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Team building comes in many forms — and far too often, it is met with a groan of exasperation. If that’s the case with your team, you’re doing it incorrectly. Team building is an essential tool of any successful company, and when done right, it is fun, educational and helps to build camaraderie.
Each morning, my company has a team meetup. Those of us in the office gather together while our remote employees join us via conference call. We go over a number of items like accountability, project updates, celebration of successes, and a values message.
After these updates, I like to sneak in a little team-building exercise: I select one person and we go over different sales strategies. It’s a role-playing game where one of us plays the customer and the other plays the sales representative. By acting out the roles, we are able to take real-life scenarios and present them to the whole team. Then, the whole team can review the scenario and provide their feedback. How could we do things faster, better and sell more products?
The role-playing only takes a few minutes, but it’s one of the most effective sales tools I’ve ever used.
Why Bother With Team Building?
Team building comes at a cost: The key here is to think of it as an investment. The more thought and effort you put into it, the better the results. So, what do you want to get out of it?
- Motivation: Sometimes, all the team really needs is something fun to help recharge their energy. It’s amazing how people are motivated by continual learning. We crave it, whether we know it or not. As we learn new things, we get excited to implement that knowledge, even if it’s just a new spin on an old task.
- Breaking barriers: Most workplaces are filled with barriers — from the literal, like office doors and cubicle walls, to the figurative, like different departments or job levels. Team-building events bring people together and break down those barriers. When managers participate in team-building events, they start to become more integrated.
- Enjoyment: Team-building should always be fun: When it becomes a chore or an awkward situation that your employees feel forced into, you’ll lose many of the benefits. Do the research and put in the time to develop team-building events and exercises that are proven to be fun and elicit a little bit of laughter.
- Skill improvement: Here’s where you can really make your team-building effective. Identify specific skills that your team should brush up on; then, create your team-building ideas around those specific needs.
- Communication: Great teams know how to communicate. It’s that simple, but even great teams might need a refresher now and then. Look at games that require teammates to convey ideas and messages to each other effectively.
- Problem-solving: How do you get your team to think outside of the box? Every business has its challenges. Successful ones learn how to meet those challenges with creative thinking. The good news is that some of the most successful and fun team-building activities are built around improving problem-solving skills while promoting teamwork. Room-escape scenarios and scavenger hunts can make for memorable and productive experiences.
- Bonding: Perhaps what you want most is to see your team come together on a personal level. If that’s the case, keep it simple. Plan a happy hour or head out to a baseball game or concert. Low-key events where they are not expected to do anything more than hang out with colleagues leads to conversation and a more personal feel back at the office.
Consider Your Resources And Limitations
Many great team-building events occur off-site. If you are located near a great park or historic area, take advantage of it and theme your event around its features. If you prefer to stay in-house, try to create a space free from distractions.
Money is always a factor in team-building events. If your company has the budget for a big team-building event, such as a trip to a resort, go for it. If not, there are plenty of low-key ideas that will work. Just remember, team-building is an investment, not a luxury expense. Like exercise, team-building needs to be a continuous part of your routine to truly reap the benefits. The more you put in, the more your team will take away.
Your business relies on the skills and effort of your team. It’s up to you to help them find the skills and motivation to do their best and make your business shine.