Most of today’s organizations function in a team setting. These may be cross functional or functional internal teams, client service teams made from internal and external service providers, or other member compositions. Stability is an essential component to the success of these teams. Why? Because teams go through many stages before they become high performing — namely: forming, storming, norming and finally, performing. Stabilty makes teams more efficient and effective at doing their jobs.
In today’s recessionary, lay-off laden environment, stability is simply not a reality. Does this mean organizations are going to suffer from less efficient and less effective teams? Most likely. Now, more than ever, organizational leadership must prioritize team building amongst it’s highest goals or risk suffering an even greater setback from the loss of team members and the environment of uncertainty we are in.
Why team building? Because trust has suffered a great blow in organizations and this hinders cooperation amongst teams that have been newly formed or have lost or changed members. Organized team building sessions, with the assistance and direction of an objective, outside facilitator, helps team members build trust with each other. Specific trust building activities, such as sharing personal histories, viewingthe situation from each others perspectives and understanding motivations leads to an increase in cooperation, admiration, and, ultimately, trust. Once this trust has been established, teams can develop shared goals based on the passions of individual team members. Cooperative, trusting team members will then be able to work together to meet the team goals and help each other embrace their passions and contribute their best to the team.
Teams that spend a lot of time “forming” and/or “storming” typically don’t move the needle on accomplishments as quickly as teams that are high performing. The essential difference between these stages is trust and, as a by product, cooperation and shared goals. The relatively small investment of time and money it takes to bring in a facilitator and set aside a few days a quarter for team building will pay back multiple times in the efficiency realized by teams that work well together and have developed a team perspective on where they want to go and how to get there. And, after all, in the end it’s all about the people!
Cindy Diamond, Founder and CEO
IGNiTE, facilitating strategy and innovation