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As important as technical skills and knowledge may be in your industry, team leaders and teammates soon realize that the soft stuff is really the hard stuff.

Workplace performance is the result of developing your people beyond the normal range of technical skills.

Emphasizing soft skills is not just important – it is vital to creating a culture of consistent improvement and results.

Like many leaders, as a young coach I focused primarily on strategy and the requisite skills that I thought were important – but neglected the interpersonal dynamics that would have had a tremendous positive impact on our team success.

As Peter Drucker says, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

And if you are serious about improving your results, you need to invest time and resources in developing the soft skills that impact your culture.

If you agree that culture is repeated behaviors, and behaviors are the result of beliefs, and that beliefs are a symptom of awareness, and that awareness is driven by experiences… then it is vital that you design and schedule EXPERIENCES that will ultimately be a catalyst for the culture you want to create.

That means focusing on the soft skills that your people need to be WINNING TEAMMATES.

Because whether it is basketball or business, it isn’t toxic talent that wins championships – it is the coordinated effort of people who work together most effectively.

If you are looking to improve your workplace performance, you would be wise to focus more on trying to ignite your people’s appreciation and adoption of these FIVE important soft skills:

 

  1. empathy –

Having emotional awareness and a desire to understand other’s moods and challenges and desires is a key to interpersonal effectiveness.  You don’t have to have lived through their stuff to UNDERSTAND how they must feel – and feeling understood is a huge part of feeling connected.

  1. initiative –

Having a strong work ethic is impressive… but even more impressive is someone who looks around and SEES something that needs to be done and then takes ACTION without having to be asked.

  1. listening –

The best teammates and leaders don’t tell.  They learn to ASK.  The quality of your life is determined by the quality of questions you ask! Actively asking for and seeking clarity about other’s perspectives and needs is a vital skill for winning teammates.

 

  1. collaboration –

The problem is rarely a lack of information… the problem is a lack of SHARING and requesting information… and the best leaders design processes that encourage it throughout their organization.

  1. ownership –

Claiming responsibility for RESULTS of what lands on your desk or inbox.  The best teammates know the importance of problem solving instead of problem shifting and putting issues on somebody else’s desk.  This skill leads to the doing all of the others!

As a team leader or invested teammate, you likely already recognize the significance and impact of people that are strong in these areas.

Harvard Business School released a study in 2016 that found a toxic employee can cost a company over $12,000 per year, while a superstar employee can actually ADD $5,000 to their bottom line – all because of the impact their actions and attitudes have on the team performance.

Abraham Maslow famously said, “What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself”

If you want YOUR team to improve THEIR soft skills and awareness, you need to provide them with experiences like an intentional teambuilding event or training that will improve their awareness of the impact their actions have on team performance.

And if you want to ensure that your people are AWARE of what it means to be a Winning Teammate, consider sharing the book with your team!

The post 5 Examples of Important SOFT Skills that Ignite Workplace Performance appeared first on Great Results Teambuilding.

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As a team leader or member, one of the greatest challenges you have is welcoming a new teammate and “showing them the ropes.”

But onboarding is NOT the most important part of bringing in someone new.

As a teacher and coach, I used to tell my students and athletes that it was less important how you start than what you do each day to ensure a strong finish.

And now, as a teamwork speaker, I share a similar message with audiences at conferences.

Don’t get me wrong – it is definitely important to welcome your new hire and provide them with the resources and warmth to make their transition comfortable.

In fact, I believe you should discuss with your existing team What to Share With a New Team Member (I put together a handout that you can download that addresses that specific challenge)!

But onboarding someone(while a significant step in their successful integration) is NOT the most important part of them becoming a successful part of your team…

So what is the most important part?

Well – to answer that, I want you to think of the last wedding you went to.  It was probably very nice. I remember my own… and as a father I cringe to consider how much time and effort and money goes into a ceremony like the one we enjoyed.

But the ceremony only lasts ONE day.

The IMPORTANT part of the marriage isn’t the wedding – it’s the EVERYDAY INTERACTIONS and kindnesses and intentional connections that you should focus on to build and strengthen that make a marriage successful!

Team building is like bridge maintenance – and whether it is the Golden Gate Bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge, or the bridge of relationships between the people on your team, it is important to invest time and resources to keep the “bridge” safe and strong.

Every leader invests time in strategy and planning…

But a GREAT leader recognizes the need to invest time in teambuilding activities and designing experiences for their people to laugh and interact and learn about each other and feel seen and appreciated.

When is the last time you set aside a day to connect your employees to a goal – and to each other – to let them know you appreciate them?

When is the last time you set aside a day to call and thank and connect with your past customers to let them know you appreciate them?

It isn’t about having a nice wedding only.

It isn’t about building the bridge or welcoming someone and then neglecting them.

Great teams are the result of daily intentional connections and development.

Great teams focus on keeping the marriage strong every day, and it that “bridge maintenance” that will keep your employees and customers happy and loyal.

If your team needs a little intentional “maintenance,” consider the impact that a professionally facilitated team building event might have on your team’s productivity, communication, and morale…

And if you want to ensure that your people STAY FOCUSED on the daily respectful kindnesses that build a great team culture, consider sharing my most recent book with them – The Ten Commandments of Winning Teammates.

Don’t just welcome your people and neglect them.

Team performance is a symptom of intentional “bridge” maintenance!

The post If an Onboarding Plan is NOT Your Greatest Challenge with New Teammates, What Is? appeared first on Great Results Teambuilding.

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Team norms are the foundation of your team CULTURE.

Your team CULTURE determines your team performance.

And while ALL leaders invest time and resources in strategy, that is never enough to build a GREAT team!

Strategy is what you want done, but CULTURE determines how it is done.

And CULTURE has become a buzz-word over the last few years…

There have been dozens on long, drawn-out explanations and prescriptions of what creates or impacts or defines the term.  But the truth is that it is relatively simple to understand…

CULTURE is the BEHAVIORS your team ALLOW to be repeated.

And even more important for team leaders to understand is the idea that the MOST IMPORTANT part of your team culture is the NORMS THAT YOU ESTABLISH early on in your team’s life-cycle.

So – What are Team Norms?

They are the agreed upon (and often unspoken) behaviors that every member of the team recognizes as standard operating procedure.

Every team has rules – some just aren’t printed and posted.

But everyone KNOWS what is allowed and what is not!

On the BEST TEAMS, though, team leaders invest TIME in defining a short list of defining team behaviors that are to be expected by ALL members – and they also define HOW the group will hold each other ACCOUNTABLE when violations occur.

(notice, I said WHEN, not IF – because there will always be missteps or bad moments… but Winning Teammates are consistent in addressing those so they do not become commonplace!)

SO How do You Define Team NORMS?

YOU can CLARIFY NORMS in THREE simple steps!
  1. Schedule time to have the entire team in a room to discuss what they believe should be expected behaviors by ALL team members

This will take a few minutes, and you should record the list of ideas that your people suggest on a whiteboard to discuss and clarify them.  You can share that a common list of team expectations might include things like:

-Begin and end meetings on time

-Come prepared

-Appropriate use of technology (stay off phones unless an emergency)

-Everyone participates, nobody dominates

-Respect everyone’s opinion

-Keep discussions confidential until ready to share outside the room

  1. NEXT, after compiling a list of behaviors that the team feels would be important to their success, explain that the BEST TEAMS limit their list of norms to FEWER than SIX – that way everyone can remember them.

So the second step is to go through the compiled list and identify which of them are the most important, keeping in mind that 4-5 are an ideal number…

  1. FINALLY, your job is to identify HOW you will address breakdowns in the team norms to ENSURE they are maintained by all team members.  (If they aren’t addressed, that communicates that they are acceptable)

You can share that a common list of team violation protocols might include things like:

-First offense: Visual Signal (ex: tapping of watch for being late)

-Second offense: Accountability Partner Conference

-Third Offense: Conference with manager / supervisor and plan created

-Further Offenses: Potential removal from the team

As a teamwork speaker, I can promise you that establishing team NORMS is a powerful tool to clarify team expectations and to ensure smooth interactions moving forward.

The time this will take may seem unwarranted early on… but if your team is expected to perform well together – whether in meetings or on a field or elsewhere – this step is a vital part of your team leadership role.

Clarifying WHAT is appropriate behavior and HOW any lapses will be addressed sets your team up for a far more successful experience. And as a team leader, one of the most fun moments you will experience is when your team members hold EACH OTHER accountable for violations and take ownership of ensuring their teammates’ maintain positive habits!

As a leader, this is only part of what it takes to develop Rapid Teamwork that GREAT teams enjoy.  Want to learn more about the five essential stpes to building a high-performance culture?

Check to Rapid Teamwork – a teamwork book you will actually enjoy reading!

The post Have You Clarified Your Team Norms? appeared first on Great Results Teambuilding.

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When somebody asks you “what’s wrong?” it automatically invites you to deliver a list of complaints or to explain why you are not okay in that moment…

Great teammates and leaders know that the quality of our life, and our leadership, is determined by the quality of the questions we ask! 

So what can we share with someone we are concerned about INSTEAD of the dangerously negative and commonplace “what’s wrong?”

Well I’m glad you asked… because the problem is a significant one.

Not just this one question, but with employee relationships, interactions, and the soft skills that determine success with people.

According to LinkedIn’s 2019 Global Talent Trends report, 92% of talent professionals and hiring managers say that soft skills are just as important–or more important–than hard skills.

Clearly, when a teammate is having a tough day or is noticeably not themselves it is helpful to have tools that can assist them in sharing and overcoming the feelings and challenges that they may be dealing with.

So today I want to share with you a couple of replacement questions that I learned in the middle of an event recently…

In the middle of debriefing the “perception cards” team communication and assumptions activity for a group of 120 or so, I led the post-activity conversation to identify relevant take-aways and applications.

This is the magic of any team building event, as the answers are usually interesting, often wise, and always interesting.  This particular group shared lots of ideas that fit with their daily activities and – but during our discussion there were TWO powerful questions that they suggested that I know YOU will benefit from using with your team.

QUESTION ONE: “What Happened?”

There is a HUGE difference between asking “what’s wrong?” and “what happened?”

What’s wrong presupposes a bad situation and negatively frames the conversation..

It also puts the person you are speaking to on the defensive, or in the role of a victim.

If you ask “what happened?” instead, the person has an opportunity to tell a story that you can relate to and then you can help them to re-frame the experience as an opportunity instead of a negative circumstance.

We all experience challenges – but when we refuse to label them as bad or good or right and wrong we allow ourselves to see possibilities that otherwise might have gone unconsidered.

QUESTION TWO: “What’s Right With You?”

There is ALSO a HUGE difference between asking “what’s wrong?” and “what’s right with you?”

Some people have a tendency to look for the negative.  It is a terrific opportunity to shock them into an unexpected consideration of what is going WELL in their life or in their circumstances.

As Wayne Dyer said, “When we change the way you look at things, the things you look at begin to change.”

Our perception of the world, or our current situation, is always determined by the filter that we see the world through.  If you look for what is bad, you will find more bad – but if you emphasize what is right, you begin to train yourself (and your team) to be more intentional about seeing good things…

Both of these questions are tools that you can use to be more of a HERO…

(you can download THAT information HERE)

And as a HERO knows, our responses determine our outcomes…

IF YOU WANT TO BE A HERO AND HELP SOMEBODY ON YOUR TEAM GET A BETTER OUTCOME, TRY THESE IDEAS OUT THE NEXT TIME YOU FIND YOURSELF WITH SOMEONE WHERE THE QUESTIONS MIGHT FIT…

Thanks for reading ; )

And if you want to be a better teammate so your team can enjoy more wins, I hope you will check out my most recent book –

The post TWO Powerful Questions to Use Instead of Asking “What’s Wrong?” appeared first on Great Results Teambuilding.

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Most every leader wants to have better communication with their team.

The challenge is that meetings are difficult and you cannot always have a face-to-face with your entire team or even the individuals you may need to share information with.

So you send out an email…

And then you wonder…

Did they open it?

Will they open it?

Did they understand the importance of it?

Will they do what you need them to after reading it?

And often, the issue with emails – especially with virtual teams, is that your team member’s inbox is flooded with other messages and (just like you) they aren’t always sure about which messages really ARE urgent or important.

And so rather than wondering if it will get opened or read, I would encourage you to consider adding a simple hack to all email communication for your team.

It truly is as easy as 1-2-3!

Here is what you do:

If an email is URGENT, at the end of the subject line, add an “IL1”

“IL1” tells your team that THIS MESSAGE NEEDS TO BE OPENED NOW!

It is an indication that the information inside the email is truly urgent and needs immediate attention. When you get something marked “IL1,” you know it is URGENT.

If an email is SOMEWHAT IMPORTANT, at the end of the subject line, add an “IL2”

“IL2”tells your team that THIS MESSAGE IS IMPORTANT, BUT NOT URGENT…

It is an indication that the information inside the email is SIGNIFICANT, BUT YOU DON’T NECESSARILY NEED TO OPEN IT NOW. When you get something marked “IL2,” you know it is important, but you can tackle it in the next 12-24 hours…

 

If an email is HELPFUL BUT CAN WAIT, at the end of the subject line, add an “IL3”

“IL3”tells your team that THIS MESSAGE IS USEFUL, BUT IT CAN WAIT…

It is an indication that the information is something that you may need to know or use in the future but does not require immediate attention.  When you get something marked “IL3,” you know it can wait a few days if other things are demanding your attention.

 

Just three simple characters can keep your team from feeling overwhelmed when they look at their inbox.

Instead of nuclear DEFCON LEVELS, your team can get used to including simple clues about email IMPORTANCE LEVELS to ensure that what NEEDS to be read immediately gets read… and what can wait isn’t cluttering the recipient’s to-do list.

Your team will appreciate that what is just being shared as helpful or superfluous email communication is not adding to their stress level!

Remember – It is unkind to be unclear.

And one way you can make your email communication better is by adding a simple 1, 2, or 3 to the subject line to help your team understand what is truly urgent, what is somewhat important, and what is just helpful but inconsequential.

If you are looking for more ways to inspire your team to be more productive and profitable with their attitudes and efforts, consider sharing a copy of The 10 Commandments of Winning Teammates.

Instead of specific strategies, this book is an entertaining story that will shift the mindset of your team… and often times a change is MINDSET is what is most needed to impact the successful implementation or execution of your strategy ; )

The post Better Email Communication With Your Team is Easy as 1-2-3! appeared first on Great Results Teambuilding.

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We’ve all heard them over the years.

Heck- some of us have BEEN one of them.

The complainer.

The person who sees something that needs to be done… who notices a problem and says out loud (or internally) that “somebody should…”

And the truth is that on your team, there are lots of those internal voices happening…

EVEN IF you don’t hear them complaining out loud.

One of the greatest opportunities for your team to GROW and IMPROVE is to take advantage of those voices – and instead of letting them drain the team’s energy, use this activity to inspire your people to take ownership of team performance and feel valued for seeing something that can be better and DOING SOMETHING about it.

I call it the “somebody should” activity…

This is an activity that allows team members to identify opportunities for improvement and areas of need in their organization, and then to prioritize the ACTION steps to address them.

Step one –

give each team member 4-5 index cards (or post-its)

Step two –

say to participants
“this activity is called ‘somebody should.’ And you are familiar with the phrase, but this will turn the phrase into something that has a positive impact rather than simply complaining… because we’ve all heard (or said) that ‘somebody should _____________’ – and we point at a problem rather than taking the time to actually DO something to fix it.
If you’ve ever said or even THOUGHT that phrase, raise your hand.”
(all hands go up)
“okay – if your hand is not up, either you are being dishonest or you feel bad about not wearing deodorant today ;
The good news is that you are right – somebody SHOULD do something.
The uncomfortable news is that YOU are SOMEBODY!
So… you have 4 or 5 index cards. Without writing your name, I want you to think about what are the things that you may have thought about when that phrase entered your mind.
Write down ONE THING that somebody should do something about on each of the cards.”
(if you need more cards, somebody should raise a hand and I’ll deliver a few more)

Step three –

say the following:
“NOW- place all the cards in the middle and share them by reading each out loud with your table. You are your partners will choose the (FOUR-SIX) cards that the rest of the room would think are most important to being more successful here.
You have ten minutes to read through and vote on them to get your table down to (FOUR-SIX)

Step four –

charting for action
“OK… great. Now that you have identified the most important items that somebody should focus on, we need to determine which ones will deliver the MOST impact with the LEAST pain.
(Point to wall chart, where you have written or posted “IMPACT” on x axis and “PAIN” on y axis)
Your job is to decide where to put your table’s post-it notes on the chart – based on the amount of IMPACT it will have and the amount of PAIN it might cause.
For example… something that would require a lot of effort / pain but only provide a little impact for the team would go HERE (illustrate quadrant)

Step five –

discuss possible actions to take next, take picture of chart for future ideas…
The items that are in the HIGH impact and LOW pain quadrant are easy things to do – identify who will do what and by when for accountability ; )

I encourage you to use this activity at an upcoming meeting.

Allow your people to identify the things that can have a huge positive impact on performance and morale for a small investment of resources or effort.

And then you can, as a leadership team, decide how to move forward with addressing some of the other things that might take more time and resources to address.

Do not underestimate the impact of small changes!

The positive momentum that your people will feel when they see things being addressed that were previously only unspoken annoyances can have HUGE ripples..

.

And if you want your people to enjoy a memorable day of laughter and relevant lessons that will change the trajectory of your organization, consider a professionally facilitated team building event.

My passion is in helping people become more positive and impactful teammates – and in helping team leaders create and maintain a strong and profitable team culture.

You can also pick up a copy of my book, Rapid Teamwork – it is an entertaining parable that shares the FIVE KEY STEPS to transform any group into a cohesive and productive TEAM ; )

The post How to Handle a Complainer… and Turn Them Into a Contributor appeared first on Great Results Teambuilding.

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Everybody likes to set goals…

But at the end of the season, do you always accomplish them?

As a team building event facilitator, I have learned that most teams do not… because they start the journey without preparing for the difficulties and issues that will likely be experienced along the way.

As leaders, the reality is that you have a choice – you can choose to look FORWARD WITH CONCERN or you can later look BACKWARD WITH REGRET!

Too often, team leaders look back on projects that have gone wrong and ask themselves, “What happened?” and / or “Why did it not go the way we expected?”

This is the traditional post-mortem – after the project is DEAD.

But some leaders, rather than looking back with regretful questions, ARE INTENTIONAL ABOUT looking forward with anticipatory questions.

You can invest time with your people in doing a pre-mortem to put together a plan to address the bumps in the road or threats you might encounter that would keep you from achieving the goals you have identified as important.

Take time early on to forecast why or how you might fail – and then prepare for that!

Think about it – after your season has tanked is the wrong time to discuss problems!

So what can you do to ensure your team is prepared for issues that might sabotage your success?

Here are three steps for a Team PreMortem:

 

Step 1: Ask Your Team to Meet and List Every Possible Problem They can Imagine Might Keep You From Reaching Your Goal.

Your only job during the first step of your pre-mortem is to write down every problem that has even a remote possibility to derail your project.

In this first part, no problem is too crazy and the group should feel free to share things that might sound silly or unlikely…

But WRITE DOWN EVERY IDEA.  Even if you are doing this alone, the act of writing it down is important to record possible obstacles.

This is the brainstorming part of the activity, and you should encourage your team to identify ALL possible threats that might sabotage your success.

  • What if somebody gets hurt?
  • What if there is a zombie apocalypse?
  • What if the weather keeps us from practicing?

Your main goal at this point is to record an exhaustive list of things that might go wrong.

The only things you DON”T want your people to discuss or suggest are SOLUTIONS.

That would shift their focus, and would be detrimental to the process.

With a team of talented and determined people, this will be harder to manage than you might think… but stick with it until you have a long list!

Step 2: Have the Team Identify the Top 5-7 Problems on the List.

This is where you take a look at prioritizing the massive list of possible issues that could keep your team from achieving its goals.

But there is an EASY way to choose your top 5-7.

First – Write down ALL ideas on a large wall-sized white-board.

Then – Give each person on your team three post-it notes.

Have them write the number 1 on one post-it, 2 on another, and 3 on the last post-it.

Then – ERASE any problem that your team does not have control over (nuclear warheads going off during a game, etc.)

Then – ask them to place the #3 post-it next to the MOST dangerous issue that could derail your season’s success.  Place the #2 post-it next to the next most dangerous problem.  Then place the #1 post-it next to the issue that they think is third-most dangerous.

Next – add up to see which issues have the highest “score.”

The top 5-7 are what you will want to focus on for step 3 ; )

Step 3: Invest Time in Defining Solutions for the Most Dangerous Threats to Your Team’s Success.

Surprisingly, the last step is usually the EASIEST part of the activity.

Once you get problems (or potential problems) out into the sunshine, they begin to seem less scary – and far more manageable.

If “poor free throw shooting” is one of the top 5-7 problems, you can address that by defining a solution that will help your team to proactively DO SOMETHING.

It is important to emphasize to your team that a solution is not TRULY a solution without ACTION!

 

WRITE DOWN the “action items” team members need to complete….

Clarify what needs to get done using this format:

WHAT?

By WHO?

By WHEN?

This pre-mortem activity is useless without an actionable list of things they WILL DO to ensure that the possible problems don’t become season-threatening realities!

This is a chance for your team to participate in thinking ahead to ensure their success.

Once they OWN the issues and TAKE RESPONSIBILTIY for dealing with them, your team will be far more likely to achieve the goals you set!

If you want ore ideas on how to LEAD a TEAM, check out my book RAPID TEAMWORK.. It is an entertaining parable about how to transform a group of individuals into a committed team sing five proven steps…

The post Use a PreMortem Activity to Ensure Team Success appeared first on Great Results Teambuilding.

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You may have wondered, or even asked friends or co-workers “Hey, are teambuilding events effective?”

But you would probably NOT ask those same people “Hey, is food good for you?”  

That is because clearly food is essential if you want to stay healthy and productive…

It may be surprising, but the questions are surprisingly similar – in that teambuilding is essential if you want your organization to be healthy and productive!

Just as there is a wide spectrum of differences in the QUALITY of food you can ingest, though, there is an equally wide range of quality in terms of team building experiences you can invest in.

If you want your body to be healthy, you have to stay away from eating too many “bad” calories, and should eat as many “good” foods as possible.

If you want your team to be healthy, you have to stay away from too many “bad” activities, and should focus on as many “good” activities as possible!

Let me explain…

There is a grand-canyon sized chasm of difference between eating a plate of fresh, healthy vegetables and eating a plate of gummy worms.

And there is a similar difference between investing time in intentional, relevant activities and investing time in recreational fluff.

Both food and team building are necessary to your team’s survival and development – but there are definite differences in the KIND of food or events you invest in…

When potential clients contact me, it is usually because they KNOW THEIR TEAM NEEDS SOMETHING TO PERFORM BETTER TOGETHER… they just don’t know what “it” might be.

Teambuilding is a nebulous, foggy, vague term

It is used to label an incredibly broad spectrum of activities… and so when I speak to clients, I often take a minute to discuss the difference between recreational and intentional team building.

Recreational team building includes things like going bowling together or playing laser tag or doing community service together or a company picnic.

These can all be valuable opportunities for people to spend some time together, and may inspire a few connections and conversations, but seldom do they have a lasting and significant impact on CHANGING BEHAVIORS.

Changed behavior is the result of changed awareness…

If you want your people to interact more profitably or to overcome specific issues such as trust or poor collaboration or personality conflicts, you will want to focus more on an intentional team building program.

Intentional team building events are FUN – your people will still laugh and spend time together building relationships and connecting – but even more importantly, the customized set of experiential activities will ensure that they leave with a better awareness of their tendencies and how their behaviors and attitudes impact the team performance…

 

And, as Abraham Maslow wrote, “the first step in changing anyone Is to change their awareness…”

And to answer your question… YES – team building is effective.  And there is  research and other articles from people who have seen its impact.  But the most impressive evidence for team building is anecdotal…

If you are wondering “are team building events effective?” you should click on and read a few of my past client comments

 

As a team leader, you want VALUE for your investment of time and resources – and an intentional team building program may provide the laughs and relevant learning insights that are exactly what your team needs to get unstuck and inspire a more positive culture!

 

 

The post Are Team Building Events Effective? appeared first on Great Results Teambuilding.

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If you are wondering how to get rid of silos, I have a newsflash for you…

Workplace silos are NOT barriers to be torn down.

(True story!)

Silos are VALUABLE connections!

You don’t want to get rid of silos, because they demonstrate existing links between people based upon shared challenges, values, and contexts.

You see them… but they are not created to divide people.  In fact, they exist to unite people to others with similar circumstances.

When you are frustrated by unnecessary, duplicate tasks, or our efforts to communicate are thwarted by blocked channels, silos may seem have a negative effect on efficiency.

But when a team leader asks me the question “can you help us break down silos?,” my response is always the same:

“you just need to create more quality connections.”

Whether it’s departmental or within a department, silos occur because people make those connections and stick to them. People need to be more connected to each other and to a compelling common goal, so that silos are smaller parts of, and contributing to, a larger whole.

I worked for over 20 years as a basketball coach before venturing into team-building and sharing insights as a teamwork speaker. And having coached, I would wager that you have heard the phrase, “there’s no I in team.”

It sounds good, right?

Well, I disagree.

Every athlete I ever coached was an individual first.

Each person in your office is an individual first.

Leaders need to show people that they are a part of something bigger. When we notice the ripple effect of individual actions, we understand who depends on who. Accountability grows from understanding the impact of your actions through these connections.

“Everything rises and falls on leadership,” as John C. Maxwell says.

Leadership also begins with an awareness, not just of your strengths and weaknesses, but of your situation and the role you play within the organization.

This applies to professionals of every level. Start with defining a compelling common goal so everyone has a desire to participate in its overall success. Then work out efficient ways to improve communication across the workplace.

Does your association or company have an organizational chart?

Such a simple tool can facilitate defined communication of who’s going to give what to who by when. Silos occur because of a lack of clarity in terms of expectations.

If you set up those expectations, with an organizational chart that shows who everyone is responsible to, those relationships provide clarity and keep communication flowing.

Not all activities are teamwork activities. You can do certain things without organizational input or collaboration.

 

Maybe breaking down silos is not the goal…

Maybe instead you should be connecting people to form a stronger network.

 

Give people time and opportunity to form those connections and share ideas and learn each other’s personalities and needs. There’s no collaborative conversation without that foundation of relationship that precedes it. Create opportunities for collisions and knowledge flow. For example, have assigned seats in meetings!

People need to get to know each other but unless encouraged otherwise, they will stay in their silo. Make specific changes to open the door to collaboration.

That may involve something like one of the Atlanta Team Building events I facilitate.

Managers reading this might think: “I’ve got enough on my plate and so do my team. Where will I find the time and resources to allow all this? What will it cost me to build connections?”

That’s a legitimate concern, but a recent study shows that organizations lose millions of dollars a year to poor communication.

 

Think about the long-term benefits of team building.

 

Instead of breaking down silos, you want to connect them!

The post How Can I Get Rid of Silos on My Team? appeared first on Great Results Teambuilding.

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One of the growing concerns for people who manage and lead project teams in any industry is the issue of remote workers.

It has become an increasingly important topic of conversation when people contact me about speaking to their organization or delivering a team building event as part of a retreat day they are planning…

Why?

Because they recognize that their people NEED CONNECTION to work more effectively.

This reality was further confirmed by a book I just finished reading… it is titled The Long Distance Leader, and is authored by Kevin Eikenberry and Wayne Turmel.

In case you haven’t heard of the authors, their accomplishments in growing and improving organizations through their previous books and training programs are impressive.

Far more relevant and important to you, though, is this most recent book they co-authored and the information and suggestions they provide to help you be a more effective leader when working with team members who are not in the same location that you are.

One of the ideas they share early on in the book is something I have believed for years – that “challenges for remote leaders very closely mirror those for managers in any situation.”

This simply means that the same stuff that traditional same-site teams experience as issues are also issues for a remote team.

The difficulty is in HOW to address and overcome those issues, because when face-to-face is not a possibility…

The WAY YOU LEAD has to change…

That is where the value of this book is found.

Kevin and Wayne provide an explanation of their 19 rules for remarkable remote leadership… and it includes suggestions for how and when to delegate, the “Three-O Model” of leadership, a discussion of synchronous and asynchronous tools you can use to better connect and share feedback with your people, and a “head, heart, hands” method of sharing information with clarity… and these are only a few of the things I highlighted as I read through my copy.

As a team building speaker and author myself, I passionately agree with their claim on page 32 that “as a long-distance leader, it gets harder – and perhaps even more important – to intentionally nurture relationships…”

If you are looking for a way to effectively manage your remote team, there is tremendous value in investing time to intentionally build trust and improve communication skills among and between your remote working group.

And whether you choose to kick off your project with a professionally facilitated custom team building event or not, The Long Distance Leaderis a book that you will appreciate having on your shelf.

The post How Can I More Effectively Manage a Remote Team? appeared first on Great Results Teambuilding.

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