The benefits of a properly formed, high performing team are evident across many top organizations. The continued achievements of many global organizations are not the result of serendipity but through carefully considered, purposeful training and positioning of staff. Yet the logistics, recruitment and development of staff members are only part of the prerequisite for achieving a high performing workforce. It’s no coincidence that incredibly successful global players such as Google and Apple place so much emphasis on team building. Both companies have gone to great lengths to create an environment where not only is there an emphasis on team building activities but that team building is ingrained into the very fabric of their company ethos. The misconceptions of the past of team building being a somewhat frivolous and unnecessary expenditure have been gladly cast off; the successes and results of true team cohesion are far too great to ignore.
Keeping your eye on the ball
As more and more companies try to adopt strategies to develop a strong sense of unity amongst staff, many have struggled to achieve success. Team building has no quick fix solution; it’s a process that constantly needs to be monitored and evaluated, just as factors affect the processes and needs of your business, so to do they alter the dynamics and functioning of a team. For many companies the biggest stumbling block comes from not properly defining or understanding the objectives of each step of the team building process or even of the long-term goals of the process.
The steps to a fully functioning team
You may be familiar with Tuckman’s Theory but here is our take on it below:
Stage 1 is the ‘forming’ stage where the very fundamentals are put in place. The team needs to be bonded through team building activities and to be guided towards their shared goals and objectives. It’s at this very beginning phase that two very important factors are implemented – the role of leadership within the team and the establishment of your company’s working culture.
Stage 2 is the ‘storming’ stage. This is where team members are allowed to develop and explore their working relationships and discover the working processes that allow them to work at their optimum. This stage will see the team develop effective strategies for problem solving and how to fully understand short-term goals and celebrate achievements.
Stage 3 is the ‘norming’ stage where the team is operating at an efficient level with effective processes and a firm understanding of their goals and colleagues. Taking the next to step to step 4 takes a dramatic shift in focus – ‘performing.’ Up to this point the emphasis has been on the needs of the team as a collective unit but once a team is well established, this is the point that we can turn our emphasis back to the individual. With the team’s objectives firmly in place, a high performing team can operate in a far more adaptive and fluid manner; areas of responsibility needn’t be so rigid as each member has a far greater knowledge of the business and the needs not just of their own area but of the company or project as a whole.
Ultimately the goal is to produce a team of highly motivated, happy members with the freedom to utilize their individual skills as best befits the goals of the team.