Building a team starts with team commitment. You need to get the commitment of the team leader, the members, and other stakeholders. Many team-building exercises fail because the people involved are not committed to their tasks and to each other.
1. When you decide to hold your team building workshop, begin with a contract or agreement with a trainer. If you are using your in-house trainers, you must get their commitment to helping you conduct your team building workshop. Seek his expertise so that you can present well your objectives to your boss.
2. Get the commitment of your boss to support your team building initiatives. Show him the benefits of having your team building exercises. It may increase revenue, reduce cost, help build a relationship, or prepare your team for the future. When your boss is committed, he can sponsor your initiatives. Your boss is your best ally.
3. If you are hiring a team building facilitator, hire those who do understand what they are doing. In the Philippines, many managers have the habit of “canvassing” for the team building modules instead of qualifying expert facilitators. You do not begin building a team by buying modules because team building is not a product, but a process that will help you equip your team to perform effectively. Think of it as an intervention or a solution.
Canned team building programs are for everyone, and what is for everyone is to no one. Your team building expert should be able to help you design and develop your solutions- yes, even the ones which are not yet existing.
Get your facilitators’ commitment to help you through the process. Facilitators who are too busy to explain what you need to know aren’t facilitators.
Remember this: a team building workshop must be tailor-fit to your team because your team is unique.
Remember this also: your contract with your team building facilitator must include the assessment, design, development, implementation, and evaluation of your team building program. You must not shortchange yourself. You do not save money by short-circuiting the team-building process.
4. Once you and the trainer have inked your contract, you and the trainer need to work with other key stakeholders to get their support. I do not require this, but other stakeholders need to know that a team building workshop will be conducted.
For example, I usually interview senior managers and the CEO. They will provide useful input about what your team needs to accomplish in your team building workshop. This will give me a view from the top. Also, other stakeholders may provide me information about challenges which you, the team leader, are not aware of.
5. More importantly, you have to get the commitment of your team members. You can start by asking them to answer some questions:
a. What do you think is the purpose of our team?
b. What support do you need from our team?
c. What supports our team can expect from you?
d. What do you like most about our team when it comes to performance?
e. What do you like most about our team when it comes to relationships?
f. What change do you want to see in our team?
Avoid the wrong road.
This is a common mistake. In my eight years of helping organizations build teams, many managers think that team building is a great opportunity to chill and relax. Others consider team building as an opportunity to exorcise the bad attitude of some team members. They pray that through inspirational speeches, team members will change the heart and be more committed to meeting the business objectives of the organization.
It is common that people go to a team building workshop clueless about the objectives of the event and hoping that their team building will not be as boring as last year’s.
Nine of ten people hired me because of the descriptions in my team building workshops. I will be saving time and earning more money by simply delivering the same programs again and again. But that is not okay.
That is not the best way to help customers.Customers have ideas about their problems, but sometimes they do not know how team building workshops can really help them. They need to know that process so they can maximize resources, time, and energy.
Team building begins with a commitment from everyone.
Getting the commitment of everyone: the management, your trainers, your members, the customers, and other stakeholders will put you on the right track. Team building is a contact sport.
Ensure the success of your efforts by bringing everyone to your side.