Travel budgets slashed, bonuses unlikely, the prospect of redundancies. Now is probably not the time to ask for cash to fund the annual team building day but it might be the precisely the right time for some team development.
The phrase team building has risen in prominence in recent years as employers realised the value of a happy workforce where, despite their differences, team members are able to get along. For many, team building is simply about getting away from the office for a celebratory meal, drink or day out and there is some value in this. It creates a social context and allows colleagues space to become friends.
In the same way that a builder differs from a developer in the property world, team development is similar but distinctly different. Builders will turn up and build a wall, whereas a developer sees the potential for that wall to become a terrace of houses. Team development is a process in which a team takes time to explore its potential – how it can become greater than it’s been before.
Responsible property developers will take time to consider how their vision could improve the surrounding area, they may make space for play areas and educational facilities, they will consider how their development enhances the existing environment and seek to create something that stands out as an example of good design. Very often, over time this will have a positive impact on the whole community.
Developing a team also requires skilled design. The architect might be the team leader, an outside facilitator or the two working in partnership. They will study the strengths each team member contributes and research what untapped resources are available.
Guiding the team through this process smoothly is essential and if you focus on individual strengths and make the journey fun, even the more cynical team members will begin to contribute. This can result in a shared goal and a clear view of where the team is heading and why.