Success in building high performing teams in any organisation has huge benefits for the business, its Customers, the teams and for each team member. To achieve success in team building, it is important to have a tight focus on the objectives and goals, as well as on the benefits of team building for that specific business or workplace.
The Overall Objectives
Some think this is about playing silly games, or indulging in expensive and irrelevant out of work activities. The managers or business people who believe this will quickly dismiss the concept as a total waste of money and energy. Others who have problems in their workplace with conflict in groups, poor performance or demotivated staff may see team building as positive, but as an unattainable goal. They do not have a clear understanding of team building, or, indeed of the role of leadership in achieving high performance.
Team building is a PROCESS that takes place over time. The start of the process is where there is a group of people, two or more, and a leader. The end of the process is where there is a high performing team, who are highly motivated to perform better and better, who have well-developed processes and systems to organise their workload, and who gain immense satisfaction from their shared achievements.
The overall objectives are to achieve this high performance, to develop the group through the various stages of development, until it achieves high performance. However, like any other process, there are different steps or stages, and there are quite different objectives and goals at each stage. Focussing on the RIGHT objectives at each stage, and changing your objectives as you go through the process, will help you achieve high performance.
The Objectives at Stage One
At the first stage of team building, the Forming stage, there are very identifiable objectives and goals. These objectives MUST be achieved before the group can move on to the next stage. It is the role of the leader of the team to ensure the objectives are met.
The objectives at the Forming stage are:
1. To bind the group, so that they get to know each other and begin having a sense of team. It is at this stage that team building activities will help bind them.
2. To align them to their shared purpose, goals and targets
3. To establish a positive team culture, the beliefs, values and norms of behaviour
4. To establish the role of the leader
The Objectives at the Second Stage
Some of the initial objectives will continue through to this stage, but other goals will be introduced to develop the team further. This stage is called the Storming stage, where members may challenge their shared purpose, the leadership or the norms of behaviour.
The objectives at this stage are:
1. To keep them aligned to their purpose and goals
2. To develop good working relationships between all members, giving them experience of working with different team members
3. To nurture shared problem solving and generating new ideas
4. To introduce processes so that they work effectively together eg daily huddles, flash problem solving meetings, regular state of play meetings, communication systems etc.
5. To establish clear short term goals and methods for celebrating achievement and milestones
The Objectives at the Third Stage
When the team has worked through the Storming stage, they will have become closer, and will have a deep sense of working together to achieve their shared purpose. This stage is called the Norming stage, where they work well together and has effective processes and systems.
To get the team to the next stage, the focus changes.
Not many teams achieve the fourth stage, the high performing team. The reason for this generally is that they get stuck in the Norming stage. To move the team forward, the objective now is to change the focus quite dramatically.
Up to now, the idea has been that there is no 'I' in team. The objective is to bind the team together to achieve their shared targets. Now the objective is to get the 'I' back in to the Team, to hold them together, but also to develop individual excellence and specialism.
The objectives at this stage are –
1. To increase the business knowledge, so that the team and individual members can take on more responsibility
2. To encourage problem solving, innovation and leadership for specific projects or tasks. The leader delegates to the team, or to small project groups.
3. To modify or change the processes so that they take on more responsibility. Team meetings reduce, team project teams increase. Leadership of projects or meetings rotates.
4. To get the team to set its own goals
With this clarity of the ladder of team building objectives, you will have a much better chance of developing your team effectively.