Leadership Blog

Building Buy-In for Team Building

“I build the team during the normal business day.  A special meeting is not necessary for my team,” declared the seasoned manager.  My mentoring with this manager on Team Building basics was for a reason… his people were not working as a team!  Our Plant Manager, who was strongly committed to the formal Team Building Process, quickly cut through the excuses and declared that team building was a “condition of employment” for all managers.  Now we had everyone’s attention!

Team Building Meetings are a common Best Practice of highly effective leaders who sustain cohesive teams.  Formal Team Building is a process for people to break away from the routine work to think, collaborate, and connect.

Here are some basics of effective Team Building Meetings:

  • Critical to quality meetings: mutual respect, openness, honesty, confidentiality
  • Managers typically fall into three groups:  1) ready and able  2) ready but need help to be able  3) Not ready and not able.  Hence, most managers must be trained to lead Team Building Meetings.
  • Team Building is most effective when the hard and soft subjects are dealt with in separate meetings.  The “hard” includes such things as what can we do to improve the work process or more efficiently handle inventory.  The “soft” includes such things as how we work together better or how we can relate better.
  • Link everything back to the mission, goals, roles, and responsibilities.
  • Business meetings to review KPI’s or Projects are for another time.
  • Meetings are scheduled on a predictable frequency, e.g. monthly or quarterly.
  • A facilitator keeps the meeting flowing, is a catalyst for participation, and keeps the conversations at a high level of respect.
  • Include team building effectiveness as a performance appraisal line item.
  • Frequent barriers include scheduling, boring content, confidence to lead the meeting, or failure to see a need.

As team meetings mature, the team becomes more collaborative and connected, as well as receptive to healthy debate.  The benefits of formal Team Building are immense, with a team’s effectiveness and efficiency increasing exponentially. Conversely, not having Team Building Meetings results in missed understandings and looser relationships.  Leaders work hard at building the business, which includes building teams.

… And Pass It On!

Quote from Henry Ford: “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”

Team Building

Team Building

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Building Teams Builds Tomorrow

“Your team beats the numbers every week, and to top it off, they don’t seem to work as hard as the others, and it looks like they have more fun!  What’s your secret?” …This was the question to the team leader, Brent, from his peers at the lunch table. His response? …“It starts with quality Team Building meetings!”

Team Building Meetings is a common Best Practice of highly effective leaders, allowing the people to break away from the routine where they can think, collaborate, and connect about the work. Relationships, work, and results invariably improve.  One effective team meeting format is a simple one, asking only three questions:

1. What do you expect of me?
2. What do I expect of you?
3. How do we work better together?

This 3-Question team meeting proceeds as follows:

• The room is arranged with the team in a circle, so they face each other.  A flip chart occupies one position of the circle.
• A skilled facilitator from outside the team leads the process.
• The facilitator inspires balanced participation, open dialogue, respectful debate, and lets the boss interact with the information and content.

Building Teams Builds Tomorrow

Building Teams Builds Tomorrow

The questions are framed as follows:

1. The boss asks, “What do you expect of me?” …which the team answers.

• The team talks and the boss listens to the team’s expectations of the boss.
• Team members take turns answering the question, one by one, going around the circle.
• The team and boss interact to ensure understanding.
• By the time they complete the circle, the boss has a good idea of the team’s expectations and knows what is on the team’s mind.

2. The boss then asks, “What do I expect of you?” …which the boss answers himself.

• The boss renders his perspective on expectations.
• The team and boss interact again to ensure understanding.
• Now the team knows what is on the boss’ mind.

3. Everyone asks, “How do we work better together?” …which is answered by the team and the boss.

• A list is compiled of work issues or relationship issues.
• Go around the circle, with each person nominating one item for the list.  Surprises likely will not arise, but unknown misunderstandings may.  It’s all OK.  Nothing is out-of-bounds.
• Review the list, then prioritize, and plan the focus few that the team can deal with to have the most impact.

A quality Team Building Meeting builds trust, collaboration, and connection, which improves a team’s effectiveness and attitudes, which delivers results.

… And Pass It On!
Quote from a Basketball Sportscaster: “You don’t win with the best talent – you win with the five players who are able to play well together.”

Posted in Best Practices, Culture, Leadership & Management | Leave a comment

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