Making Time for Team Building

Being part of a team is something most cannot escape. In the standards and conformity assessment landscape, you can find yourself on more than a few committees, boards, projects, working groups, and more. Learning about your team members, what they think, how they process information, how they communicate, can be essential to avoiding confusion, enhancing thoughtful conversation, and moving things forward.

Approaches to team building can include trust activities, socializing, surveys and sharing, and conflict management. Learning how to disagree without resentment. In this article we’ll focus on realigning a current group – say a committee that’s headed in the wrong direction and needs to refocus, realign, and start making progress. Here are some tips:

Open evaluation of NOW

Have everyone in the team identify two things everyone could be doing that would improve productivity. Write them all on a board and then have the group rank them. Once you’ve narrowed it down to 2-3 behaviours, make it your team mission to focus on those items for at least 2-3 minutes at the beginning of each meeting. Remind everyone why you picked them and how they can change their behaviour to match up with the expectation.  

Planning out TOMORROW

Ask the team what the goal of the group is, where are they headed, what must they accomplish. Then have them breakdown what needs to be done to reach the goal. If it’s too high level, have them dig deeper to a second set of steps. Discuss who is responsible for those steps and how critical they are to achieve the goals. Ensure that everyone on the team agrees on the goals and the steps to reach those goals and get their individual commitments to reaching them. Ensure you review the agreed goals and steps quarterly or more frequently as needed and when the team seems to be veering off course, remind them of the goals, steps, and need to stick to the plan. Setting clear deadlines and accountability is also critical.

Clear and consistent MOTIVATION

Everyone loses steam over time and in a lot of instances, this isn’t a member’s only or first commitment. Many committee members are also working full time, working on multiple committees, and juggling life/work balance issues. Remind the team regularly how well their doing, how critical each member is to the overall success of the team, and how rewarding reaching the goal will be. Need inspiration, try these “50 quotes to reinforce the importance and benefits of teamwork.”

Celebrate OFTEN

Each milestone in reaching a goal may seem small, but if you’ve planned for tomorrow correctly, each is critical to reaching the team’s goal. So, Celebrate, ensure the team gets an opportunity to pat each other on the back, congratulate each other on their progress, and take a sigh of relief that they are that much closer to the goal.

Building strong teams takes time, work, and commitment, but the rewards include time savings, less stress and frustration, and potentially, long term friendships. Current team members can also be future team members and so putting in the work now to build strong relationships and practices, pays off for years to come.

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