|This page follows our article that defines what a team is and gives you an introduction to the process of team building. If a team is a group of people working towards a common goal, then:|
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'Team Building' is the process of motivating and enabling that group of people to reach their goal.
Therefore, Team Building is not just an event (though events can play a part), nor is it something that can be 'done' by someone outside the team (though outside consultants can help). It is a task primarily for the team manager and the team members themselves.
In its simplest terms, the stages involved in team building are:
This process addresses the two main components of team performance:
motivation and capability
Problems of Scale
Team building can take a different form depending on the size and nature of the team.
In a project environment, where team composition is continually changing, the emphasis must be on selecting people who are self-starters and developing the skills in individuals to become effective team members very quickly. The 'scale' involved is 1 person, and the team building consultant or trainer is endeavouring to change the skills and abilities of the individual at operating within a team (or within multiple teams).
In teams where membership is static - typically in management teams - the motivational challenge is to align the drive of the disparate individuals around the same goals. There can be many inhibitors to performance - eg: personality, dynamics, processes etc., and how the individuals within the team relate to each other can have a big bearing on team performance. So, if a member leaves, or another joins, the dynamics of the team can be changed greatly and the task of team building has to start again. Here, the scale is small - say, 2 to about 12 - and the main priorities are to build the foundation of collective ownership of team objectives, and then overcome inhibitors through team bonding, facilitation, processes, etc..
A larger scale operates between teams. Where the teams do not relate well, they are called 'team islands'. The motivational challenge is to overcome the problem of "in/out groups" so that people have positive attitudes towards those in other teams. There are often many barriers between teams that inhibit team performance, but not all of them can be removed. The main task, therefore, is the bridging, or relationship, between the teams.
The largest scale is organisational culture change. With the exception of the senior management team, any changes to personnel have limited impact on the corporate culture. The key aim of company-wide team building is to change the behaviours and attitudes prevalent in the organisation, which are almost independent of who actually works there - new recruits who are 'different' often start behaving in accord with the existing culture.
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