The most efficient team building technique
Team building without time wasting. Now, I love this process, team building without time wasting. What I love about it is the title: team building without time wasting. The cost of my clients hiring me is their time. Every CEO I’ve worked with loves this process–why? It is incredibly quick, it’s efficient, and it works. What are the steps in team building without time wasting? First, get up in front of the team, everybody has two separate pieces of paper. One, people are going to evaluate how well is the team doing on a 1-to-10 scale on two questions. We used this team building technique in Nice :
Question Number 1 is: How well are we doing in terms of working together as a team? I want to say that that doesn’t mean, how much money we make, are we efficient–how effective is our team process, interaction, dialogue, communication with each other?
And question Number 2: How well do we need to be doing? How important is teamwork for this team? Well, I’ve asked thousands of teams around the world this question. The average answer is, we are about a 5.8, we wish we were about an 8.7.
Most of us don’t feel our teams are working together as well as we hoped they would be. Well let’s assume that you’re doing this with your team and the team says we are a 5.8, we wish for an 8.7, simple. You say, great, let’s close the gap. How do we close that gap between 5.8 and 8.7?
The next step in the process is: every team member, you say, write down two behaviours that if everybody on this team got better on these two things, it would improve the quality of teamwork–and they write down two behaviours. And these are typically common sense behaviours like listening, recognition, common goals–good things.
They write down the behaviours. Then what happens next is you have everybody share the behaviours, but you don’t discuss people, you only discuss behaviours. And when you share those behaviours, the next step in the process is you say, Okay, team, let’s prioritize. Work with the team to help the team come up with the one most important behaviour that if everybody on the team got better at this one thing, it would improve the quality of teamwork.
For example, let’s say the team says listen, we all need to listen better. Fine. Now you practice feedforward. Every team member has a very brief one-on-one dialogue with every other team member that sounds like this. I’d say, Mr. Team Member, we are at 5.8 8 in terms of working together as team, we want to get to an 8.7. Everybody’s working on listening. Other than listening, please give me one or two quick ideas that if I did these things better, it would really help improve the quality of teamwork.
What are the rules? Ideas for the future, no feedback about the past.
Second rule: when you get the idea, you have to shut up, listen, take notes, and say thank you. You can’t judge or critique. Positive, simple, focused, and fast. Positive, simple, focused, fast. What happens next? After about ten minutes every team member has talked to every other team member. You look at the team members, say, now you have a list of things for you–pick one. Each team member picks one key behaviour for himself or herself.
Now, let’s say in my case I’m a team member, I pick recognition. Now we have a very simple three-question follow-up process that occurs about once a month. Every team member talks to every other team member about once a month in a process that sounds like this: Miss Team Member, we’re all trying to improve teamwork. We’ve all committed to be better listeners. Give me one idea based on last month to help me be a great listener next month. Two, my own area for improvement is recognition–give me one idea based on last month to help me do a great job of recognition this month. And three, I just want to be a great team player–give me one idea to help me be a great team player.
Three ideas, thank you, thank you, thank you. Return the favour–three ideas, thank you, thank you, thank you, follow up, follow up, follow up, follow up, follow up, follow up–and then a measurement at the end. As you can see what the measurement looks like, simple mini-survey measure. You will get more long-term improvement and team building doing what I just described than you’ll get shipping people off to the woods for a week, where they can hold hands, and climb trees, and sing songs. Nothing really changes–why? This process has follow-up, measurement, discipline, follow-up, measurement, discipline. One, it works. Two, it’s incredibly efficient. Why? It does not waste time and it does get results.