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Why Your Team Building Efforts Suck

Managers are always holding team building sessions. But the training fades after a couple days. So what is missing? Two things to start with…

First, You Don’t Have A True Team Yet

A group of people is not really a team. Research tells us that a true team is a collection of individuals who:

  • Share a commitment to a common, elevating goal

  • Are interdependent – They truly cannot achieve the goal unless they actively pool their skills, perspectives and resources

  • Are mutually accountable – Each feels responsible for their commitments and they hold others equally accountable for their commitments

  • Share results/rewards (psychological and financial) – They view success as a reflection of their collective efforts

Second, You Focus on Mechanics and Forget to Create Connections

Your training usually focuses on the mechanics of things like communication skills. These are needed but not enough. Most training fails to help participants connect with a common goal and create a common identify/trust among themselves which will energize them to want to use those skills as a team.

What Can You Do?

Design your next team building session to focus much more on allowing participants to identify with and bond around a common goal. Once they have something that they own together, the training will have meaning for them and they will be more likely to act like a team after the training ends. Next Time we’ll look what musical groups and musical improvisation can teach us about teams and collaboration.

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