Paul Tobey asked:
There has been a lot of focus in recent years on team building. But what is it exactly and why is it important? Well, to make it really simple; when you work as a team you can accomplish more than if you’re on your own. It’s a lot easier pushing a horse cart up a hill if you have a team, that’s for darn sure. However, forming a dynamic team and getting them to work together is, more often than not, a very difficult task. That’s why many businesses are now hiring expert professionals to come into their organizations and do team building seminars.
What’s the biggest challenge to getting a team to work together? It’s simple. Ego! You, see it’s not that people don’t want to work together it’s that the human mind has been conditioned to look for weakness in others. Why? Because, the mind wants to feel good about itself.
In a competitive environment, the mind is constantly judging others. And, while that temporarily makes you feel better about your own situation, in the long term you are setting yourself up for failure. When a group of individuals are all fighting for position, the team can easily fall apart. It’s only when you can get the ego of the way and focus on what’s really important can a group of people work together as one.
Effective team building is all about energy. If there’s any negative energy at all it can easily divide the group. How many of you have seen camps form in even the smallest of groups? I’ve been on many executive boards and more often than not there are at least two sides who are always opposed to anything the other side puts forward. This is more often than not a very big problem and one which very few people know how to deal with.
So, how do you combat this problem? How do you fix the divisions that inevitably creep their way into the vast majority of teams? Well, I’ve got to tell you it’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination but it can be done and here’s a glimpse into how go about it.
First, when I step into any group dynamic the first thing I do is find out what the ultimate goal is. That’s so important because if a group doesn’t know where they’re going they’ll end up somewhere else. If a team doesn’t have clarity on what they want, they’ll never ever get it. Clarity is power and I always find out first what it is the team actually wants.
Secondly, I explain to most people what a team is. In my experience very few people actually know this. A team is a group of people working together to realize a “dream.” There’s big difference between working towards a dream and just keeping the bottom line. If you’re constantly focused on keeping the bottom line then that’s where you’ll always be. Find out what the ultimate goal is and it’ll make the whole process a gazillion times easier.
Thirdly, I get people to focus on how they can benefit by taking part in realizing this dream. If people do not feel they will benefit from it, how the heck do you think you’ll be able to tap into 100% of their energy? People want to feel safe, valuable and loved and one way to do that is to make them realize what they’ll get if they participate in and make this dream a reality. I call it the WIIFM question. What’s in it for me?
Next, I teach people how to behave as a team. And, this is where it gets tricky. Because the glue that holds the entire organization together is the biggest challenge. In fact it’s the exact opposite of ego and that is; accountability. You see, everyone in any team is inevitably responsible for everyone else. That means you help others when you can. You teach them what you know and what’s worked for you. You remain open to learning from others and learn what they know that can help you. I know that sounds like a mouthful but, in short, when you are responsible for the success of others you’ll get more success for the group and ultimately, for yourself.
Finally, once the team understands the behaviors and habits of successful teams, it’s time to give them the biggest lesson of all. The team needs to have clarity on how to achieve their goal. You see I’ve only explained so far what it is you need to do, I haven’t explained how to do it. And, that’s why team building seminars are so important because there are limitations to what you can learn by simply reading a book or an article.
Understanding group psychology and natural human behaviors is only one element. Understanding your own corporate or organizational culture is another. Understanding your own team and harnessing their collective power is magical. Successful teams have successful habits. Successful teams work both creatively and as a unit. Successful teams have a clear goal. Successful teams share both individual and team accountability. Team building seminars offer very specific real life situations designed to get people working with effortless mastery. If your team needs a boost, consider tapping into the magic of team building seminars.