For many organizations, teambuilding is a good way to have people collaborating better. Of course, there is a difference between simply working together and truly collaborating.
We can even speak about “creating a close-knit team”. As an entrepreneur, you don’t want to waste money and your people’s time in a teambuilding program that does not deliver constructive results. Are you part of a team, and are you forced by the boss to participate in a teambuilding project? You might be on your guard, since you are not 100% sure of what’s going to happen. Will there be things said that can be used against you?
You might recognize that. So how do you handle the teambuilding process effectively? How does it work? What aspects are definitely to be taken into account? That’s what this article is about.
First, we’ll speak on the goal of teambuilding before moving on to an action plan for an effective teambuilding process. And finally, we’ll give you three practical tips that allow you to start the teambuilding project even more successfully.
The Purpose of Teambuilding
Every teambuilding project should have the same big goal: Creating a stronger and more effective team, that achieves the common goals more quickly. There. Easy, huh? That’s how easy it can be. Theoretically, at least. In daily practice, more is involved. Oh! By the way: You should discuss, together with your team, what the common result is that you’re all going to strive towards. After that, you can start with Step #1.
Step #1 of an effective Teambuilding process: Trust
We know it sounds like a cliché. Still, it really is step number one of any effective teambuilding process. Mutual trust is foundational if you want to create a stronger and more effective team. Moreover, you cannot do it without trust. Additionally, this mutual trust is what requires all efforts in the beginning. Trust is not something that can be built with a single meeting or any three-hour session. This takes daily and conscious effort. It comes and goes quite easily.
What helps in the building of that personal connection and mutual trust between colleagues, is learning about your own non-conscious behaviors. That way, you’ll learn how your non-conscious behaviors impact others. Who are you getting along with, because of that? And why? And maybe even more important: On who does your non-conscious behavior work like nails on a chalkboard, and why? Learning about non-conscious behaviors will 100% help with building trust in a teambuilding process. Learning to look at the work and the world through the lens of your colleagues will always result in greater empathy.
You will also notice a relaxation of sort in communication. It takes the edges off, when you understand why someone does what he or she does. But remember that it’s a two-way street: When you put in an effort to understand someone better, they’ll do the same for you. And once that mutual trust has built enough, you can start with Step #2.
Step #2 of an effective Teambuilding process: Constructive Conflict
When you trust each other, that should lead to mutual honesty. Which is saying that you are being honest with each other, because you know that what you’re saying won’t be used against you in an unfair manner. When trust and honesty become visible, the team is ready for Step #2 in the process. You can start having constructive conflicts.
“But I thought conflict isn’t good for the internal team building process or the realization of Goals?!”
Yes, it is. If you can separate the people from the problem, that is. The goal of these conflicts is to get to the core of the problem sooner, in order to get to the goal in an expedited manner. And you’ll know that everyone has a different way of tackling the problem, which is why you should be able to have a constructive conflict about it. Discuss the specific plans to realize those goals, and don’t be afraid to voice your own opinions too! Go for the best option, no matter where it comes from. If this form of discussing conflicts in a constructive way is practiced by all, then the team can be ready for Step #3.
Step #3 of an effective Teambuilding process: Commitment
Openly discussing commitment towards the realization of common goals is essential to an effective teambuilding process. Everybody needs to verbalize their commitment – without it, there can be no common goals.
Step #3 is more than the pronunciation of that commitment. It runs deeper. Fundamental and logical consequence of Step #1 and Step #2 is that you can address each other’s commitment, or lack thereof. Both in a positive or a critical manner. What happens if there are two people in the team, that are not committed to the process? How do you perceive the people that are not joining in the team effort to achieve the common goals?
Within an effective Teambuilding process, where there is mutual trust and conflicts are handled constructively, people are willing and able to speak to each other about the (lack of) commitment. Remember – separate the people from the problem.
Part of the commitment is that agreements are made crystal clear. There can be no obscurity about what’s settled together. Who does what? When does this person do X? Why does this person do that? In what way? When is it done? How does this aid the realization of common goals?
These are the questions you need to ask yourself and each other when making clear agreements. This is how you ensure that the commitment is not individual, but that it’s carried by the whole team. And then you’ll be ready for Step #4.
Step #4 of an effective Teambuilding Process: Responsibility
Do the individual colleagues feel responsible for their own activities and results? Good.Mooi. Ben je er dan al?
Are you there yet? No, not yet.
Does the entire team feel responsible for all activities and results of all team members? That is what matters.
In any effective teambuilding process, the entire team is responsible. Not just for achieving common goals, but also for keeping every team member on board during the process. If the mutual trust to handle conflicts constructively is present, you’ll see that people are willing and able to address commitments and responsibilities.
Is someone not behaving in a way that was agreed on? Talk with that person.
Does anybody not do what they said they would do? Talk with that person.
Are the results not what you all agreed on? Talk to each other.
Responsibilities come individual and as part of a team, which is why can be honest to each other.
Step #5 of an effective Teambuilding Process: Common results
That’s what it’s about! Together you’ll get the results that any individual could not. The personal results are secondary to the team results. If done correctly, your individual results should bring the realization of the team goals closer.
1 + 1 = 3. That’s the essence of Step #5.
Of course, you’re not there yet. If you don’t continually pay attention to Step #1 to #4, Step #5 will be a constant battle. Not a constructive conflict, but a continual battle that will usurp all attention, energy, and time. Which is wasteful.
Be aware of all the different parts of effective teambuilding. Know why you do it, and what needs to be taken into account.
These steps in the Lencioni pyramid might be familiar. Which is why we’ve prepared a bonus for you!
In order to make the teambuilding process even more effective and easy for you, we have 3 practical tips ready for you!
BONUS: 3 Practical tips for effective teambuilding processes.
Practical tip 1: Use DISC for recognizing non-conscious behavioral styles
Knowing how someone behaves non-consciously, what his or her behavioral style is, is essential. DISC is an exceptional tool to figure out your own non-conscious behavioral style, how those of others work, and the impact you have on each other. If you know how someone behaves non-consciously, and what their style is, you don’t, however, know why that is. Therefore, Practical tip 2!
Practical tip 2: Use the Enneagram for the ‘Non-conscious why’
The only reason that anybody does anything, is because they believe that it has value. And these are the kinds of beliefs that are very hard to figure out for people.
However, our non-conscious beliefs dictate more than 93% of all human behavior. It effectively answers the question of “Why would he do that?” Knowledge of the Enneagram can provide insight in the different non-conscious strategies that people use and the drivers they have for realizing their goals.
Practical tip 3: Use the Art of Pulling for effective communication
Taking conflict head-on in a constructive manner, or addressing commitments and responsibilities, can be quite something. People will often feel attacked, which is why they’ll start to defend themselves. This is counterproductive, obviously. So how do you communicate effectively, without giving people the feeling they’re under attack? You do that by utilizing the Art of Pulling.
Not pushing in your message, point, or argument, but by pulling out a response.
In what stage of the effective teambuilding process are you and your team currently? What step? Where would you like to have some support? Let us know – we’re happy to help.
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Written by Stephan Annema, partner at martijnschaap.com.