While many factors play a part in creating a successful meeting, off site team training program – here are 4 ways that work for organizations team building retreat success.
1) Full understanding why they are there.
It is imperative for the team to be knowledgeable of why they are involved in the team training. Transparency in the goals, expectations, needs of the team and individuals that are part of the team make participants feel comfortable.
If you plan on surprising the team with a jolt of, “The Company feels you are dysfunctional and we are going to spend a day team building” this will show a lack of trust and that you are treating the team as children.Even youth groups will not take well to this.
Meet with the team ask them what they feel is the team problems involve them in making decisions.
Team members know what is going on and they will tell you what they need – all you have to do is ask.
2) Proper sequencing of events.
This is why meeting with the team building consultant is necessary.
Sequencing is building from a “safe” point to a “riskier” point. If done properly the team learns as the program progresses. Whether it is 2 hours or 4 weeks – sequencing takes planning and time. A good starting point to understand how to sequence would be viewing Tuckman’s Stages of group development, Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning. This illustrates the progression of teams in development.
It is imperative to understand that at any point the team may shift from one stage to another. This should be kept in mind when sequencing team building activities and lecture based materials for the team program.
3) Focus on Processing and De-Briefing.
If you truly wish for a team building recreational event – realize that is all you will get a great time and laughs. That is a wonderful thing, and can build moral.
If you wish for a training and development program then do your research.
The team building activities are just vehicles to deliver learning to the team. The point of hands-on initiatives is to allow the team members to reinforce and test new learning and skills gained during a lecture part of the team program.
Additionally the hands-on and experiential nature creates a learner centered environment.
Processing (with the right facilitator) is exciting and motivating. Before you commit to a program ask the facilitator to lead a small sample exercise. You should feel at the end that you learned and gained some knowledge, a great facilitator in the processing makes you feel like you taught him something.
4) Follow up and now what?
Team building and experiential training are long term projects.
At the end of the session ask the team what to do to harness the energy and ideas that were generated. Create a concrete plan to follow up. Even go so far as to write down and put the goals and skills learned from the team building program into evaluations for the team members.
An effective team building program has the ability to encompass many different learning styles and skills at once. This is best viewed as a symphony of ideas. Any great composer (in this case team building facilitator) is able to keep the sounds beautiful and know just when different instruments are needed.
Invest in your teams abilities and the results sound like beautiful music!