Encouraging Teamwork

Encouraging Teamwork

For every team member that believes and works for the team the chances of success go up exponentially. That is the reason why it is so important in teamwork and team building, as it provides a greater chance of success.

Some Things to Do

  • Promote an active learning climate for the team
  • Try to relate the team building strategies to the team’s work
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with new strategies
  • Constantly evaluate both your output and your process. In short, ask regularly, “How are we doing?

Some Things to Avoid

  • Being aggressive — instead of assertive
  • Failing to let others express their opinions
  • Inadequate planning

Some Things to Consider

Encouraging teamwork means making a commitment, and requires practice. The process is not instant and take some time, so be patient. Do not be discouraged by mistakes, learn from them.

Team Building Quotes From George S. Patton

Team Building Quotes From George S. Patton

General George S. Patton was a senior officer of the United States Army who commanded the U.S. Seventh Army in World War II, but was known for his known for his leadership of the U.S. Third Army in France and Germany following the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944. Patton was a colorful character with a hard-driving personality. His success as a commander were at times overshadowed by his controversial public statements. Patton had a philosophy of leading from the front and had the ability to inspire his troop with his speeches. His strong emphasis on rapid and aggressive, offensive, often proved effective.

We have put together a collection of quotes from George S. Patton, which you can use to motivate and build your team.

“Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.”
– George S. Patton

Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.
– George S. Patton

Better to fight for something than live for nothing.
– George S. Patton

Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.
– George S. Patton

Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.
– George S. Patton

You need to overcome the tug of people against you as you reach for high goals.
– George S. Patton

Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash.
– George S. Patton

We herd sheep, we drive cattle, we lead people. Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way.
– George S. Patton

Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.
– George S. Patton

If a man does his best, what else is there?
– George S. Patton

Always do everything you ask of those you command.
– George S. Patton

A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.
– George S. Patton

If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.
– George S. Patton

If you tell people where to go, but not how to get there, you’ll be amazed at the results.
– George S. Patton

There is only one sort of discipline, perfect discipline.
– George S. Patton

Rebuilding Your Team After a Setback

Rebuilding Your Team After a Setback

Are your team developing the persistence and resilience to keep getting up when they get knocked down, but they are getting weary to get themselves on their feet again without any progress? Your team needs more than the ability to get up again after a setback, they need a plan to help determine what they need to do after getting back up again.

Related: Resilience Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Finalize The Goal

The team needs to settle on a definitive goal that they want to reach. Determine what that goal is and remember that goals shapes plans, plans shapes action, action achieves results and results bring success. If your team cannot finalize their goal they will not be able to turn their failures into successes. It is always better for your team to aim at something they want, even if they miss it, then get something they did not aim to get and did not want. If the team looks long enough for what you want, they are almost sure to find it.

Order The Plans

There is no guarantee that the plan will be carried out correctly, the way the team envisioned it. But if the team neglects the plan, chances for success will be slim.

Risk Failing by Taking Action

Planning alone will not bring your team success, they have to take action. Moving forward on a plan and actually doing it always involve risk. The team has to put themselves on the line if they are going to reach the finish line.

Welcome Mistakes

Encourage your team that mistakes are not to be avoided but embraced. Mistakes are signals that the team is moving into new territory, breaking new ground and making progress.

Advance Based on Character

Every time a team faces a mistake and attempt to move forward, it is a test of character. After a team has been knocked down and they had the will to get back up, the intelligence to plan a comeback and courage to take action, they had a defining moment. In these moments the team is defined as achievers or quitters. Being prepared for these moments and knowing they are coming, increases your team’s chances of winning their way through it.

Develop New Strategies to Succeed

After your team has developed a plan and put it into action, they are still not finished. In fact, if your team wants to succeed, they are never finished. Success is a journey and a continual process. Your team will never create the perfect plan or execute it without error. They will never get to a point where they no longer make mistakes or fail. Failures are merely milestones on the success journey.

 

Source: Failing Forward, John C. Maxwell

How To Build a Persistent Team

How To Build a Persistant Team

Persistence in a team is that little difference that makes a big difference. It is a quality that separates teams that achieve success from those who only dream about success. Nothing worth achieving comes easy and your team will have to develop tenacity and persistence to be successful. These two important qualities are mainly learned from developing the habit of following through on commitments when the team members do not feel like it. The following is a four point plan for encouraging stamina and resistance in your team.

Related: Resilience Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Find a Purpose

Having  a sense of purpose keeps a team going in the midst of adversity, it is the fuel that powers persistence. The resolution to succeed is one of  the most important desires your team should have, and that resolution comes from having a sense of purpose.

Eliminate Excuses

Having desire alone is not enough to get your team through failures, they also need to learn to forget about their excuses and keep moving forward. No matter how many missed opportunities your team has had or mistakes they made, they must never make excuses. Encourage your team to take complete responsibility for themselves and keep on trying.

Develop Some Incentives

Good incentives go a long way to encourage your team to remain tenacious. Giving  your team worthwhile incentives to win short races will help attaining a long-term goal seem less formidable. The incentive must match the goal. Don’t make incentives for small objectives too big otherwise you might undermine the team’s desire to keep going. Keep the following points in mind when developing incentives for your team:

  • Reward only after the goal is reached
  • Divide the process into stages to multiply the rewards
  • Include others to increase accountability and make achievement more enjoyable

Related: Reward your team with fun team building activities

Cultivate Determination

To develop long term persistence in your team, you need to cultivate inward determination on a continual basis. Keep on inspiring your team with stories of people who tried and failed but kept going.

 

Source: Failing Forward, John C. Maxwell

Seven Myths About Failure

Seven  Myths About Failure

The following are some of the myths about failure which you can use to help your team to change their perspective on failure.

Myth Number One: Failure is Avoidable

One of the most persistent myths about failure is that it somehow possible to avoid it. Everybody fails and make mistakes. If you are human, you are going to experience some failures. On the road to success  your team will:

  • Learn lessons.
  • Find out there are no mistakes – only lessons.
  • Find out lessons are repeated until they are learned.
  • Find out that if they don’t learn the easy lessons, they get harder.
  • Know that they have learned a lesson when their actions change.

Related: Resilience Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Myth Number Two: Failure is Objective

What determines whether some action is a failure? Is it the size of the problem it caused or the monetary cost. Or is it the heat from the boss or the criticism from peers? Only the team members themselves can really label something that they did as a failure. The team’s perception of and response to  mistakes, can determine whether their actions were  failures. It is important for your team not to see setbacks as failures.  Three steps forward and two steps back is still progress.

Myth Number Three: Failure is the Enemy

Most teams are afraid of failure, but it takes adversity to create success. Teams that achieve don’t see a mistake as the enemy. If your team has permission to fail, they have permission to excel.

Myth Number Four: Failure is an Event

Failure is not a one time event, failure is a process. Success is also not a destination, but a journey that the team takes. Just as success is a process, so is failure a process. Failure is not a place your team arrives at, but how your team handles the challenges along the way.

Myth Number Five: Failure is Irreversible

Mistakes are not irreversible if your team is able to keep everything in perspective. Problems arise when your team only sees the spilled milk and not the big picture. Teams who correctly see failure, take it in stride. Every event, good or bad, is one small step in the process.

Myth Number Six: Failure is a Stigma

Mistakes are not permanent markers. When your team makes a mistake, they should not allow it to get them down. They must not allow it to become a stigma, but make each failure a step to success.

Myth Number Seven: Failure is Final

What appears to be a huge failure, doesn’t need to keep your team from achieving.

 

Source: Failing Forward, John C. Maxwell

How Your Team Benefits From Adversity

How Your Team Benefits From Adversity

Your team has to realize that adversity can be expected as part of the process of succeeding. Adversity is in fact a critical part of success. The following are some of the benefits of adversity.

Adversity Creates Resilience

There is not many other things in life that breed resilience as much as adversity does. A study done in the 1980’s showed that a group of people that lost their jobs three times could handle adversity, and find a new job quicker, than the group that lost a job for the first time.

Related: Resilience Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Adversity Develops Maturity

Adversity promotes wisdom and maturity in a team. As the world changes at a faster and faster rate, the maturity and flexibility that comes from weathering difficulty, becomes increasingly important. The problems and difficulties your team faces and overcomes today, prepares your team to better handle future difficulties.

Adversity Pushes the Envelope of Accepted Performance

Until your team learns from experience that they can live through adversity, they will be reluctant to break with mindless traditions, push the envelope or challenge themselves. Failures often prompt people to rethink the status quo.

Adversity Provides Greater Opportunities

Eliminating all problems can limit the potential of a team. Most successful teams have numerous instances of adversity and setbacks that opened doors to greater opportunities.

Adversity Prompts Innovation

The ability to innovate is at the heart of creativity and a vital component of success. For a team to succeed, they need to have the ability to make adjustments to the way they do things and be willing to try again after a failure. Adversity helps to develop that ability.

Adversity Motivates

Few things motivate a team like adversity does. If your team can step back from the negative circumstances facing them, they will discover their positive benefits if they don’t take the adversity too seriously. They should always measure an obstacle next to the size of the goal they are pursuing.

Unexpected Benefits

Most teams that make a mistake see it as a failure, but the greatest success stories can be found in the unexpected benefits of mistakes.

 

Source: Failing Forward, John C. Maxwell

Reasons Teams Fail

Reasons Teams Fail

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford

Often teams have blind spots when it comes to knowing themselves. Especially when it comes to their weaknesses. If a team does not know they have a problem, how can they work to fix it? Try to see the shortcomings of your team in this list of reasons teams fail. Be aware of any recurring issues within the team.

Poor People Skills

Probably the greatest obstacle to success is poor understanding of people and the inability to effectively relate to other people. Teams often blame office politics for their failures where there has been just regular interaction between people. Good people skills that your team needs to develop include genuineness and authenticity, the ability to listen carefully and looking for ways to meet people on their terms. If you make people skills a priority in your team, it will take the team further than any other skill can. People enjoy doing business with people that they like.

A Negative Attitude

How your team react to circumstances has everything to do with the success of the team. While it is true that we cannot always do something about the circumstances, we can always do something to improve ourselves. If circumstances are getting your team down, then maybe it is time for a change in attitude. If your team can learn to make the best of any situation, it will remove a formidable obstacle between them and success.

A Bad Fit

Sometimes failure simply comes down to mismatched abilities, interests or values. Your team will experience great frustration if they are stuck doing something that does not suit them. If there is a poor fit, think of making a change.

Lack of Focus

Teams that lack focus do not fail because they are too busy, they fail because their priorities are incorrect and they waste their time and resources. Teams that lack focus go from task to task without making any progress and never reach their goals. Without focus, your team will never move forward.

A Weak Commitment

Without strong commitment, your team cannot accomplish anything of value. The last time your team failed, did they stop because they failed or did they fail because they stopped trying. When your team is committed, failure does not mean they will never succeed, it may just take a while longer.

An Unwillingness to Change

Inflexibility is a relentless enemy of your team’s success. Your team does not have to love change, but they must be willing to accept it. Change can be a catalyst for growth. It can give the team a fresh start and an opportunity to reevaluate the direction they are going. If your team is resisting change, they are resisting success.

A Shortcut Mind-Set

A common obstacle to success is the desire to cut corners and take the short road to success. Shortcuts never pay off in the long run. Your team should not underestimate the time it takes to achieve something of value. To be successful, they have to be willing to pay their dues. Cutting corners is a sign of impatience and poor self discipline.

Relying on Talent Alone

Talent alone is not enough to bring your team through the multiple challenges on the road to success. The greater the talent, the more likely you are to lean heavily on it and skip the hard work of improving it. Place your team on a growth plan to make the most of their talents.

How Your Team Can Learn From Failures

How Your Team Can Learn From Failures

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

Winning teams have the ability to fail and not take it personally. They keep moving forward despite failures. The following are some characteristics of teams that learn from their failures.

Related: Resilience Outcome Based Team Building

They Reject Rejections

Teams that learn from their failures are those teams that keep on trying despite setbacks. They do not base their self worth on their performance, but have an internally based self esteem. To learn from your failures, it is important that you never call yourself a failure, but rather say that you made a mistake. Teams that achieve, keep the right perspective, take responsibility for their actions and they never take failure personally.

They See Failure as Temporary

Teams that personalize failure experience the problem as a big hole in which they are stuck. Teams that achieve see the problem as only temporary. For a team to succeed, they need to keep trying and believe in their potential.

See Failures as Isolated Incidents

Winning teams see failures as momentary events and not life long epidemics. They do not take the failure personally and do not allow a single event to influence their view of themselves.

They Keep Their Expectations Realistic

The greater the team goal, the greater the need for mental preparation and overcoming obstacles and persevering. It takes time, effort and ability to overcome setbacks. Your team must approach the day with reasonable expectations, but not get their feelings hurt when the day does not turn out perfectly.

They Focus on Their Strengths

Winning teams keep from personalizing failure by focusing on their strengths. They concentrate more on what they can do, then on what they can’t do. Teams become stronger by developing and maximizing their strengths.

They Vary Their Approaches

Winning teams try various approaches to solve a problem. They do not allow the comments of others to make them feel like failures.

They Bounce Back

Teams that achieve, have the common ability of bouncing back after a failure. If the result is not what they wanted, they find what the mistake was and they make sure they don’t make the same mistake again. Winning teams keep moving forward no matter what happens, knowing that failure does not make them failures.

 

Source: Failing Forward, John C. Maxwell

Team Building Quotes From Aristotle

Team Building Quotes From Aristotle

Aristotle was an ancient Greek philosopher. At about seventeen years of age, he joined Plato’s Academy in Athens and remained there until the age of thirty-seven. His writings cover a wide range of subjects including poetry, aesthetics, biology, physics, zoology, metaphysics, theatre, music, rhetoric, linguistics and politics. After Plato died, Aristotle left Athens and started tutoring Alexander the Great. He established a library in Lyceum, which helped with the production of his many books. Aristotle shifted from Platonism to empiricism and believed that all concepts and knowledge was ultimately based on perception. His influence has gained renewed interest with the modern advent of virtue ethics and Aristotle’s philosophy continues to be the object of academic study today.

We have put together a collection of quotes from Aristotle, which you can use to motivate and build your team.

“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”
– Aristotle

“Bring your desires down to your present means. Increase them only when your increased means permit.”
– Aristotle

“Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion.”
– Aristotle

“Quality is not an act, it is a habit.”
– Aristotle

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”
– Aristotle

“The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold.”
– Aristotle

“For one swallow does not make a summer, nor does one day; and so too one day, or a short time, does not make a man blessed and happy.”
– Aristotle

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
– Aristotle

“The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.”
– Aristotle

“Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others.”
– Aristotle

“Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity.”
– Aristotle

“Our judgments when we are pleased and friendly are not the same as when we are pained and hostile.”
– Aristotle

“Dignity does not consist in possessing honors, but in deserving them.”
– Aristotle

“The wise man does not expose himself needlessly to danger, since there are few things for which he cares sufficiently; but he is willing, in great crises, to give even his life – knowing that under certain conditions it is not worthwhile to live.”
– Aristotle

“All virtue is summed up in dealing justly.”
– Aristotle

“The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances.”
– Aristotle

“The whole is more than the sum of its parts.”
– Aristotle

“Education is the best provision for old age.”
– Aristotle

“He who is to be a good ruler must have first been ruled.”
– Aristotle

“Moral excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts.”
– Aristotle

“Well begun is half done.”
– Aristotle

Help Your Team Manage Their Workspace for Better Time Management

Help Your Team Manage Their Workspace for Better Time Management

In order for your team to effectively manage their time and to be productive each day, they must create the appropriate environment. By eliminating clutter, setting up an effective filing system, gathering essential tools, and managing workflow, your team will be well on their way to creating an effective workspace.

Related: Time Management Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Declutter The Workspace

Removing clutter is itself a time-consuming task, but a cluttered workspace significantly impairs the team’s ability to find things, and they will get the time back that they invest – and more! To retrieve materials quickly, the team will need an effective filing system that includes three basic kinds of files:

Working files: Materials used frequently and needed close at hand.

Reference files: Information needed only occasionally.

Archival files: Materials seldom retrieved, but that must be kept. For ease of retrieval, organize files in the simplest way possible. For example, the team could label files with a one or two word tag and arrange the files alphabetically.

Once clutter has been eliminated and other materials have been filed, the effective workspace includes only what is essential: a set of three trays to control the workflow on their desks, standard office supplies, a computer, and a telephone. Everything else, except for what they are working on at the moment, can and should be filed where it can be retrieved as needed.

Managing Workflow

How do you process the mountain of material that collects in your paper and electronic in-baskets? The answer is one piece of paper, one electronic message at a time. Many time management experts agree that the most effective people act on an item the first time it is touched.

Although difficult at first, the practice can become habitual, and is made easier with the four Ds:

DO: If a task can be completed in two minutes or less, do it immediately.

DELETE: If the material is trash or junk, delete it. Or, if it’s something that you might use later on, file it, and move on.

DEFER: If the task is one that can’t be completed quickly and is not a high priority item, simply defer it.

DELEGATE: If a task is not yours to do, then delegate it.

Remember, to take the S.T.I.N.G. out of feeling overwhelmed about a task, follow these steps:

Select one task to do at a time.

Time yourself using a clock for no more than one hour.

Ignore everything else during that time.

No breaks or interruptions should be permitted.

Give yourself a reward when the time is up.

Dealing with E-mail

Electronic communication can be managed just as easily and as quickly as paper with the four D’s that we just discussed. However, there are some other key ideas that will help your team maximize their e-mail time.

Like other routine tasks (such as returning phone calls, handling paper mail, and checking voice mail), e-mail is best handled in batches at regularly scheduled times of the day.

Ask your e-mail contacts to use specific subject lines, and make sure to use them yourself. This will help you to determine whether your incoming mail is business or personal, urgent or trivial.

Once you know the subject of the message, open and read urgent e-mails, and respond accordingly. Non-urgent e-mails, like jokes, can be read later. Delete advertising-related e-mail that you have no interest in, or which you consider spam.

Use your e-mail system to its fullest potential. Create folders for different topics or projects, or by senders. Most e-mail systems also allow you to create folders and add keywords or categories to messages, which makes information retrieval much easier.

Many e-mail programs allow you to create rules that automatically move messages to the appropriate folder. This can help you follow your e-mail plan.

Finally, don’t forget to delete e-mail from your trash can and junk folder on a regular basis.

Using Calendars

To manage all of the things that they have to do, it’s important that the team organize their reminders into a small number of calendars and lists that can be reviewed regularly. A calendar (paper or electronic) is the obvious place to record meetings, appointments, and due dates.

For people with multiple responsibilities, an annual calendar organized by areas of responsibility (e.g., budget, personnel, schedule, planning, and miscellaneous) may be especially valuable. For each of these areas, one can list the major responsibilities month by month and thereby see at a glance what tasks must be completed in a given month of the year.