“We need better teamwork.”
You’ve said it many times, but something still nags at you. You don’t want to waste time on a silly team exercise, but wonder what the best team building methods is. I have your answer.
There are three basic corporate team building methods.
- Training – like in a classroom
- Experiential – like in an outdoor playground
- Actual – like in a team’s actual real-world
Which one is the best method and most effective? Yes, it’s Actual.
Before looking a little closer at each method, please have an open mind about what actually constitutes team building.
There is team bonding and there is team building.
Team bonding and team building are not the same — this is important to remember. Both serve a purpose, but are different. The experiential method is mostly bonding. The training method is less bonding, but it certainly does not directly address a team’s real issues.
The Actual Method is the only true team building method because it directly addresses and resolves a team’s real issues. Also, when team building is done right using the Actual Method, it strengthens teammate relationships much better than the other two methods.
Actual or true team building produces Work Agreements that teammates commit to in order to transform or mitigate team performance barriers. Team bonding can never achieve this kind of team building results.
Think of it this way: If your professional soccer team has been losing games, would you want them to go play a team building game like Tee Pee Shuffle or scavenger hunt? No, of course not. You want them to practice soccer on their practice field. Well, why not do the same in your team? You are far better off when you discuss teamwork directly with your teammates at your place of work.
Let’s talk about Team Building Training.
There is a wide variety of subjects that are considered key aspects of team building training. They are:
- Team Leadership
- Teammate Interactions & Communications
- Meeting Effectiveness & Facilitation
- Effective Decision-Making
- Project Management
- Conflict Resolution
- Emotional Intelligence
For a dozen years, I was an active corporate trainer. I taught many multi-day courses in these subjects. Since most corporate training is for individuals and not for complete teams, you can’t honestly say these training programs are true team building unless an entire team attends the training. In my 30 year career, I can only remember two teams that came to the same class.
Now, let’s talk about Experiential Training.
There is a wide variety of activities that are promoted as team building, but they’re actually team bonding. They include:
- Scavenger Hunts
- Paint balling
- Trust Falls
- Low Ropes Course like Tee Pee Shuffle or Spider’s Web
- High Ropes Courses like Bungee Trampoline and Dog Sledding
Many sincere and well-meaning people do their best to make a correlation between these activities and actual team building. However, when you step back and ask yourself, “is there really a need to play paintball in order to learn how to resolve conflicts?” Or, “do we really need to play Tee Pee Shuffle to learn how to have effective meetings?”
The answer is no.
Let’s talk about Actual Team Building.
This method addresses real world issues in a direct and non-confrontational way. Here are four successful methods:
- General Electrics Work-Out
- Six Sigma
- Google’s Project Aristotle
- Right-Minded Teamwork
The Work-Out method was developed and perfected at General Electric. This is not, in my view, a true team building effort because the Work-Out workshops included people from many different teams and departments. Nevertheless, GE has clearly proven that when teammates band together to a) overcome bureaucratic practices, b) address process barriers directly and c) accelerate decision making so as to implement solutions immediately, everyone wins. As a result of the Work-Out method, GE has grown to become one of the largest companies in the world.
The Six Sigma method was advanced by Motorola. This too is not necessarily a true team building program but like GE’s Work-Out, it deals directly with an organization’s real-world issues. Using a process that measures “defects per million opportunities,” Motorola advanced the method in the 1980’s to include a cultural change manage process. It’s been written that they have documented more than $16 Billion in savings as a result of “Six Sigma.”
Google’s “Project Aristotle has encouraged emotional conversations and discussions of norms among people who might otherwise be uncomfortable talking about how they feel. Googlers love data, ….but it’s not only Google that … shies away from emotional conversations. Most workplaces do. By putting things like empathy and sensitivity into charts and data reports, it makes them easier to talk about. …It’s easier to talk about our feelings when we can point to a number.’’ Read all about this in New York Times article What Google Learned from It’s Quest to Build a Perfect Team.
The Right-Minded Teamwork method is a business oriented plus a psychological approach to team building where acceptance, forgiveness and adjustment are teammate characteristics, and customer satisfaction is the team’s result.
This is an Actual Team Building method that is structured on these 5 key elements:
- Team Business Goal
- Team Psychological Goal
- Team Work Agreements
- Team Operating System
- Right-Minded Teammates
This method grew out of my three decades of in-the-field facilitation with hundreds of teams and thousands of teammates in the United States and around the world. When followed, this actual team building method will always produce real world results just like this team that saved $350,000 and increased teammate trust by 78%.
So, what method do you want to use? If you choose the actual method…
Here are three actions you can take right now.
- Understand and begin implementing the Five Elements of the Right-Minded Teamwork Structure.
- Learn How to Design a Right-Minded Team-Building Workshop by signing up for this 5 week online training course. It’s Free!
- Give Right-Minded Choice Cards to Your Teammates. Buy the Right-Minded Choice Model pdf template. Download here. Buy Avery 5392; Click Here.
To Your Success, Dan