Are your team meetings oriented toward success? Or are they loose, unstructured amalgams of daily life, jokes, chatter, and very little progress? You need some fundamentals if you’re going to orient your team toward success!
Team building does not happen in an empty space. It has a very specific context and fulfills a very basic need: alignment. Good team building combines business topics with collaboration and team dynamics, helping a team organize and start work each day with a clear understanding of how they fit into the overall strategy. You can start by clarifying two critical questions:
Company strategies are usually pretty well-defined and communicated, but the purpose of each particular team is rarely discussed. How is your team uniquely different from any other team in the company? Ask yourself and your colleagues these questions:
• What excites you when you come to work in the morning?
• Why is it worth to be part of this team?
• What are the key contributions your team is making?
Think about the team’s contributions to customers, the company, the community, and even the world. Be specific and identify the aspects which are UNIQUE to your team.
Four months from now, what does this team want to achieve? Collaboration goes beyond simple business planning; it relies on individual objectives that funnel together to make the team a larger success. The team may start out to collectively achieve a practical, concrete, short term goal. They break it down, piece by piece, and make sure that everyone sees their worth and their contribution to the larger goal. Such short-term objectives could be things like:
• Gain a better work/life balance within our team
• Integrate new employees or adjust to a new leadership team
• Achieve buy-in for a new growth plan, and reassign resources strategically
It takes collective efforts to find and articulate the best answers to these questions. It could take half a day or more just to solidify the foundations for your team’s future success. But once you have these answers, you will find your team aligned, enthusiastic, and fully aware of their responsibilities and how they relate to overall team success.
Getting to know your colleagues better, talking about communication preferences, addressing lingering conflicts, and celebrating recent achievements made as a team can give a big boost to your team. Far too often, successes and celebration are overlooked; quickly forgotten, as the next big task or the next urgent situation comes up, and we continue to run at 150 miles an hour.
Lastly, don’t forget to dedicate time during meeting wrap-up to discuss how each team member will report back the outcomes of their work, their advancement toward each goal, and their appreciation of others that work alongside them. If you do this, your team will find itself correctly oriented toward success!