What is team building? And why does that question generate so much discussion and disagreement? Does team building have to be formal and sequential to qualify? Are you team building if you simply spend time away from the office with your team, be it on the golf course or at a restaurant? Lots of questions here, and I don’t believe there’s a narrow or static answer for any of them. It’s worth taking time to understand the different facets of what is team building. Then you can align your organization’s goals with a kind of team building that will work for you.
This Thing Called Team Building
In a strict sense, team building happens over time and goes through different stages. Four stages of team building are often described as forming, storming, norming and performing. This speaks to the evolution of a team from the initial stages in which the team is formed, to the second stage in which members begin to push against each other as they establish roles and voice within the team. Norming implies that a team’s function and roles are becoming defined in a working model that leads to what every team aspires to – performing.
Why The Argument About What Is Team Building
On occasion, I’ve been questioned by corporate coaches who say the work we do with Team Building Through Song® isn’t ‘real’ team building. But of course I beg to differ. If your goals align with the results you’ll get when you work with us, or when you work with similar team building facilitators, then of course it’s real. So let’s talk about figuring out what kind of team building you need.
- Ongoing, developmental team building – When forming a new team, coaching and guidance is optimal. Many teams form without outside help. But if you can utilize strategic coaching you’ll be better positioned to get to your performing stage more quickly, and hopefully stay there longer.
- Troubleshooting team building – Sometimes teams become dysfunctional enough that they need ongoing coaching for a time. But then again, your team may just need some out-of-the-office time together so team members can interact in different ways. A well facilitated program that lasts only a few hours or just one day, can be enough to loosen stuck patterns and help colleagues regain appreciation of each other and of their mission.
- Team building tune-up – Their is real value and real ROI from team building events that are fun and interactive, with less emphasis on discussion or debrief. Fun, event based, team building goes a long way to opening channels of communication, building trust and re-energizing a team. This can increase innovation and efficiencies going forward.
What Is Team Building? Figure out your goals and needs before you answer that question. Then match the best kind of team building to your team’s current needs.