If you’re like most managers, you know that team building activities can be a very good thing. You might get excited reading about the various exercises and the results you’re sure to attain–until you take a step back and think about the various personalities, strengths and weaknesses of your actual team. Before you launch off into an activity, set your objectives clearly up front.
Approach team building from a business perspective. What are the overall goals for your entire organization? What are the goals for your division or department? What would best serve your customers or clients? Your team is an integral part in a larger system, so examine the system first. All activities should support business objectives.
Get down to the root of individual strengths and weaknesses. If you have many new team members, they might just need to get to know each other. If your team is resistant to change, you might need to show them change is positive. If your team communicates poorly, they might need some brush up skills. Be honest in your assessments but try not to target a specific individual–this is a team exercise.
Think short-term and long-term. Your short-term goal as a leader might just be getting through the exercise without experiencing a complete disaster. No matter your starting place, set goals that are attainable immediately and that teach a lesson that can be reinforced later. Because you’ve thought about big objectives, you’ll be able to transfer lessons learned back to the workplace.
Scale back your multiple objectives to just one. Your team may need a lot of things, but you can only work on so much at once. Choose one goal to start and commit to doing team building exercises on a regular basis to build on the momentum. Your singular objective might be the top priority, or it might be the easiest goal to achieve so you can get your employees used to doing team building activities.
All this thinking can lead you to some deep insights into your business as a whole, and your team as part of that whole. Write all this down so you can reference it in the future. Only after you have set your objective can you begin planning a team building activity.