By Doug Van Dyke, Leadership Simplified, www.leadershipsimplified.com
Since we here at Leadership Simplified facilitate a fair amount of workplace team building initiatives, we are obviously big fans of team building. However, when leaders talk about building their teams what they hope to accomplish goes well beyond their team. What leaders are thirsting for when they discuss team building is actually company-building. That is right, because the positive effects of workplace team building will impact many facets of your company – both internally and externally. Let’s take a look at seven areas that are positively impacted by your company-building efforts.
- Creating a meaningful team experience. In an increasingly fragmented world, it is easy to lose sight of that fact that we are pack animals. People like to be a part of something. If you do not believe this consider that as of this writing Facebook has over 900 million members. Similarly, people at work enjoy a positive experience that they share with their colleagues. Team building can serve as a grounding experience that gives team members a reference to reflect upon during turbulent times. In addition, items such as sharing a meaningful team experience and being a part of something, contribute heartily to building the effectiveness and value of your company.
- Solidifying a vision. Since people desire to be a part of something, it is critically important that leaders share a clear vision of what your organization stands for – its purpose and positive contributions. In addition, solidifying a good vision has a lot to do with letting people know where the heck your organization is going, and why it should go there. This type of visionary leadership has served companies such as Apple very well as they have ascended to the pinnacle of admiration in corporate America.
- Increasing communication. It has been my pleasure to have facilitated close to a hundred workplace teambuilding sessions. As such, I can confirm that one of the most common takeaways from effective team events is “tools and techniques to communicate better with others.” Whether it is has to do with the form or frequency, team members walk away with a heightened awareness of which areas of communication to target. As a result, the bar is raised with regard to the amount of effective communication that occurs in the workplace. And an increase in good communication leads to fewer errors, a decrease in misunderstandings, an increase in productivity, and an escalation in profits.
- Enabling collaboration. Many organizations are structured in a matrix or have team members toiling away in segmented silos. It is easy for these types of organizations to experience turf wars and uncooperative relationships. For these organizations, team building is essential. It can serve as the beginning of breaking barriers that would otherwise crush collaboration. Heck, the activities that are experienced during team building events cannot be successfully completed without excellent collaboration. So give your team a taste of what fun and meaningful collaboration feels like. Treat them to a little team building once in a while.
- Enhancing relationships. The type of relationships that are maintained between internal colleagues and with strategic allies, referral sources, and vendors says a lot about your organization. These relationships directly affect what people say about your company. This has to do a lot with brand, which is, in essence, “how the customer and others perceive your products and services.” If you want to build your brand, build your company! And building your company starts with building your team.
- Sets the stage for greater learning. When organizations create positive momentum, an interesting thing happens, their people desire grow and learn more. This is a beautiful dynamic because when team members experience growth and development, they get better in their job. When team members improve, so does productivity, and morale, and your ability to sleep at night. It also leads us to our next point.
- Team Member Retention. Many leaders ponder just how to reduce employee turnover. Well, effective workplace teambuilding and meaningful training initiatives are essential if a reduction in turnover is desired. This is especially true for those younger workers who may be looking for a better job. If you want to retain your key performers, help them grow. They not only will appreciate your efforts, but they will help others in the organization to grow as well.
Bottom Line: The positive effects of strategically delivered workplace teambuilding can be stunning. Most teams thirst for an enhanced sense of team. As such, keep your team connected by feeding them a steady diet of team enhancing actions. In the process, make certain your team building sticks. The result will be a well-oiled machine, and a company that is built it to last.
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