Before thinking about team building, ask why has the team been formed?
Before thinking about the members of the team, the most important step is to clearly understand why this team needs to exist. Some questions which can aid this understanding include:
What task needs to be completed?
What skills are needed to complete the task effectively?
What, exactly, do I need this particular team to do?
Which people have the necessary skills?
How long will it take to complete the task?
How do I know when the task is complete?
How do I recognise ongoing progress?
How can I reward and motivate team members?
How can I exploit individual ideas and skills?
For both project teams and long term operational teams, clarity of purpose and alignment of goals is critical to success.
Team building is an active process by which a group of individuals with a common purpose are focused and aligned to achieve a specific task or set of outcomes.
Teams can form themselves naturally, given time. Individual and shared goals are integrated into team activity over time as the members of the team get to know each other. Whilst there may be conflict at first, the team eventually aligns itself, has the right people doing the right things and gets on track to achieving its goals. Sometimes, teams are put together to meet an organisational need without having clearly defined goals and in this situation, it may take longer for the team to start delivering.
Team building accelerates the natural process of team formation by setting very clear goals right from the start. A “team building” workshop uses a variety of tools and techniques to accelerate the process further, bringing the team together quickly and effectively.
Today, teams are reorganised more and more often. There simply isn’t time in many organisations to allow teams to form naturally. The accelerated process of team building is a cornerstone of organisational change as it allows new teams to harness their initial enthusiasm and convert it into results.
One of the most important aspects of team building is this conversion of ideas and enthusiasm into motivation and delivery. At first, a new team is a collection of individuals. At this stage, all they may have in common is a job title or project. Some of these individuals will have strong ideas as to how the team can best achieve its goals, and these ideas will not always be complementary. A team like this, left to form naturally, will experience some initial discomfort as the direction of the team is established.
Active team building can accelerate the process of team formation to create a team of focused individuals, sharing a common purpose and goal, fully ‘bought in’ to the direction the team will take to achieve those goals. Enthusiasm and motivation can be translated into achievements and success without any additional external influence.
So, team building is simply a way of actively managing the natural process of team formation by harnessing motivation and setting clearly defined goals and targets.