Growing up you might have heard the cliche, Together Everyone Achieves More. Right? Eyeroll! It’s kind of cringe-worthy, but year after year schoolyards are filled with structured fun activities to build teams and teach kids the benefits of working together.

But those lessons shouldn’t stop at the ringing of the final school bell. 

No matter what stage you are in your career — or what you do for work — the lessons of proactive teamwork and collaboration continue. This is especially true if you’re a manager and you want your people to continue to power your business every day.

When it’s done right, team building can be one of the most essential parts of building and maintaining positive team dynamics. But doing it right isn’t always an intuitive process, especially if the concept merely evokes schoolyard memories.

Why team build?

As a business owner or team leader, it’s your job to ensure that the employees who are tasked with the execution and performance of your company’s projects have everything they need to do their jobs right. This includes the obvious stuff like technology and informational materials, but also other very important — but hard to quantify — things, like an environment of trust and open and honest communications.

Team building can help overcome the hurdles that stand in the way of productivity. It can also lead to a happier, more engaged workforce. 

And so it’s important not just to engage in team building but to engage in effective team building. After all, there’s no point in investing time and resources on activities that aren’t going to benefit your business.

So how do you make sure your team building efforts are effective? Here are the four steps we think you’ll want to follow to get there.

Step One: Establish What Your Goals Are

There are many different varieties of team building exercises, each geared toward a specific goal. For that reason, it’s important to establish what your goals are before choosing your activities. 

This way, you can be sure to select the right types of exercises for your purposes, and you can also clearly communicate to your team why they’re engaging in the activities to begin with.

Keep in mind that any goals you set for team building should be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.

Step Two: Set a Time, Date, and Place

Give your team plenty of notice about your team building endeavours, especially if they’ll be taking place outside of office hours. Make sure to consider how much time you’ll need (you don’t want to rush!) and consider everyone’s schedules before deciding on the specifics.

Step Three: Make a Plan

Don’t just try to wing it when it comes time to actually start your team building activities. 

Trust is crucial throughout the entire team building process, and part of that trust includes showing your team that you respect their time and have put thought and care into how you’ll be spending it.

As for the plan itself, start with something light, like the egg-drop challenge or “two truths and a lie.” From there you can move on to the activities that are specifically driven toward your established goals. 

You can find more of our favourite team building activities here.

Step Four: Provide Feedback

Team building isn’t a ‘set and forget’ sort of endeavour. 

It’s important to build on the session and link the lessons learned back to the everyday workplace. One way to do this is to provide group and individual feedback to your team a day or so after you’re done with your team building activities. 

Go over what people liked and didn’t like, what they got out of the experience, and whether they thought it was an overall success. Get some feedback on what they might like to do for future team building activities.

Effective team building starts with the planning. Put more effort into the back-end of the process — the goals, the timing, the structure and the employee experience — and you’ll gain more in return. 

Follow the steps above whether you’re organising a team building exercise for two people or 20 people. And equally important, remember team building is an ongoing process that needs to be revisited several times a year. Prioritise team dynamics and communications and you’ll see major benefits in terms of performance and morale.  

What team building activities do you think are the best? Share them with us on LinkedIn

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