Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Will having a Teambuilding Event Help your staff?

With the recent Merdeka celebrations, the citizens of Malaysia were shown being united and living in harmony despite some minor incidences that showed otherwise. As a nation, there are those who express patriotism openly either by displaying the national flag or declaring their undying love for the country. Then are those who love their country just as much but are just not into being as expressive and there are still those that put the country down no matter how good they've got it. For a country to be united, all the citizens should work together to bring the country forward.

The same goes with a company. It's all in the state of mind and personal drive. There are those who will work extra hard because they believe that this will work in their benefit, and are there are those who just enjoy complaining without getting any much work done.

It's usually the Managements' belief that one teambuilding session or workshop can change the mental state of those who are not working in harmony with the company hence not being as productive as they should be. Teambuilding sessions do help but companies need to know that the whole outlook of the company - it's mission, values and objectives are there to ensure that positive change is being implemented continuously.

Symptoms that Signal a Need for Team Building

Decreased productivity
Conflicts or hostility among staff members
Confusion about assignments, missed signals, and unclear relationships
Decisions misunderstood or not carried through properly
Apathy and lack of involvement
Lack of initiation, imagination, innovation; routine actions taken for solving complex problems
Complaints of discrimination or favoritism
Ineffective staff meetings, low participation, minimally effective decisions
Negative reactions to the manager
Complaints about quality of service from clients

Successful team building, that creates effective, focused work teams, requires attention to the 12Cs below as identified by Susan M. Heithfield.

Clear Expectations: Has executive leadership clearly communicated its expectations for the team’s performance and expected outcomes? Do team members understand why the team was created? Is the organization demonstrating constancy of purpose in supporting the team with resources of people, time and money? Does the work of the team receive sufficient emphasis as a priority in terms of the time, discussion, attention and interest directed its way by executive leaders?

Context: Do team members understand why they are participating on the team? Do they understand how the strategy of using teams will help the organization attain its communicated business goals? Can team members define their team’s importance to the accomplishment of corporate goals? Does the team understand where its work fits in the total context of the organization’s goals, principles, vision and values?

Commitment: Do team members want to participate on the team? Do team members feel the team mission is important? Are members committed to accomplishing the team mission and expected outcomes? Do team members perceive their service as valuable to the organization and to their own careers? Do team members anticipate recognition for their contributions? Do team members expect their skills to grow and develop on the team? Are team members excited and challenged by the team opportunity?

Competence: Does the team feel that it has the appropriate people participating? (As an example, in a process improvement, is each step of the process represented on the team?) Does the team feel that its members have the knowledge, skill and capability to address the issues for which the team was formed? If not, does the team have access to the help it needs? Does the team feel it has the resources, strategies and support needed to accomplish its mission?

Charter: Has the team taken its assigned area of responsibility and designed its own mission, vision and strategies to accomplish the mission. Has the team defined and communicated its goals; its anticipated outcomes and contributions; its timelines; and how it will measure both the outcomes of its work and the process the team followed to accomplish their task? Does the leadership team or other coordinating group support what the team has designed?

Control: Does the team have enough freedom and empowerment to feel the ownership necessary to accomplish its charter? At the same time, do team members clearly understand their boundaries? How far may members go in pursuit of solutions? Are limitations (i.e. monetary and time resources) defined at the beginning of the project before the team experiences barriers and rework?

Is the team’s reporting relationship and accountability understood by all members of the organization? Has the organization defined the team’s authority? To make recommendations? To implement its plan? Is there a defined review process so both the team and the organization are consistently aligned in direction and purpose? Do team members hold each other accountable for project timelines, commitments and results? Does the organization have a plan to increase opportunities for self-management among organization members?

Collaboration: Does the team understand team and group process? Do members understand the stages of group development? Are team members working together effectively interpersonally? Do all team members understand the roles and responsibilities of team members? team leaders? team recorders? Can the team approach problem solving, process improvement, goal setting and measurement jointly? Do team members cooperate to accomplish the team charter? Has the team established group norms or rules of conduct in areas such as conflict resolution, consensus decision making and meeting management? Is the team using an appropriate strategy to accomplish its action plan?

Communication: Are team members clear about the priority of their tasks? Is there an established method for the teams to give feedback and receive honest performance feedback? Does the organization provide important business information regularly? Do the teams understand the complete context for their existence? Do team members communicate clearly and honestly with each other? Do team members bring diverse opinions to the table? Are necessary conflicts raised and addressed?

Creative Innovation: Is the organization really interested in change? Does it value creative thinking, unique solutions, and new ideas? Does it reward people who take reasonable risks to make improvements? Or does it reward the people who fit in and maintain the status quo? Does it provide the training, education, access to books and films, and field trips necessary to stimulate new thinking?

Consequences: Do team members feel responsible and accountable for team achievements? Are rewards and recognition supplied when teams are successful? Is reasonable risk respected and encouraged in the organization? Do team members fear reprisal? Do team members spend their time finger pointing rather than resolving problems? Is the organization designing reward systems that recognize both team and individual performance? Is the organization planning to share gains and increased profitability with team and individual contributors? Can contributors see their impact on increased organization success?

Coordination: Are teams coordinated by a central leadership team that assists the groups to obtain what they need for success? Have priorities and resource allocation been planned across departments? Do teams understand the concept of the internal customer—the next process, anyone to whom they provide a product or a service? Are cross-functional and multi-department teams common and working together effectively? Is the organization developing a customer-focused process-focused orientation and moving away from traditional departmental thinking?

Cultural Change: Does the organization recognize that the team-based, collaborative, empowering, enabling organizational culture of the future is different than the traditional, hierarchical organization it may currently be? Is the organization planning to or in the process of changing how it rewards, recognizes, appraises, hires, develops, plans with, motivates and manages the people it employs?

Does the organization plan to use failures for learning and support reasonable risk? Does the organization recognize that the more it can change its climate to support teams, the more it will receive in pay back from the work of the teams?

One teambuilding event won't be able to solve all problems at one go so it's important to know what your company wants to achieve from the first teambuilding event and have the event company customize the activities in order to achieve this objective. When the company is satisfied that the staff is responding well, they can then slowly introduce other positive changes.

Teambuilding is not just about playing games and having fun while building relationships. It's about uniting staff towards the same goal- the moving forward of a company.

About the Author

Best Events

Author & Editor

Based in Malaysia, Best Events specializes in Conferences, Seminars, Murder Mystery Dinners, Gala Dinners and Team Building events.


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