So, responsibility for planning your organisation’s Team Building Day has fallen into your lap but you know there’s a lot more to this event being a resounding success than simply movement, music, and mirth! I understand that also, and it’s why my team building facilitation generates comments such as “That’s the best day we’ve spent all together by far!”. Sure, go-carting as a work team can be a lot of fun, but it won’t have the kind of memorable and lasting impact that my team building days have which solidly tick the boxes of ‘fun’ and ‘competition’, but also have the additional elements of increasing self and team awareness, assisting interpersonal communication, and allowing key messages from senior management to be included in a seamless fashion.
Team Building days are built on:
A number of years ago I was coaching a primary school soccer team. All of the players had been playing for years for their respective club teams when I pulled them together to form a school First X1 to play other schools. In our first match of the season we came up against a team with an extraordinary player-he was taller by far than any other player on the field (which called into question the legitimacy of his age, but that another story altogether) and he was better by far than any of my players. As a result, he not only dominated the scoring with five or six goals to his name, but he was such a source of encouragement and inspiration to his teammates, that we struggled in every facet of the game. It was clear that we needed to have a game plan that relied on teamwork more than ability because we were clearly not the best team in terms of skill.
It became apparent in the training and games intervening that none of my players were capable of player-to-player marking of the other team’s top player. What I required was someone who could stick like glue to him at all times, and it was clear to me that my players weren’t used to that style of defence, continually getting distracted by the ball and play. Having analysed the team I knew I had to look outside for such a resource but I had already run trials and knew that I had the best players in the school already on the team.
The solution was to bring in a player who would not be distracted by anything else apart from marking their key player, so I engaged the services of one of the school’s best rugby players whom I knew had some degree of skill when it came to soccer. I charged him with one task: to stick to the opposition’s best player at all times. My poor rugby player came off the field for the half time break almost in tears despite the fact that he was doing exactly what had been asked of him, and doing it really well. Fighting back the tears, he said to me “Mr Sharkey- he’s been so angry with me and has been swearing at me the entire half and I don’t know if I can handle it any longer! I really don’t know what I’m doing wrong!” I explained to him that nothing could be further from the truth. That it was BECAUSE he was giving the opposition’s best player absolutely no room to play, that he was getting so frustrated by not being able to dominate, or even play in the game. I encouraged my rugby playing ring-in and the rest of the team to continue doing exactly what they had been, because we were definitely on track for a better result than the first match.
Our imported player did two things for the sake of the team- firstly, he played a sport which is not his preferred, and secondly he forgot about playing the game and focused on sticking with his opponent. That meant that the rest of the team could get on with their jobs of defending and attacking as per usual. We ended up winning the game by a significant margin with the key player failing to score a single goal, and ultimately coming off the pitch before full-time with his frustration getting the better of him. We had won, not because of our individual or even corporate skill but because we had faced a challenge after the first match that we believed we could overcome, changed our game plan, and used our team to create our own disruption which culminated in a far better outcome.
And the rugby player’s name (I kid you not)- Sam Slaughter!
It’s the understanding of the need for cohesive teamwork in order to achieve corporate goals that I bring to any Team Building day, and what generates comments from these workshops like: “That’s the best day we’ve spent all together by far!” That was the comment made as the participants from a large, geographically dispersed team were leaving from a day’s team building set around “State of the Nation Updates” from business unit leaders.
Whether it be a two-hour mini team building event built around a simulation of workplace communication, or a full day of team building activities interspersed with interpersonal content, I can guarantee you a memorable, fun, and most importantly meaningful experience!
Team Building days are built on:
It’s important also to be clear on the key messages from senior management that need to be conveyed during the team day, to understand the purpose of these messages, and to agree on the appropriate mode of delivery and placement in the program.
Call me to discuss how you can get the most out of your next team building event!
This free e-book “Little Red Racing Hood” follows the tale of four very different behavioural styles that come together as an unlikely team to take part in a reality TV show building backyard tree huts. The team (and show) almost derails because of personality clashes until the producers force a ‘tools down’ so that the teams can be exposed to some timely advice from a team building and behavioural styles’ expert. But is it too little too late for Little Red Racing Hood and her incongruous team…?
Download a free PDF chapter from “Little Red Racing Hood”- A Story of Team Building Featuring a Tree Hut Building Team!
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