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Building Teams: the Whys, the Whats, and Then the Hows of Authentic Teamwork—part I

Marci Crane asked:

Don’t get in a fuss over building teams. Building teams–surprisingly enough—is not based on specific rules, fancy team builder activities and/or games. Many business administrators or managers who have been assigned to build strong teams have learned this principle first hand. However, many of these same business administrators or managers are still looking for building teams instructions that will help them lead an authentic team.

What is an authentic team? I guess it could have any number of descriptions but I like to think of an authentic team as a team that:

1) really makes your business better (i.e. increase your R.O.I.)

2) really challenges each member in a variety of positive ways, and

3) really enjoys each other’s company—even outside of work

Is it possible?! Can this dream of building teams that win more than a corporate fairy tale that is vaguely promoted by the executive management?

Building Teams that are Successful Can Really Happen!

Take it from me my friends–an incredible team is a possibility but it doesn’t start with rules, activities and games. Why? Because rules, activities and games answer only one question:

How?

How what? Building Teams doesn’t start with HOW!

“How what?” you might ask and that is exactly the point. Too many corporate executives and team building organizations are working towards building teams by answering the HOW questions instead of educating their teams on the answers that can be supplied with the deeper more base-pyramidal questions of WHY and WHAT.

Whether you are the leader of an organization or a skilled and careful follower, wouldn’t you—in the midst of rope courses, dialogue role plays and confessional sessions—love to know WHY you are going through these circus-like endeavors? Wouldn’t you also like to know WHAT principles your training is based on—especially for your specific team? After all, it is probably safe to say that most intelligent employees would be far more motivated to jump over ropes and crawl through tunnels–literally or metaphorically–if they had a motivational understanding that extended past the boss’s immediate approval and their next pay check.

Wouldn’t you agree?

Let’s Start with WHY: Building Teams Starts with Attitude and Belief

Answering the question WHY is basically deciphering your own attitude or beliefs about WHY you want to build a team. For instance, when asking yourself WHY you want to work on building an effective team, you might say something like, “Because I believe, and want to express the attitude that an authentic tight-knit, friendly, well-trained, respectful and understanding team will naturally produce the byproducts of an effective business, a fun place to work, a more intellectually stimulating environment and employees who actually believe that what they are doing is truly worthwhile.”

So, what you believe will provide you with the answer to WHY and will motivate you to move forward. However, you still have to convince your team to believe—or at least act on substantially similar beliefs.

Building Teams with Your Team Members: Don’t Leave Them Behind

“Okay,” you might ponder, “Wouldn’t it seem obvious that everyone would believe that happier employees who worked smarter and more respectfully would naturally create a better business?” The answer is yes. Many people probably do believe what you believe, but think about how people act. How many people actually act on those beliefs? Standards today do not demand that they act on their beliefs, so many of them don’t, which leaves you in the position of selling them core beliefs or beliefs that they feel they are free to act on, expected to act on, and almost “have to” act on based on their own consciences. In other words, the first step of building teams is asking yourself WHY and then selling your core beliefs (and respective attitudes) to your team members without being pushy or compromising the use of coercion techniques which as many intelligent executives, administrators and managers know are not even worth the time it takes to conceive them.

At any rate it may seem tough, but building teams that are authentic can truly happen.

Want to learn more about the WHYS and the WHATS of building teams that are authentic? Take a look at Part II of “Building Teams: The WHYS, the WHATS, and then the HOWS of Authentic Teamwork.” (If you can’t find it, then simply “Google” the title of the article along with the author name).

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