be more important?
- Is conflict avoided at any cost?
- Does the team have a set of clearly defined goals? Or if the goals are clearly defined, have team members lost the focus of and on those goals?
- Are a few team members bearing the load of the work?
- Is there a lack of information sharing?
- Is there a lack of accountability?
- Is there a lack of trust?
- Is the team unable to make decisions?
- Are you spending more time on team problems than the team is being productive?
The answers to these questions will help you determine if you should be in the market for a teambuilding session.
If you find legitimate reason for a teambuilding, the next step is to create a team that can help build the session to target the needs of the team, each team member, and the organization.
Finding a Good Teambuilding Program and Facilitator
If teambuilding is needed, the success of any teambuilding needs to involve a three-pronged approach, management, the facilitator, and the team. Each of these contributors have specific items for which they should be held accountable before, during, and after the teambuilding session(s).
The Team’s Role in Teambuilding
Involving the team, both as a unit and the individuals is key. Including the team might beg the question, if the team is already dysfunctional, what input could they provide? Consider this, perhaps a lack of input is a contributing factor to the team’s dysfunction. Further, garnering the team’s input illustrates that individual contributions and the tam as whole are valued. Moreover, connecting in this manner serves to increase motivation.
- Provide feedback on the current status of the team. For example, forming, storming, norming.
- Provide feedback on any of 10 questions below or any others that might be asked for example in a survey.
- Participate in any assessments or surveys before, during, or after a teambuilding session.
- Help establish objectives for the session
- Ensure that strategic initiatives are included in the program
Management’s Role in Teambuilding
When managers become involved in the teambuilding process of helping to determine team needs and selecting the facilitator, a real sense of commitment is fostered. The team members are more motivated and more likely to commit to the success of the program.
- Management must be committed to the process, program, and follow-up
- Help select the facilitator. This can be done through interviews, or at the very least a review of bios and credentials.
- Ensure that organizational business goals are included in the program
- Participate in a formal debriefing session
- Put together, with the assistance of the facilitator a follow-up development program that can include coaching, training, and consultations on development needs.
The Facilitator’s Role in Teambuilding
It is not necessary that the facilitator that is selected have direct industry experience. What the facilitator does need is some level of business savvy, a willingness to understand the culture, climate, and strategic initiatives of the organization. Further, the facilitator must have in depth knowledge and experience in human behavior.
- Ask if the assessments the facilitator intends to use are valid, reliable, and scientifically based.
- Will the facilitator’s credentials be accepted by the participants?
- Ensure that the facilitator is comfortable addressing both individual and team behaviors, and goals during the process.
- Evaluates each session and provides a formal evaluation at the end of the teambuilding.
- Provides recommendations for on-going teambuilding with built-in check in dates for six-months or a year.
- Provides coaching as part of the teambuilding process
- Provides several team meetings for six to 12 months.
- Ensures that business strategies are incorporated in the teambuilding session(s)
Clearly it is not productive to hold teambuilding sessions without a real need. The teambuilding team needs to help ensure that exercises and program content are targeted to specific needs and produce clear learning objectives. That’s not to say they can’t be fun or contain a bit of humor. On the other hand, what does taking a group of people out for a day of misery shooting paint balls prove or even contribute to a team’s development both for the team members and the group as a whole?
Today, teambuilding must be needed, go deeper, be a part of business strategy, and provide individual development. The team, management, and the facilitator form a team to meet those needs. Further, success is much more likely as they all own a piece of responsibility for the planning, execution, and follow-up of teambuilding.