Just the phrase “Team Building” can send shivers through your team… Forced fun combined with overzealous team mates and strenuous activity can send the very best of us into a blind panic. A day out of the office is great, but if this means standing in a muddy filed with lycra on whilst navigating an obstacle course, some would prefer a day of paperwork thanks! Team building can be incredibly motivating, but it can also be terribly demotivating if designed incorrectly.
Team building is not a new concept; we all understand the need to motivate a team so as to keep your brightest sparks sparking whilst adding rocket fuel to those not working at full throttle. Team building can bring people together, identify strengths and work on opportunities for development. But, it has to be done in a clever, thought provoking way.
The days of a quick treasure hunt and a ‘thank you’ drink doesn’t cut it anymore. There is still a place for a treasure hunt, but maybe one that’s a lot cooler and technology led. Team building has to be based upon the actual needs of your team.
So, how and what do you do?
Firstly, are you thanking your team, or motivating your team? These are very different. Thanking your team requires a reward, recognition and something that ‘treats’. Motivating your team is about getting everyone energised, motivated and inspired. The two can work together, but are very different. If motivation is the name of the game, then the next question is who are you motivating and why? Is there a disconnect within your team? Are some players more in tune with company objectives leaving others lagging behind? Performance is key here, how to maintain it and to grow it. The answers to these questions will create your end goal.
With your goal set, who are the team? What do they like? What don’t they like? This means getting to know your team and doing some research. Although pushing people out of their comfort zone is always powerful and can ultimately be inspirational, you have to be realistic on the capabilities of your team.
With any team building activity, it needs to be inclusive. Can everyone get involved? OK, they might not want to, but can they physically and mentally do what you are asking of them? No one wants to be the odd one out or the person unable to take part. This simply demotivates further and create divide within the team. Not good!
I would suggest always including your team in the team building and decision making process. Explain the reasoning behind the team building along with the hoped goals and objectives. Give them ideas to select from. Empowering the team you are motivating is the first step to the end game!
Learn about each and every member of your team. What are their strengths? What are their opportunities for development? Are there any common trends that go through the entire team that could be worked on?
I suggest balancing any team building activity with some fun towards the end. A bit of a thank you, a reward and some recognition always goes down very well. Although a competition with prizes can be exciting, it can also demotivate those that have tried ‘really hard’ yet failed to score a prize. The word ‘fail’ is really important here, as no one in a team building environment should feel like a failure. Personally, I think competitions with prizes can actually be detrimental to the majority.
Team building is a specialist process that requires a deep understanding of the team and a mature approach to the end goals. By employing an events agency such as Clearwater Events, your dedicated Events Manager can design, build and plan a bespoke activity that will get everyone firing on all cylinders!