Saturday, January 23, 2010

Team Building Pitfalls

My friend Anne Thornley-Brown of Corporate Team-Building and I have been speaking about team building and how to lead successful team development programs for some time now.

In her latest blog post Top 10 Team Building Pitfalls she lists areas of focus for any organization (corporate, community, youth, etc…) ought to be thoughtful of…you can read each of these in greater detail on Anne’s Blog;

  1. Failing to allocate sufficient time for planning
  2. Scheduling your session to end on a day before your weekend
  3. Choosing your venue before you have determined the content of your team building session
  4. Failing to stay where you intend to play
  5. Not factoring in the impact of weather and allowing extra time to get to your venue.
  6. Failing to allocate more time for your session if your group is highly analytical
  7. Not leaving wiggle time in your agenda
  8. Not giving people enough down time
  9. Failing to have an emergency plan
  10. Not scheduling checkpoints with your facilitator and involving your facilitator in problem solving

I would like to add one extra step – Constantly challenging your facilitator (team building provider) with the question of “How does this apply back to our work?”

A team building consultant (and not recreation specialist) will be able to facilitate, process, and empower your team to connect the dots and determine the relevance of what is being done to how it will improve their team.  You are paying for a program that is meant to increase team work and in turn make your organization more productive and successful. This requires purposeful discussions and initiatives that explore behaviors, habits, actions and processes that are embedded in the team. When the team building facilitator is working with the team every step, every process, every initiative, should have content and purpose that is focused on your team and goals.

A drum circle is great although beating a drum next to a co-worker is not going to create a stronger team unless there is a discussion about; How does this apply back to our work? The facilitator must be able to answer this at every part of the program.

Constantly challenge the facilitator with the question “How does this apply back to our work?” 

-Michael Cardus is the founder of Create-Learning-Team Building, an experiential based training and development consulting organization. Mike specializes in team development and leadership development consulting and training, creating team-building programs that retain talented staff members, increase production and effectiveness of your team. He lives in Buffalo, NY, and travels to you to serve your team-building and leadership training needs, wherever and whenever fits your schedule.