Why most team building fails

The business benefits of having a high performing team cannot be understated. There is immense power in a common purpose, shared goals, clear individual roles, mutual accountability and a strong commitment to each other – just ask Tour De France winner Bradley Wiggins and the increasing number of GB teams that are collecting golds at the Olympics. Yet, in business, the high performing team holy grail is hard to find and to make it worse many people waste a lot of time, effort, money and goodwill along the way.

The phrase “we’re doing some team building” is often met with an audible, or silent, groan. Images of getting drunk with the boss, building rafts, climbing through trees, crawling through the forest and being colour-coded through some psychometric test quickly come to mind . Whilst people might have some fun and good photos in the process the business impact of these types of activities is very much in doubt.

The main thing to realise is that teams form around a specific task. The way that teams need constitute themselves and how individuals need to perform and behave within the group is completely driven by the task. Yet despite this obvious fact, most team building activities that business owners or leaders undertake are abstract and lack any reference or involvement of the business tasks required to be successful. Personal lifelines, psychometrics, trust walks, feedback, etc. are only helpful in the context of enabling the right behaviour required for the task.

It is therefore no surprise that we find that many of our clients’ management teams feel much closer and more able to operate as a team when we have helped them (as a team) to develop their strategic plan for the business and to identify their team priorities.

If you want your team to be a high performing one perhaps you need to get them working on some team tasks that grow the business. Therefore, some questions you might want to ask are:

  • To what extent was/is your team involved in the creation of your strategic plan?
  • What are your team’s common purpose, values and vision?
  • Where are the real opportunities in your business to work as a team?
  • How could you get more from the capability and experience that sits within your team?

About adampscampbell
Passionate about helping ambitious business owners to create sustainable success. For information on our work with our broader client base please feel free to look at the website www.telospartners.com To connect more with our work with ambitious business owners follow me @adampscampbell or connect at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=870168

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