A team is any group that has one or more objectives which must be achieved through the combined efforts of the group members. Corporate Insights conducts teambuilding with executive teams, cross-functional teams, departmental teams and project teams. We work with new, re-organized, ongoing and virtual/multi-location teams. We also conduct team building with pairs of individuals who need to work together more effectively.
Teambuilding focuses initially on clarifying the problems and challenges facing the team. Team members then work together on addressing the issues that have surfaced, using structured activities that help create a climate of trust, openness, resource sharing and risk-taking. Teambuilding is geared towards helping a team improve and maximize its results and is directly related to the needs, strengths, barriers and issues of the particular team. Issues that are often addressed in a teambuilding engagement include:
- Communication and Team Roles
- Leadership and Skills to Accomplish Results
- Commitment and Response to Obstacles
- Strategy and Response to External Challenges
- Feedback and Response to Internal Conflict
- Creativity and Approach to Innovation
- Team Meetings and Approach to Problem Solving
- Development and Approach to Learning
- Commitment and Approach to Tasks
Consultants meet with the contact person (typically the team leader or Human Resources leader) to discuss the needs, issues and objectives of the team. We discuss how to involve and motivate team members for a teambuilding program – and how the program will be communicated and initiated. This is followed by a staff meeting, where the teambuilding concept is explained and clarified. Team members are then given the opportunity to ask questions and share their concerns. The objective is to finish the meeting with each member understanding the value and the process of teambuilding. If there is “buy in,” individual interviews are conducted with each group member. This begins the Assessment Phase, in which the consultants obtain members’ perspectives of the team’s issues, strengths, weaknesses, and goals. Members may be asked to complete various instruments so that the data can be reviewed later. The summarized results, and the objectives and plan for teambuilding are presented and reviewed first with the team leader and then with the group. This collaborative data gathering or Assessment Phase begins the process of molding a cohesive team.
The Implementation Phase is generally recommended for the most effective and sustaining teambuilding program. This phase begins with a two-day off-site workshop. This is often followed by a one-day program in three to four months. This two-phase program permits the team to work on its issues and develop its strengths over time, and affords members the opportunity to practice and then solidify their new skills.
The approach is both cognitive and experiential. Team members have the opportunity to interact and to use each other as sources of information and support. While we can create a positive learning climate, team members are asked to participate and be responsible for their own learning. In our workshops, we typically draw from a range of resources and methodologies, such as: group interactions, discussions, simulations, activities, videos, and personality instruments. If team members are committed to working seriously during the teambuilding process, we guarantee the team will operate more effectively at the conclusion of the program.
The Use of Outdoor Challenge Activities
Very often we use outdoor challenge activities in our teambuilding workshops. We have found that these activities enhance the group’s ability to create a more open and trusting climate and resolve issues that have blocked the team. The activities are chosen and specifically designed to mirror the team’s issues. In addition, by debriefing each activity, members and the team develop communication and conflict resolution norms that they use when working and problem-solving back in the office.
An evaluation component is recommended as part of the teambuilding design. Team members are asked to complete a brief evaluation form after each teambuilding session. The data are summarized and fed back to the team.