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 team building assessments 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.
Our team building assessment program 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 to facilitate a climate of trust, openness, resource sharing and risk-taking. Team building is geared towards helping a team improve and maximize its results; it is directly related to the needs, strengths, barriers and issues of the particular team. Issues that are often addressed in a team building 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 team building program – and collaborate on how the program will be communicated and initiated. This is followed by a staff meeting, in which the team building concept is explained and clarified. Team members are then given the opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns. The objective is to finish the meeting with each member understanding the value and the process of team building. If the members buy in, individual interviews are conducted with each group member. This begins the Assessment Phase, during 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 examined. The summarized results, objectives and plan for team building are presented and discussed with the team leader and then with the group. This collaborative data gathering or Team Building Assessment Phase begins the process of molding a cohesive team.
The Implementation Phase
This next step is generally recommended for the most effective and sustaining team building program. The phase begins with a two-day off-site workshop. This is often followed by a one-day program three to four months later. This two-phase program permits the team to work on its issues and develop its strengths over time, thus affording 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. Team members are asked to participate and be responsible for their own learning while we create a positive learning climate. In our workshops, we typically draw from a range of resources and methodologies, such as: group interactions, discussions, simulations, activities, videos, and personality instruments.
Very often, we use outdoor challenge activities in our team building 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.If team members are committed to working seriously during the team building process, we guarantee the team will operate more effectively at the conclusion of the program.
An evaluation component is recommended as part of the team building program design. Team members are asked to complete a brief evaluation form after each team building workshop session. The data are summarized and fed back to the team. This reflection methodology often enables team members to track their progress and improve over time.