Team Building with a Purpose
Team-building activities can help employees feel more comfortable and connected, which leads to better morale, productivity, and employee retention. But there’s a common misperception that team building is all fun and games.
While there’s a time for and value in employee recreational activities, there’s also benefit in bringing your team together for a day to focus on solving a specific challenge your business faces. Work, it turns out, can be good way to build a better team.
Learning and applying new problem-solving skills to model or “fake” situations can feel sometimes meaningless and forced. An exercise around a hypothetical challenge may demonstrate some new ways of thinking and collaborating, but when it’s a real problem, the activity gains purpose and relevance to the participants: real money is on the table.
It takes advance planning and preparation to conduct effective team-building around a real problem. The day shouldn’t feel like just another day at work. As much as possible, put regular roles and responsibilities on pause and allow the team to fully focus on the problem to be solved. Ordering in lunch will keep the team connected while they take a break from the activities.
However, at the top of the planning list is the task of identifying a problem to solve. Identify a specific issue that is solvable and has the potential for different problem approaches. For the team to get a true problem-solving workout, the problem can’t be impossible nor can it be too easy.
Here are a few examples:
- How can we drive more repeat business?
- How can we reduce the number of internal meetings?
- How can we increase engagement on our social media channels?
- How can we provide superior customer service?
- Are there products or services adjacent to what we currently offer that might be compatible with our business and provide an opportunity for growth?
Set up a few rules of engagements to ensure everyone contributes and no one judges. Depending on the number of members of the team, you may want to have some breakout sessions to give people a chance to be heard in smaller groups.
Another thing you’ll need to do is create to structure the day to ensure the team arrives at one or more solutions. Time constraints are actually useful prompts — people tend to think fast when they realize time is nearly up.
Solving a real problem will give your team a positive experience of collaboration and a sense of satisfaction and pride. And given the opportunity, they might just come up with a game-changing idea for your business.
If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk: