|If a company or
organization is considering investing in a team building program, the
first question that needs to be asked is, “Is my group interdependent?”
– meaning does the success of each member of the group depend primarily
on the success of the other members of the group? For instance, the
success of the operations department might depend heavily on the success
of the sales department which might depend heavily on the success of the
marketing department. Conducting a team building program among the
managers or employees of these departments at the same time might be
beneficial. However, the success of each individual sales person will
probably not depend primarily on the success of the other sales people.
So, a sales manager spending money on a team building program for
his/her sales people would probably be wasting time and money.
group is interdependent, then the next question to ask is “What kind of
things are happening within this group that lets me know they are not
acting efficiently as a team?” or “What areas can we improve in?” You
might ask more specific questions to determine individual areas for
improvement such as the following: Are there areas of miscommunication
that slow down processes or cause rework? Are there conflicts which
bring down morale? Do departments focus on their own success at the
expense of other departments? Is it tough for new employees to fit in
with the experienced team members? Are changes in policy resisted by
team members? Do team members feel as though they have no say in policy?
The answers to any of these questions can help a team leader
determine what types of team building programs might be most effective
for a group. If you find it difficult to determine the individual areas
that would have the most dramatic impact on the performance of your
group, realize that most professional trainers have low-cost or free
assessments that can be conducted to determine these areas for a group.
The next step in determining the right program for your group is to
determine which programs on the market will give your team improvement
in the most areas that you have identified, and which will give your
team long-term improvement so that you will not have to continually
repeat the training process over time.
Once you have done the previous steps, this last step is pretty
simple. You can do a standard internet search for training in the areas
you’ve identified, and then check a number of references for each
proposal you receive.
One quick thing you can do to save time is to look only at
organizations and trainers who specialize in training or team building.
People and companies who can make a living specializing in this type of
work will probably do pretty well, but a company specializing in the
fitness industry (outdoor adventures, ropes courses,) selling beach
chairs (Beach Olympics,) or driving race cars or flying airplanes
probably won’t create a long-term behaviour change in your team.
Camaraderie may be built and lost in an afternoon, but a team
atmosphere can last for generations.