Been There, Done That

By: Merrick Rosenberg

Blog - been there done that

Creating a positive and supportive team environment has never been more important.  A study by the Herman Group revealed that 85% of people were dissatisfied enough to change jobs within the next year. Couple these findings with those found by Career Systems International that 42% of people surveyed stated that they stay in their current organization because they are “working with great people.”

We know that happy people are more likely to stay in organizations than unhappy people.  Therefore, companies are increasingly looking for new ways to build teamwork, increase engagement, and boost morale.  

Make Team Building Engaging and New

The days of trust at corporate team building events are long gone.  However, this does not mean that the days of interactive team activities are over… quite the contrary.

As Jeff Backal, President of Team Builders Plus, stated, “We constantly strive to develop new and exciting team activities that allow people to experience, in a very real way, how their group functions as a team." 

Make Team Building a Process, Not an Event

In addition to making the content of a team building program engaging and enlightening, team members must accept that a day or two of team building will not turn them into the “perfect team.”  Therefore, steps need to be taken to make team building an ongoing developmental process.

One way to help increase accountability throughout the process is to have the team take a team survey at the beginning and end of the process.  This will help the group establish a concrete rating of the team’s effectiveness.  The results can also be used to not only guide session content, but also as the foundation for discussion to address the team’s core issues.

By thinking of the team development process as a project with a definable beginning and end, the group will have a specific time period to improve the environment and the way in which they work together.  By knowing that they will be assessed at a future date, the team is more likely to work towards achieving their goals, just as they would if this was any other project with a timeline and desired targets.

Team Building and Coaching Go Hand-in-Hand

In depth team development processes tap into the power of one-on-one coaching. Studies show that development without reinforcement is a waste of time and money.  All too often, people go to training programs and return to the office with good intentions, but no real plan to apply new skills and change behaviors. In the days that follow a team building program, participants can meet with the facilitator who coaches each person on committing to a set of behaviors or actions that will lead to team success. 

The coach will help each individual to identify potential obstacles to achieving team goals and “living” team ground rules established in the team building program.  Each person will also identify what he or she needs from management, as well as those behaviors that they may need to stop or start exhibiting.  The coaching sessions guide team members to take personal accountability for team success.

Team Building Gets Results

Organizations need to ensure that people are engaged.  Consider the following findings by the Gallop Organization:

  • 26% of the working US population is engaged.
  • 55% are not engaged (just putting in time).
  • 19% are actively disengaged.
  • The least engaged people miss 2x as many days/yr.
  • Highly engaged people are 9x more likely to stay.

Team building…if it’s done right… by integrating new and interesting activities with proven behavioral profiles, and comprehensive team assessment can make the difference between developing an engaged team that produces high quality results and a maintaining low-functioning team with high-turnover.