Six Conversations for Team Success - How Team Building Events Get It Wrong

Becoming and remaining a high performance team is not just about how team members work with each other, it's about becoming and remaining an attractive investment. If your sponsors, customers or stakeholders have a viable alternative then they will go there if that gives them more of what they need. For teams to build and develop their offering they need to keep six areas of focus in mind and have conversations which maintain that focus.
Ask any group of people on a management training programme what makes a team successful and the same things will come out. Things like "shared objectives", "good communications", "diverse skills","leadership" and all those fine ideals they learned on previous courses. There's nothing wrong with them, it's just that they miss the fundamental truth. The sustained success of a team or organisation is determined not by the way they work but by whether or not people continue to invest in them and the extent to which the customers and stakeholders can trust them to deliver against expectations.
Building team strength and bonds is the same as maintaining personal fitness. The fitter you are the more stamina and strength you have and the more resilient you are to stresses and strains. But, and this is the big "but", if no-one uses your increased potential then it's just for your own amusement or satisfaction. So, with a team, building better ways of working together is great so long as someone wants the output - and they are not on of the team and they are not there on the team building day.
So the intelligent conversations for teams to engage in on away days and in team meetings take both external and internal focus into account. The six areas of focus should be:-
Success Criteria - The measures that customers and stakeholders have in mind when they evaluate their return on the investment of time, money and effort
Stakeholder Management - The ways that interested parties are engaged and enfranchised in the team's work, issues and developments
Delivering on Promises - The team's track record for consistently delivering against the customers' and stakeholders' expectations and e implied promises of the products and services offered.
Structure and Organisation - The way the team is set up to deliver the products and services and the return on investment expected by stakeholders.
Working for Each Other - Real interdependence and a sense of belonging are the lifeblood of real teams - so both the processes and the intentions of the team should be about helping each other succeed.
Continuous Learning - Responding to new situations, new developments and feedback keep the team and its outputs in line with the market's expectations and help them remain an attractive investment.
All six topics should be the subject of regular conversations which both build the team's fitness for purpose and ensure their outputs stay relevant, valuable and wanted. This is the essence of real high performance teams - fit for purpose and attractive to their investors.


Clive is co-founder of ClearWorth - a company specialising in the design, development and delivery of bespoke learning, coaching, workshops and courses for senior managers, leaders and influencers and their teams.  Clive lives in the UK and France and works all over the world from Ohio to Oman, Windsor to Warri Chatham to Chengdu, Helsinki to Hydrabad and Calgary to Kuala Lumpur.  He specialises in the development of persuasion, influencing and negotiation skills and has a particular i...

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