…as top management consultants, most of us work in teams. So team building is of the essence for good cooperation under high pressure.
The common phrase “work hard – play hard” leads us to plan fantastic and outstanding events. Events that are as thrilling and unique as our work. And certainly, special events like a helicopter ride in the Swiss Alpes, safari trecking in Mozambique, or bungee jumping from the television tower definitely stay in the long-term memory. They make it to the allstar list of stories why it is worthwhile to work day and night with an awesome team.
But are they really suited to enhance effective team building? They rather serve as a special retreat. Most of the time they happen after a significant project success, so when team building is actually not needed any more.
When it comes to team building I found that the most simple events work best. Events that enhance communication among team members on different topics than work. Even better if these events are suitable to build them as a routine into day-to-day life on a project.
As a young project manager, I did some experiments with team building events. I was surprised which events were ranked by my teams as most effective. Let me share two examples.
Supper tradition: In a very remote place without any restaurants near by, we used to go to the next supermarket and purchase bread, cheese, vegetables etc. to have a joint team supper. We had it at least twice a week for about 30 minutes.
Running case team meeting: Once a week we would go for a run together before going to work. Everybody would share his most important thoughts on the project while running. No slides, of course. It was a great training for crisp short sentences as well.
That leads me to my conclusion. Effective team building events are simple, comprise of a joint activity, enhance communication beyond work and are idealy repeating events.
Have a great time building your teams!
Thursday Night Flight is brought to you by Malte Müller Professionals. Sharing best practices for top management consultants on topics like communication, client handling, problem solving, appearance, and fitness. Check out www.mm-professionals.com for more material and free resources!