The main purpose of team building is to ensure team success. Unfortunately, much of team building activities these days pay more attention to fun and games and less on results. Probably because training providers sell the packages, not the purposes of team building.
It is not an event, a collection of games, or an intellectual concept. Team building initiatives fail when organizers focus on rituals but ignore reasons, when they are obsessed with activities and ignore applications, when they think of games and forget goals.
You do not build the team the same way. You can do that with machines, but not with people. Those who use cookie-cutter approach to team building do not understand the purposes of team building.
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The first purpose is individual development. When professionals apply for jobs, they look forward to the opportunities to shine, to be on top, to be above others. They have their dreams and aspirations long before they join teams. They hold values which are likely different from each other.
Team building initiatives must speed up individual and professional growth. Many team-building programs emphasize that there is no “I” in teamwork. That is very wrong. Team building is not defined by how a word is spelled. Individuals should not disappear in a team. In five-star teams, team members become stars.
Give attention to their career growth. Provide team members with coaches and mentors. Help them achieve their personal dreams.
Allow uber achievers to start their own teams rather than keeping them to a team where there is no space for them to grow.
The second purpose is relationship building. Experiences have shown that grouping together high-performing individuals do not make high-performing teams. Oftentimes, the product is less than the sum of its parts.
High-performing individuals do not perform well when they work with people they do not trust and respect. They do not share knowledge and information with others who are threats to their success. They do not give their best shot when they know that others, not they, would be rewarded for their achievements.
Team building must build the relationship of people. It must convince members that each one plays an important role and they must complement each other. You must demonstrate that by helping each other, one works with the team can do more than working alone.
You must give attention to team competencies that build relationships. These are interpersonal communication, diversity, and participative leadership. You must also consider team attitudes like accountability, responsibility, respect, and trust.
The third purpose is corporate goal achievement. A team is created to achieve a goal. Team building increases their chances to succeed.
Team building programs run for the sake of fun are funny. Teams building exercises that emphasize the value of teamwork but do not contribute to the achievement of team goals are waste time, money, energy, and opportunities.
Make your team building simple and powerful.