Marathons, 20 miles, 10 miles, 1 mile, Ekiden, mountainbike races, climbing mountains on a bicycle, triathlons, golfevents… I just love it when people participate in sporty challenges for individuals!!!
Going to sportevents, cheering for your teams, inviting customers in business seats: again, great stuff!
I love endorphins. I love people who try to stay healthy. I love people who train for a sport event. I love people who love sports. I love companies who see the value of wellbeing for their employees!
BUT. Sometimes you see fancy marketers trying to sell these events as “team building”. Please guys, give me a break and stop doing that because you are overpromising and under delivering. Team dynamics is much more than a bunch of individuals performing well in sports or watching sports together. Stick to your core business and that is: organising sport events for sporty individuals or for people who are interested in sports. And you are doing a great job by the way.
If you really want to start building a team, this requires at least 5 people achieve something together.
No, not the 5 best runners of your company you selected and trained to win a race
No, not the 11 people you selected to form a football team for your company
No, not the top notch CxO’s who play golf with customers
…but 5 people who work with each other on a daily basis, all have their strengths and weaknesses, and are in the teambuilding activity together with a chance to win something because they are an awesome team.
Not everybody loves sport in a way all these individual athletes do (the world would be a boring place wouldn’t it?), but sport has the power to unite people in a way that little else does! You feel the important difference? If you really want to organise a sporty teambuilding, EVERYBODY should be able to participate and everybody should be able to win!
You don’t have to believe me, as I’m only in the teamsport industry for 12 years .
By the way, I think team building is not the best word for it. Improving team dynamics is probably a better one. I like even more “Improving Wellbeing of Teams”, but for a lot of people that’s still a bit difficult to grasp.
Look at how the famous Six Sigma describes team building, but I think it’s originally coming from Tuckman. Read the text and try to find the individual athlete in there…
There are five typical stages in the team building process. Each team passes through these stages as they start and proceed through the project. The various phases of the team building process are as follows: Forming, Storming,Norming,Performing and Adjourning.
The first stage in the team building process is called the Forming stage. In this stage the team comes together and begins to formulate roles and responsibilities. The team leader is identified and he/she starts directing the team and assigning responsibilities to other team members. Most team members at this stage are generally enthusiastic and motivated by a desire to be accepted within the team. The leader employs a directive style of management which includes – delegating responsibility within the team, providing a structure to the team, and determining processes needed for the smooth functioning of the team. Towards the end of this phase the team achieves a commitment to the project and an acceptance towards a common purpose.
The second phase in the team building process is called the Storming stage. As suggested by the name itself, in this stage conflicts start to arise within the team. It is responsibility of the team leader to coach and conciliate the team. Team members often struggle over responsibilities and control within the project. The leader employs a coaching style of management which is reflected through facilitating change, managing conflict, and mediating understanding between different parties. Towards the end of this phase, team members learn to voice disagreement openly and constructively while staying focused on common objectives and areas of agreement.
The third stage in the team building process is called the Norming Stage. In this stage, relationships gel and the team develops a unified commitment towards the project goal. The team leader promotes the team and participates actively in the team activities. Team members look up to the leader to clarify their understanding as some leadership roles begin to shift within the lower rungs of the group. The leader employs a participatory style of management through facilitating change, working to build consensus, and overseeing quality control. Towards the end of this phase, team members accept individual responsibilities and work out agreements about team procedures.
The next stage in the team building process is called the Performing stage. In this stage, team members manage complex tasks and work toward the common goals of the project. The team leader supervises and lets the team lead the project on more or less an automated mode. This is the most productive stage for the project team. The leader employs a supervisory style of management through overseeing progress, rewarding achievement, and supervising process. When the project has been successfully completed or when the end is in sight, the team moves into the final stage.
The last stage of team building is called the Adjourning stage. In this stage, the project is winding down and the goals are within reach. The team leader provides feedback to the team. During this stage, team members are dealing with their impending separation from the team. The leader employs a supportive style of management by giving feedback, celebrating accomplishments, and providing closure.
You will notice that each stage of team, the team leader needs to adopt a different style of leadership. It is therefore important for a leader to understand these stages and identify the current stage that a team is undergoing. The success of the team depends on how well the leader can guide them through these phases.
I wish you all a Herculean Day!