2 Extremes in Corporate Team Building
- Team Building focuses on real problems anchored in reality. Activities and Simulations are a waste of time!
- Team Building explores work in a non-reality focused way. Activities and Simulations are the most effective way!
There is benefit to both sides.
Thinking, how to use team building to break teams out of their perceived stuckness to something different. Exploring what did and did not work to achieve a shared task/goal, and see what , if any, can be put into their existing team work.
Moving closer to the team building activity & simulation end
For example, you are working with a team to decrease the time it takes to complete a project and send it to the customer. This is connected to an endless amount of Machines, Materials, Methods, Measurement, Mother Nature (the environment), and the People in the process.
On the ‘Team Building Activities are a waste’ side
- Work with the team through Plan; Do; Check; Act (PDCA) and learn what other methods they use within the team.
- Guide the team through a Planning / Process Map
- Identify what is working how it should and what is not working how it should
- Create a small experiment (from the PDSA)
- Work with the team review and monitor progress/regress
Exploring what they do in their daily work…they may feel a certain stuckness and not be able to see how they can improve upon what they are already doing.
On the ‘Team Building Activities are Useful’ Side
- We would do a team building activity (most likely Cycle Time Puzzle, or Move-Stack-Build, or Trapufacturing).
- During the activity work with the team to process how to use PDCA to decrease project completion while still keeping defects (mistakes) to a minimum.
- Illustrating with the team how to make the improvement in an experiment, the team building activity, then applying the method/model to that activity can develop results.
- Team-members understand that there may be small improvements they can make in their work, using a similar process that we just did with the team building activity.
The final part comes back to reality (somewhat), and you work with the team to determine what can be useful to them in what we just did and the lessons learned from the activity.
For example,…the team was able to improve their time to zero defect completion of the Cycle Time Puzzle from 30 minutes to 30 seconds, this was accomplished through the use of teamwork, shared learning and known goals roles procedures, plus an experiment using a Plan, Do, Study, Act model.
The teams objective was to decrease the order in, order out to customer time.
Does it matter whether you use a team building activity?
It is a question of the team, their preference and what works best for the team, the people, and the task to be achieved.
What works is to:
- Try something different
- Use a shared model/method and experience results
- Break from the stuckness of This is the way we always do things
- Connect whatever you do back to the teams work