Category: Corporate Team Building

Team Building Event Planning Do’s and Don’ts

In this blog,  we will look at a list of do’s and don’ts to consider when planning your next team building event. The list is in no way meant to be comprehensive, but should give you a good idea of some important aspects to look at when planning your next team building event.

Team Building Events Planning

Team Building Event Planning Don’ts

  • Team building activities should never be overly competitive. The goal of team building is to get team members to work together and not working against each other, which is often what happens when activities become too competitive. Competition can often divide groups and it is better to stick with activities where members truly have to depend on each other to succeed. Some form of score keeping helps to keep the activities focused, but it should be kept light-hearted, and winning should not be over emphasised.
  • When planning your team building event make sure that the activities will not be to physically demanding for the participants involved. The fitness and abilities of the team as a whole should be taken into consideration. You want to make sure that everybody can be equally involved in the activities, and it is essential to be aware of any physical handicaps or weaknesses within the team.
  • The activities that you are planning for your team building event should always have a good balance. On  one  hand,  the activities should not be too strenuous but also not be too mindless, causing the participants to lose interest. In the same way,  the event should neither be just about fun but also not be draining physically or emotionally. Also, beware of making the event overly comical or complicated. The activities chosen should support the main message and not detract from it.
  • Team building should focus on team work and not be about rewarding individuals. The activities should be structured in such a way that competitive individuals cannot succeed without the participation of all the team members.
  • Do not spend all of the budget available on food and accommodation but make some funds available for facilitation fees. Hiring an experienced team building facilitator will ensure that your event is successful and that all your colleagues can participate in the event.

Team Building Event Do’s

  • When you plan a team building event try to keep the activities in the context of the normal way of doing business for the participants involved. This will help to ensure that the participant will be able to apply the lessons learned in the event to their everyday working environment.
  • Try and arrange activities that have similar challenges to that which the participants might experience in their daily tasks. Successful team building depends on how much the activities create a microcosm of real challenges the participants face on a daily basis.
  • Consider hiring professionals to facilitate your team building event. Good team building facilitation companies have strong working relationships with venues, and they will often be able to arrange not only facilitation for the team building activities but also a team building venue, as well as conferencing facilities if required.
  • Take time to clarify the aims of the team building event before contacting a prospective facilitator for the event. Having a clear understanding of why your company needs team building will help you to communicate your requirements to the team building facilitator.
  • Put plans into place to follow up the event with meaningful work activities. If team building exercises do not have any follow up activities in the work place, employees will more often than not see team building as a once-off event and, therefore, a waste of time and energy.
  • Effective team building is a ongoing process. Together with regular team building events, you should also incorporate team building exercises in the work place on a weekly or monthly basis.
  • Make plans to follow up on the lessons learned in the team building event. The purpose of following up should be to re-emphasise lessons learned in the team building exercises and to measure the teams’s progress.

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How to Plan a Team Building Event

In this article, we are going to share with you some tips and pointers that will help you in planning your next team building event. Planning forms a vital part in the overall success of a team building event, and we will guide you through a couple of points that need to be considered when the event is in the planning phase. We will look at issues such as the objectives of the event, the participants, time frames, budgets, location, selecting teams, choosing a theme and assessment of the success of an event.

How to Plan a Team Building Event

What is the objective of the team building event?

It is essential to clearly establish the objectives for your team building event right from the start. Ask yourself why is your company doing team building and what is the company hoping to accomplish with the event? What are the expectations of the participants? Make sure that everybody has the same goal in mind from the outset. The following are some possible objectives:

  • Breaking down barriers
  • Identifying leadership qualities
  • Improving communication and teamwork
  • Highlighting diversity and honing specific skills within a team
  • Promoting professional business relationships
  • Creating respect for different personalities and cultures
  • Identifying the dynamics and behaviour traits of high performing teams
  • Identify current strengths and weaknesses of your teams

In order to successfully plan a team building event any current strengths and weaknesses of the participating teams need to be considered. Find out if there is unresolved conflicts between certain people or is there certain groups of people who need to get to know each other better.  Is there members who tend to focus on their own achievements or is there members who are opposed to change? Consider whether there are issues of poor communication within the company and does the company need an overall morale boost.

Profiles of team members

Next you need to take a look at the profiles of the team members who will be attending the team building event. Things such as age range, gender mix and backgrounds of participants should be considered in planning the event. The team building activities at the event has to be suitable for all the team members and issues such as the physical condition and dietary requirements of participants need to be taken into consideration.

What is the budget?

The budget available for the team building event will have a strong influence on your choice of venue, food and beverage as well as the duration of the event and the type of event that you are planning. It is, therefore, very crucial for you to get an indication of the budget at a decidedly early stage of planning. The size of the budget will dictate whether all aspects of the team building will have to be handled in-house or if it will be possible to outsource some or all of the elements of the event. If it all possible, it is advisable to outsource the team building facilitation component of the event as you would like all your colleagues to be available to participate in the event. An established team building company will have the experience of knowing what works and what does not.

Time Frame of Event

Here, you need to find out when the event will take place and the length of the event. A decision will have to be made whether the event will take place in working hours or over a weekend or public holiday. When looking at a date outside working hours, the family commitments of participants need to be taken in to consideration. Furthermore, you will need to decide whether it will be a full day or half day event, or will the event take place over a 2 or 3 days.

Likes and dislikes of participants

When planning the team building activities of the event you have to take the likes and dislikes of the participants in to consideration. What do the team members prefer doing, are they the indoor kind or the outdoor adventurous types or a mixture of the two? This information can be collected by taking polls among the team members or by looking at past team building activities.

Choosing a venue for the event

Getting the right venue for your team building event is crucial as this can have a powerful effect on the atmosphere of the event. When looking for a venue you also need to consider the accessibility of the venue as well as the set-up and layout. Find out if the venue has any contingency plans for adverse weather in case of outdoor events.

Selecting teams

When you look at selecting teams for the event consider mixing departments, geographical regions, management levels or placing people that do not  get on well together in one team. It is also a good opportunity to identify leadership qualities by giving junior members leadership roles. Alternatively you can leave it up to the facilitators to select the teams on the day of the event; the facilitator will monitor the participants before the event to see where he can break up existing groups.

Choosing a theme

Make your event interesting by choosing a theme for it. Your venue, organisers, activities and music can then be chosen to complement this theme. Your content and objectives can be driven by this theme. For example, an archery event can be planned along with the theme of “hitting the mark”, emphasising the importance of accuracy and correct decision making.

Assessing the success of the event

In order for a team building event to be considered successful there has to be some way to measure the success of the event. When planning your event it is essential to know how are going to measure this. Will the event be successful because it was enjoyable or because people got to know each other better? Feedback forms, surveys and observation reports  are some of the effective ways to measure the success of the team building event.

Make sure your team building event is a success by giving yourself enough time to plan for it. For a small to medium size event of up to 80 participants, two to three months should be enough, but you will need to give yourself up to six months to plan for events for over 80 participants. Make sure there is a healthy balance between fun and learning; team building should never be just about fun but should also not be overly serious.

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How to Build a Team

In order to have a successful team, it is important to build the right team in the right way. Building a team has largely to do with getting relationships right. It is essential to develop good relations between leaders and team members for a team to function properly. In this blog,  I am going to share with you some methods to help you build your team and to build the correct relationships within the team.

How to Build a Team

Collective Responsibility

For a team to function to its optimum, the team leaders and team members need to understand the importance of collective corporate responsibility. Although each member is encouraged to contribute their individual opinions, once a team decision has been made all the members should abide with the decision. In a meeting frankness and openness should be encouraged, but after the meeting everyone should then be willing to accept and respect the corporate team decision.

Clear Common Goals

When building a team, it is important to clarify the common goals and purposes of team. All the members of the team should be clear about the purpose of the team. It is also essential that they know how their team contributes to success of the company. The performance goals of the team should be clearly articulated.

Rewarding the Team

Rewarding your team correctly has a large role to play in building a strong team. Instead of just rewarding long term big-goal achievements, try rewarding the smaller achievements and milestones throughout the year. Smaller, more regular, celebration can go a long way to keep your team motivated throughout a long term project. Reward your team with a team building activity, which is fun but also help to build your team. It is also essential to communicate the successes of your team to the whole company. Describe why the team’s achievement is important for the company and the challenges your team overcame.

Leading by Example

An important part of building a team is to lead by example. It is fine to have high expectations of your team, but never ask your team members to do something you would not do yourself. On the flip side, leaders should not try to do everything themselves.  Delegate authority and responsibility, but always be ready to intervene when necessary.

Input from Team Members

Encourage the input of team members regarding their individual tasks. Allow flexibility on how they go about meeting their goals. Be open to suggestions about how operations can be changed. Be sure to act on suggestions where possible as this will encourage further input from the team.

Identify Talent

Spot talent within the team and give those team members opportunity to grow. Find the best in your team members and play to their strengths. Do not be afraid of taking risks with people showing potential.  Give your team members the opportunity of not only improving their skills but also their personality traits.

Handling Conflicts

Conflicts arise within all teams, but handled well it can often lead to constructive ideas. The correct method to handle conflicts may vary greatly from team to team. All team members involved should be given time to explain their view of the problem. Establish ground rules for preventing the members from feeling rushed, interrupted or intimidated when sharing their experience of the conflict. Encourage your team to handle conflicts themselves as much as possible.

Be Positive

As a leader,  your words have a great impact on the members of your team. Always be aware of what you say at different times and to a different team members. Create a culture within your team that does not focus on failures, but encourage team members to learn from mistakes. Team members should feel free to take risks, and there should be a no blame culture.

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Resources
http://www.guardian.co.uk/teacher-network/2012/oct/08/top-tips-outstanding-school-leaders
http://people.rice.edu/uploadedFiles/People/TEAMS/Twelve%20Ways%20to%20Build%20an%20Effective%20Team.pdf

 

Building Effective Teams in the Workplace

It seems as if everybody is talking about the importance of building teams in the workplace, but few know how to do this effectively. In this blog, we are going to look at aspects of building a team, which managers and team leaders can focus on, in order to develop and mold effective, focused work teams.

We will look at the importance of team members’ commitment to each other and to the team mission. Other necessary keys to successfully build teams in the workplace that we will consider include; the competence of team members, team ownership and control, communicating team expectations, team coordination, team context and team collaboration. Attention will also be given to the importance of communication within the team, among team members and between team leaders and team members.

Building Teams in the Workplace
Building Effective Teams

Commitment to the Team

Making sure that all members feel that they are part of the team is essential in building an effective team in the workplace. Create an atmosphere where the members want to be part of the team and are not forced to be part of the team. All the members need to be committed to each other and to the mission of the team. 

Do the team members perceive their service as valued by the organization? Team members need to be excited and challenged by opportunities arising within the team to improve personally and the team as a whole. They need to anticipate recognition and expect their skills to grow and develop on the team.

Ability and Skills of Team Members

Team members should be chosen carefully, ensuring that they have the right skill, competence and expertise for the effective functioning of the team. Ongoing training should be provided to ensure that skills and knowledge level are kept up to date; team members should have easy access to help when required. Members should have all the resources, strategies and support needed to achieve the goals of the team.

Ownership in the Team

How much freedom, empowerment and ownership should be given to the members of the team to accomplish the mission of the team? Team members should clearly understand their boundaries and how far they may go in pursuit of solutions. Limitations in time or capital resources should be defined at the start of the project. The team’s reporting relationship and accountability should be clearly understood by all the team members when building an effective team. It is also the organization’s responsibility to clearly define the team’s authority structures. The team and the organization need to be aligned in direction and purposes. When building a team, in the workplace, all the members of the team must be accountable to each other for project timelines, commitments and results.

Team Expectations

When building a team, members of the team should clearly understand why the team was created, and there should be clear expectations of what is required from them early on in the process of building the team. Clearly define the overall direction and objectives to ensure that all team members know where their job and team outcomes fit within the bigger strategy of the company. They should know why the team was created and what the organization expects from the team.

It is crucial for team members to know how they are performing within the team through goal setting, evaluation, feedback and accountability. It is critical for management to communicate plans and expectations to create an organization in which all components are connected.

Team Coordination

All the teams in the organization should be coordinated by a central leadership which should be available to assist the teams and direct them to success. Teams should be coordinated, and priorities and resource allocation planned across departments, to enable cross-sectional and multi-departmental teams to work together efficiently. When building a team in the work place, traditional departmental thinking should be discouraged and customer-focused and process focused orientation, should be encouraged.

Team Vision

When building an effective team, members of the team need to know why they are in the team and what are their functions and goals. The vision of the leadership need to be articulated to all the members of the team. Leadership vision permeates the workplace and is manifested in actions and beliefs of employees. Every team member should be able to clearly define the importance of their team in accomplishing corporate goals. It is necessary for the team to understand where they fit in, in the context of the organization goals, principles, vision and values.

Team Association and Collaboration

A team leader should understand team progress and stages of development in building a team. Team members and team leaders should know and understand the roles and responsibilities of the team. An appropriate strategy should be in place to accomplish an action plan.

For a team to be successful, all the members of the team should be able to work together professionally and interpersonally. A joint approach to problem solving, process improvement and goal measurement must be encouraged.

Team Communication

There should always be clear communication about the priorities of the various tasks with in the team. When building a team, all members should understand the complete context for the existence of the team. It is therefore vital that management consistently provide relevant information, regarding the organization, to all the teams involved.

Team members must be encouraged to communicate clearly and honestly with each other. They must be allowed to bring diverse opinions to the table, and necessary conflicts raised and addressed. Establish methods whereby feedback can be given and received on a regular basis by all the members of the team.

This is a lot of information to process, but if addressed one step at a time it will go a long way towards building an effective team within the work place.

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Benefits of Corporate Team Building Events

It is important for staff members of any organization to work as a team and divisions within a team will cause operations to slow down. A Successful team building event is often all that is required to unify and refresh staff members, leading to increased performance within the work place.

Team Building Exercises
Team Building Exercise

Team Building Events Help Create Successful Companies

 Researches into successful companies will more often than not reveal that there is a strong, happy and unified team behind the success. You will find team members working as a unit and willing to assist each other when the need arises. Through team building activities employees learn to depend on each other and work better as a unit. Working as a team leads to the improvement of operations, finishing projects on time and efficiently satisfying the requirements of clients.

Recruitment Costs Are Minimized Through Team Building

Organizations are constantly evolving requiring employees to consistently improve existing skills or acquire new skills. If current staff members are not willing, or motivated, to improve their skills, new staff will have to be recruited with the required skills. In terms of company expense it makes sound business sense therefor that existing staff members receive training in the required skills. It is good practice to provide training to the team as a whole so that all the members can stand for each other in absentia. An organization whose workers cannot assist each other will always have delayed outputs in case a member is late or not present. The expenditure is minimized in that the hiring of extra staff and training will be eliminated, after the existing workforce is trained on how to work as a team and in all the departments. Creation of harmony among the team members guarantees a happy workforce, which translates to balanced and timely realization of goals.

Team Building Activities Shapes a Team

Organizing corporate team building activities for your company should be focused around what you aim to achieve with the event. When team building activities have strong correlation to everyday challenges faced in the real working environment, lessons learned in the activities are remembered longer and more readily applied to everyday work situations.

Although team building events can be arranged in house, there are many advantages to hiring professional team building coordinators to organize the event. Team building facilitators have the required equipment and expert knowledge to facilitate sucessful team building activities.  Having a facilitator for your event will ensure that all the team members can participate in the team building activities.

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