An Action Approach to Team Building
Putting together the “dream team” for your business can be as easy as taking an “action” rather than “information approach.” With a plethora of training options open to employers it can often be puzzling when trying to find the strategies that are going to achieve results.
There is one basic rule to apply when considering your next team building exercise. “Dream teams” are not built through information or training alone. Seminars, competency training, reading books and watching videos are all helpful strategies but as the age old adage goes “action speaks louder than words.” Being able to perform tasks during training is not the same as applying them on a day to day basis. Just as information does not automatically change behaviors. For example, we read about the dangers of smoking but many people still engage in this behavior.
Environment is one of the key factors in influencing your team’s success. People base their behavior on their beliefs about themselves and their environment. Can they have a positive impact on their environment? Does this environment support positive behavior? Team members should feel that they have the capability to contribute in their environment. This means giving them the right equipment and environment to be effective is essential. It also helps if they feel safe to contribute their opinion and feedback in a supportive environment. But how do you find this out? You simply have to ask. Ask your team if they think there are factors in their environment which could be improved to help them be more efficient, productive or happy. Perhaps they may prefer music while they work, better light, or flexible hours. Many organizations have realized the importance of employee satisfaction on the bottom line. Workplaces now can include facilities such as childcare or the benefits of ergonomically designed work stations.
Beliefs are the key motivators in peoples’ behaviour. However, changing your team members beliefs is not an easy or swift task. Recruiting the right people through personality instruments and team interviews can be one strategy but understanding their beliefs can be important in identifying other strategies. Common beliefs limiting team performance include:
Feedback “I have some constructive feedback but expressing it may cause a confrontation – best to keep it to myself”
Delegation “The only way to get the job done properly is to do it myself”
Sales “Real salespeople are dishonest, pushy and arrogant”
Changing beliefs such as these can be a daunting challenge. Team leaders need to facilitate change by designing flexible experiences for people in organizations to learn that “maybe there is a different way to look at this”. Experiential learning such as climbing trees and playing games aren’t just used because they are fun and help build relationships but because they work. Multiple and varied experiences must be used to inspire new ways of seeing and thinking about things. Reframing opens the mind to new beliefs and behavior.
Information and ideas are not enough they need to be engrained in day to day activity. You need to look at training options and ask what beliefs in this organisation may hamper or aid in achieving the desired outcome? How can our work environment be changed to support flexibility and greater productivity or what experiences will help foster changes in belief and behaviours? Team building is not an exact science but a cast of finding the best strategies available to bring out the potential in your team