Thinking about objectives could make or break your team building plan
When you think of your favorite sports team, can you imagine they would be successful if they had any trouble working together? Probably not. Like a successful sports team, in an ideal world, your team should function like a Swiss watch. Most teams work together reasonably well in general, but even if there are no obvious big issues, there is always room for improvement. And you would be surprised how much improvement is possible when all the little gears are interlocked perfectly.
This is where team building comes into play. A properly conducted team building session will support your employees and help them to work better together, with more efficiency, and with increased productivity. At the same time, work stress levels will lower and so also create health benefits for your team.
Objectives of Team Building
Team building sometimes has the image of being a waste of time and money, with the participants just awkwardly fulfilling strange tasks which don’t seem to make any sense. However, there are in fact a multitude of positive effects you can achieve with the right team building exercise or team building event. Such an event or exercise can be tailored exactly to the needs of your team for maximum efficiency. There are so many different and important points that can be improved significantly with the right and ongoing team building.
In order for your team to get the most out of team building, it is important to think about your objectives. Obviously, the number one objective is for your team to bond, but there are important indirect objectives which are important to the overall health of your team that you may be missing.
In this blog post, we will discuss some objectives that can help you find the right framework for your team building activities.
Bring Your Team Closer Together
A team building event is a great way for your team members to get to know each other on a more personal level. If team members are able to bond, for example over a common interest, it will improve their personal connections and can therefore make communication in a work environment run much more smoothly and efficiently. This will increase the productivity within your team and the company as a whole will benefit from a closer relationship between team members.
Especially for remote teams, it is important to ensure that everybody knows each other and is more than just a name on an email signature. Knowing more about your remote colleagues will also be helpful to understand their routines a little better and to know when and how to contact them best if you need their help.
If you are working with a remote international team, team building events will also help to bridge cultural differences and provide a chance to learn about the different ways of life and cultural influences of your colleagues.
(Today there is a wide variety of team building activities, including some that are completely online–perfect for remote/WFH teams).
Learn Something Together
The feeling of having learned something useful or a new skill can be very satisfying and enjoyable, so a team building event in which your team members can learn something new (even if it’s not work-related), can connect them together through a feeling of accomplishment.
Similarly, such a bond through accomplishment can be achieved by facing a common challenge in a low stakes environment, like an escape room (on site or nowadays preferably online). Such activities allow teams to test and grow their challenge-facing abilities in a “safe” and controlled environment.
Facing a challenge together can tell you a lot about your teammates strengths and weaknesses, and way of thinking. These are very valuable pieces of information when it comes to working together in a stressful situation. Working together is just so much easier when you are on the same page.
Even when the event is not work related on the surface, anything that can bring your team members closer together and encourage communication will be helpful and improve work quality overall.
Another great way to learn new skills and improve your communication and problem solving abilities is through something called an improv workshop. These workshops are based around improv acting skills, such as building off of others’ ideas and thinking on the spot (don’t worry, no acting abilities are necessary). Your team members will learn how to react quickly and honestly and also how to quickly tap into their creativity to maybe come up with new ideas that saves the day.
A little celebration together as a team can be an excellent team building activity as well, be it as a celebration of a success like the completion of a project, the launch of a product or landing a new, important client, or simply to say thank you to your team. Showing appreciation for a job well done will go a long way in terms of motivating your team.
On the other hand, maybe you don’t need a reason and you just want to hang out with your coworkers, winding down and maybe having a few drinks together in order to get to know each other in a casual setting. These informal, loosely structured team building activities are also important because they celebrate just being together as a team.
Celebrating the fulfilment of a goal will also help to prepare your team for the next big project by teaching them the importance of appreciating each other and enjoying the fruits of success as a team.
Build Trust Together
Remember, all your team members are individuals with their very own skill sets (the extent of which you might not even fully know yet), ambitions, and boundaries. Understanding your colleagues better through team building will therefore also increase harmony and acceptance within the team and reduce the potential for conflict.
Working in a team where everybody looks out for each other will also decrease stress and anxiety. The “freed-up” energy can be channeled into increased productivity
Creating an environment that feels safe will also encourage your team members to openly address issues when they see a problem and they will also be more willing and confident to put forth their own creative ideas. Your team members will also have an easier time entrusting their colleagues with tasks because they have an idea of their individual needs, working style, and preferences.
Some have termed this “psychological safety”, and there is a lot of academic work being done, including studies conducted at Google, on how it can affect work culture.
Become A More Efficient Team Together
Ultimately, becoming a closer team is important in order for the team to accomplish its goals. If it isn’t accomplishing anything, if there are no standards or stakes, then the team can end up floundering, no matter how close and tight its members are. But as we have clearly laid out, efficiency and team building go hand in hand.
When your team is close and works well together, it is easier for them to move from goal to goal efficiently. It is also easier for them to create new goals, and new ideas to solve them. Team building thus leads to a positive reinforcement loop. With each team building activity, teams get closer, allowing them to solve more goals, which makes them even closer. It’s a win-win-win across the board.
As outlined above, well thought-out, regular team building activities will help the clockwork of your team to run more smoothly and to reach its full combined potential, while at the same time making work for your team members easier, more pleasant, more efficient and less stressful. The objectives above create an environment and a work culture that produces healthy and vibrant teams, ready to face the challenges ahead. Thinking about the objectives that you want to achieve from your team building can also help make the activities that you choose more focused, and tailored to your team’s needs and aspirations.
Invite Japan offers a wide array of team building packages to fit your group’s objectives. We have online team building, face-to-face (small group) events, and larger outdoor scavenger hunt programs.