In this article, we will discuss some of the most important traits on how to be an effective team building facilitator.
First, we will talk about the art and the science of team facilitation. Also, what it takes to succeed as a team building facilitator.
After that, we will examine the range of methods, from the worst to the best team building approaches.
Finally, we will present our 12-step process for designing a Right-Minded Team Building workshop. This process is what is called a real-world team building method.
Team Building Facilitation is Both Art and Science.
The effective team building facilitator understands that the “art” of facilitation is their ability to interact well with teammates. In other words, it is your ability to lead by example.
When you exhibit Right-Minded attitudes and behaviors, you, by example, teach others emotionally mature teamwork behavior.
Moreover, you are showing them exactly how to work and behave as a high-functioning, Right-Minded teammate.
If you display egotistical or arrogant behavior, it will inevitably anger teammates. Moreover, it creates teammate resistance. Not leading by example, harms the team building effort.
Therefore, the best facilitators always keep improving their own interaction and communication skills. They know doing so helps them succeed and serve their teams better.
The “science” of facilitation is your knowledge of the best teamwork methods.
For instance, you understand how teams operate. Further, you know how to approach problems strategically. And, you thoroughly see the value of guiding teams through a continuous improvement process, like the 5 Elements of Right-Minded Teamwork.
But science is not just knowledge. It is also a methodology in action.
The “science-in-action” is your ability to successfully apply Right-Minded Teamwork’s 12 Steps to design a real-world, customized, practical team building workshop.
When you combine both the art and science to team building facilitation, you successfully design and facilitate a workshop that produces powerful and tangible results.
Succeeding as a Team Building Facilitator
Effective team facilitators are skilled in three specific traits.
- Designing Workshops
- Facilitating Workshops
- Teaching in Workshops
That is to say; the most successful facilitators are skilled at the art of communication and the science of facilitation. Incorporating all three facilitator traits into their practice, they readily integrate both the art and science into everything they do.
Another successful facilitator trait is they do not over-function.
“Over-functioning” means doing way too much for teammates (usually things teammates need to do for themselves).
As the story goes, if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.
Teams need tools, not quick fixes. Be helpful, but do not over-function.
In this article, we will discuss the first facilitator trait, designing team building workshops, in detail. We will present an overview of the 12 Step in How to Design a Right-Minded Team Building Workshop. Which is, what we will define next as a real-world team building workshop.
The other two facilitator traits, facilitating in the workshop and teaching, are essential, but we will discuss those in other articles and training classes.
Before we discuss the design process, let us set the context for what is and is not a real-world team building.
From Worst to Best: Team Building Exercises
Team building sounds simple. How can so many people still have it wrong?
Here is a list of the worst team building exercises and good team activities.
Worst of the worst team building exercises
In Alison Green’s article, 10 Horrifying Team Building Exercises, you can read about some foolish and irrational activities that are called “team building.”
Please discourage others from thinking these activities are worthwhile team building exercises. In short, they are not.
A little better team building activities
Some well-meaning people believe happy hours, bowling, or similar activities serve as “team building.”
These are nice social events, and they can certainly encourage camaraderie. But please, do not call them team building. They, too, are not.
Hit or miss team building
In “experiential play” scenarios, teammates typically go to an outdoor playground-type facility. Together, they experience either low-element games (played on the ground) or high-element exercises (constructed on poles).
In these settings, the teacher is accountable for providing a successful experience.
Ideally, participants gain new understandings from their time together that will benefit them and the team. In reality, though, while some team members may enjoy the experience, many do not.
Other team activities such as games, can be fun. But just like the outdoor play, activities like the Egg Drop game are not true team building, and their results are limited.
Can be helpful – team building
Educational and training events can be helpful for teams. In this team building approach, teammates attend some kind of lecture.
Once again, the instructor is responsible for creating a successful training experience.
The hope is that participants will use the guidelines they have learned to build better teamwork. Sometimes this works, and sometimes it does not.
Best of the best: real-world team building
Instead of yet another group bonding activity, teammates attend a custom Right-Minded team building workshop. This workshop is designed specifically to meet their real-world needs.
Above all, the 12 steps are, by far, one of the most successful characteristics of effective team building.
In this workshop, team members discuss and resolve their real teamwork challenges. All exercises and discussions result in practical Work Agreements.
These Agreements outline how teammates will collaboratively work together to achieve their team’s business goals while respecting shared psychological values.
With Right-Minded Teamwork, teammates and the workshop facilitator are jointly held accountable for a successful team building experience.
Afterward, instead of merely hoping teammates will use their new knowledge on the job, teammates make firm, collective commitments to follow their new Work Agreements to improve their teamwork.
Real progress is made together. That is Right-Minded Teamwork.
Right-Minded Teamwork 5 Elements
This primary purpose of this article is to present the 12 Step process for designing a Right-Minded Team Building Workshop. Designing the workshop is one of the essential facilitator traits of an effective team building facilitator.
But before we present the steps, let me give you a little background on Right-Minded Teamwork itself.
The Right-Minded Teamwork model was built and fine-tuned over my, Dan Hogan, 35 years of facilitation, development, and team transformation.
Moreover, the concepts of RMT can be distilled down into the 5 Elements, which consist of two team goals and three team building methods.
Right now, your team may be struggling with issues that feel insurmountable. But with Right-Minded Teamwork, navigating those rough, choppy waters is absolutely possible.
(Hint: Team building workshops, just like the kind you will soon create using the 12 Steps Process, are an excellent way to introduce the 5 Elements to your team.)
Right-Minded Teamwork’s 5 Elements include:
- Business Goals
- Psychological Goals
- Work Agreements
- Operating System
- Right-Minded Teammate Development
Without clear goals, team members may falter, become distracted, or fail to fulfill their role on the team. Goals provide direction and a way to measure progress and success. For this reason, the first two of Right-Minded Teamwork’s 5 Elements focus on goal setting.
For example, RMT teaches there are two types of goals every team should consider: business goals and psychological goals.
The Goals are:
In order for a team to succeed, each team member must first know, understand, and choose to align with the team’s overarching performance goals (business goals). All team members must also know, understand, and choose to align with the team’s interpersonal, behavioral, and communication goals (psychological goals).
By clarifying and communicating the team’s business and psychological goals, all team members are offered a level playing field.
Once the team’s goals are clear, the next three elements provide three specific tools to help create a high-performing team.
The three tools in RMT’s 5 Element model are:
- Work Agreements
- Operating System
- Right-Minded Teammate Development
How do these three tools work?
Firstly, Work Agreements are written agreements created collectively by all team members. They define a single set of performance and behavioral expectations. Work Agreements are powerfully effective at resolving interpersonal issues and conflicts because they provide a mutually agreeable baseline for everyone involved.
Once the playing field has been leveled with Work Agreements, the Team Operating System defines or redefines the team’s structure. The Operating System outlines roles, responsibilities, and team processes and procedures.
Lastly, Right-Minded Teammate Development offers teams a way forward by focusing on individual success within the whole. Teammates are encouraged to support one another to reach new heights.
Knowing where the team is headed, how they will be treated, and precisely what is expected of them allows each team member to confidently engage in their role and support the team.
In this way, the 5 Elements provides a firm foundation for team growth.
The 5 Elements model can also serve as a team assessment tool. It will help you prepare for and execute a practical team building workshop that actually improves team performance. Thinking about each of the elements within your team is an excellent way to identify specific team challenges.
12 Steps to Design a Right-Minded Team Building Workshop
Your client wants help. You know their needs. How can you ensure you deliver a truly transformational workshop experience?
The 12 Step How to Design a Right-Minded Team Building Workshop book and training course will teach you how to design practical, powerful team building workshops.
If you want to be an effective team building facilitator, use the process.
The 12 Steps Workshop Design Process includes three phases:
- Contract: Designing the workshop (steps 1-9)
- Commence: Facilitating the workshop (step 10)
- Carry On: Keeping up momentum after the workshop (steps 11-12)
Contract: Designing the Workshop
The team leader determines the workshop’s purpose. Often workshops focus on something the team needs to change or improve because teammates are not working well together.
The team leader connects with the team building facilitator. The leader conveys the purpose and potential outcomes for the workshop. Both agree to follow the Right-Minded Teamwork’s 12 Steps Process.
The leader gives the facilitator permission to think of their initial desired outcomes as symptoms. This allows the facilitator to uncover root causes the leader may not have considered. In this step, it is not unusual to learn what the leader wants may not be what the team actually needs.
The facilitator creates and presents a 1st Draft Plan to the leader. The plan includes the initial set of workshop outcomes, agenda, Punch List of workshop topics, and an announcement plan.
The leader announces the workshop and prepares teammates. Teammates learn they will be interviewed by the facilitator. By offering their input and perspective, they will participate in designing the workshop outcomes and agenda.
The facilitator conducts a Right-Minded teammate survey to help identify potential workshop outcomes.
The facilitator interviews all teammates, summarizing their collective views in the Punch List document.
The facilitator creates and presents a 2nd Draft Plan to the leader.
The leader and facilitator fine-tune and agree on the final outcomes and workshop agenda. Together, they distribute the agenda and begin preparing teammates for the workshop.
Commence: Facilitating the Workshop
The leader and facilitator conduct the workshop and achieve workshop outcomes.
Teammates agree to track their performance after the workshop. They agree on what they will track, how they will track it, and to whom they will report their progress.
Carry On: Keeping Up Momentum
For the next 90 days, the team tracks their progress.
The leader and facilitator either begin designing the second workshop, or they decide to transfer that responsibility to others.
If the facilitator is asked to design the next workshop, the cycle continues onward, beginning with Step 1 again.
As the cycle is repeated over time, the team grows and evolves together.
In this article, we discussed the art and science of how to be an effective team building facilitator. We reviewed a number of important facilitator traits such as designing, facilitating, and teaching in workshops, plus the goal of not over-functioning.
We presented the range of team building methods. I hope you see the benefit of the real-world approach because it will ensure you are an effective team building facilitator.
Finally, we presented an overview or our 12-step process for designing a Right-Minded Team Building workshop. It is a real-world team building process. If you use it, you will be an effective team building facilitator.
To Your Success, Dan Hogan