Investing in a team can be a well-intentioned yet frustrating exercise for any leader looking to effect a permanent and positive change.
The ‘team building’ market is flooded with providers offering everything from abseiling to zorbing but when the initial morale boost provided by undertaking these team experiences fades, misaligned teams invariably drop back into their old habits and their performance suffers.
To effect real and lasting change in any team building session we believe you need to undertake the following 3 steps:
Part 1. Tell them
Build greater collective awareness by introducing a common language to the team through the use of a recognised psychometric tool such as MBTI, Everything DiSC or Insights Discovery.
A qualified practitioner can typically introduce a psychometric tool to a group in just a couple of hours. Supported by some of the superb behavioural reports in the marketplace a morning session of any of the afore mentioned psychometric tools can equip teams with a lens with which to examine and then discuss the behaviours at play with their team.
Although very different all of the market leading psychometric tools celebrate the inherent strength that comes from a diversity of styles, behaviours and preferences within any team. When the differences in working styles within a team are presented in such a positive light the resulting improvement in group awareness enables team members to move from resenting those differences to celebrating and valuing them.
Part 2. Show them
Shine a spotlight on the team’s current state through a series of engaging and insightful team simulation exercises underpinned by a recognised psychometric tool such as MBTI, Everything DiSC or Insights Discovery.
The Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, is reputed to have said "Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." – In short Chekov was saying “Don’t tell me - show me!”
Don’t make the mistake of telling people about how an effective team should look and sound and then leave the session there. Show your team how they are actually working together – no matter how experienced or senior a team might be, a well-pitched team exercise underpinned by psychometrics can be an excellent vehicle for shining light on dysfunction, disharmony and poor teamwork.
This element hinges on the quality, tone and delivery of the team building exercise. A team exercise must be credible, professional and be team appropriate. A poor exercise gives team members a ‘get of jail free’ card – “this is a waste of time”, “it’s unrealistic”, “I don’t see how this is relevant?!” Poorly pitched team building activities are counterproductive and can reverse the gains made earlier in the day. Conversely a powerful exercise can facilitate a level of group realisation that something needs to change and indeed a final capitulation to the need for Part 3 of the process.
Part 3. Listen to them
Facilitate a group discussion aimed at formulating a series of practical steps that the team can agree on, commit to and be individually held accountable for, in the pursuit of a more effective team.
By choosing a more meaningful team building session you have earned the right to enjoy this part. With a common language in place from Part 1 and having demonstrated the need for change in Part 2 it’s time to reap the benefits of your team building session and make the improvements that will take your team to the top.
We’ve seen team leaders try to initiate these conversations after handing their team a fistful of free profile reports off the internet, after an hour of go karting or worst still after too much alcohol – in short they haven’t done the ground work and they haven’t yet earned the right.
When we speak to disenchanted team leaders they will typically say, “Team building is a waste of time and money as it doesn’t get results!” “Not so!” we reply, “you just haven’t worked with EML yet.”