Six Red Flags That Give Team Building A Bad Rap.


By Morag Barrett on November 5, 2013

Posted by Morag Barrett | November 5, 2013Six Red Flags That Give Team Building A Bad Rap.I love the work we do with teams, team effectiveness sessions that focus on the HOW business gets done, not just WHAT needs to be achieved.  My team and I have partnered with hundreds of teams across the globe, all looking to take their performance to the next level. These team effectiveness sessions are planned and designed in partnership with the team and team leader.When done well, team effectiveness sessions can have a powerful and lasting impact moving the group towards becoming a high performing team.  We have seen the positive results that can be achieved, like any skill, building  a high performing team, or being a high performing team member can be developed, with the appropriate care and attention.However, we are also aware of the nightmare experiences that many team members may have been through before, the ill thought through trust-falls, the fun-fun-fun but with no business focus or outcome team building activities.  All of which have lead to team effectiveness getting a bad rap. Here are six red flags that cause us to push back, and if needed, walk away from a team session:Can you do that in an hour? When a gap on the agenda is driving force behind a team development request, we run.  Yes we could provide something that fits in the one-hour time slot you have (which in all likelihood will be condensed to 45 minutes as your other agenda items go long) but this would not do you, or us, any good.  A quick fill the time activity will invariably just scratch at the surface, be perceived as “fluff” and further undermine the credibility of any future teamwork efforts. Our experience tells us that it took you more than 45 minutes to get into the situation you want resolved, so be prepared to invest the appropriate amount of time, care and attention, to get yourselves out of it.We need the silver bullet.  A team that is struggling does not fix itself with one single event.  At SkyeTeam we are VERY good at what we do, however we can’t work miracles, though many of our clients wish we could.  There is unlikely to be one single intervention that will solve the team’s challenges.  If there were, you would have done it by now! (At least, I hope you would’ve.) If the team has been struggling for a while then it will likely take a period of time with guided team coaching to turn around.  We were discussing this with a leader recently who commented that is was less of a silver-bullet that was needed and more like a silver bebe gun… little steps that put together help to transform the team.Bring us the latest new thing! Building a high performing team is not rocket science, it is good old-fashioned common sense.  Ask your team to list the characteristics of a high performing team, and then discuss where you are hitting the mark or missing expectations.  There is your action plan.  Becoming a high performing team is rarely about the bells and whistles of the latest newfangled idea, invariably it is means getting very good at the fundamentals: understanding the goals and measures of success, communication, conflict, roles and responsibilities.Using a hammer to crack a nut.  We were recently invited to work with a senior level team.  When we conducted our due diligence (interviews with team members and key stakeholders) we found that the most pressing issue was the toxic behavior and attitude between two team members.  A group meeting to resolve issues between individual team members would likely have done more damage than good.  Don’t use a hammer to crack a nut – if the problem is with one or two members of the team design a solution that works with them, coaching, mediation or use of other tools, don’t make innocent bystanders watch the drama.All talk, no action. A team effectiveness session will result in powerful conversation, new understanding, a common language and framework to discuss and measure success.  All great stuff.  The team members will leave feeling good about uncovering some of the “un-discussable topics” that may have been holding them back.  It is all a waste of time with out ACTION.  A team that shares stories of past team effectiveness workshops, but is unable to share the decisions, actions or results that followed is a red flag.  To be successful there has to be a change in behavior, individually and collectively.It’s them, not me. The final red flag (for this list) is the leader who is disengaged from the process of team effectiveness.  If this is important enough to invest in then give the planning, facilitation and execution steps the attention needed.  This is not something to delegate, to pop in and out of, this requires the commitment of ALL of the team members, including the boss.There, six red flags that if you encounter will undermine the success of a team effectiveness session.  If you’d like to learn how we at SkyeTeam support our clients in building high performing teams then call us, we’d love to share our experience. Related ArticlesTags »building high performing teamsteam building activities Share
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