As a small business owner or entrepreneur, you are constantly faced with the challenge of having to keep your employees motivated and firing on all cylinders. There are times when productivity starts to drop, team members don’t “get along” and your company’s profits start to suffer. There is no quick fix for these symptoms; however, you might want to consider organising some sort of team building event to energize your team and get them motivated; this is a tried and tested formula for improving your team’s performance. There are a few things you need to keep in mind if you decide to go down this route:
1) Make sure you plan properly – If you don’t plan a team building event properly, you could end up doing more harm than good. At this point you may want to consider hiring the services of a specialized company. Not everyone will have the budget to do so, but if you can manage it, the whole event will be easier to manage and the results will be more positive. If you don’t have the budget, at least read up on the subject to make sure you know what you are doing – A quick search in Google will provide plenty of resources to help you on your way.
2) Decide where you will hold the event – This is critical; you may be tempted to just hold the event at your work place but the best results are obtained if you choose somewhere a little more appealing. A couple of years ago – at a company I worked for – we organised a team building session in the country side. This proved to be a great success as the location was idyllic and the team were able to completely disengage from their work environment.
3) Target the activities you chose to your team’s needs – Team building events always work well as motivators but you will see the best results if you take the time to analyse any needs your group has and then designing activities that help to improve performance in these areas. For example, if your team has trouble with trust and working together, you might want to find activities that focus on those issues; if you use a consultant to help you organise the event, they will be able to suggest activities that are suitable.
4) Make sure it’s not all fun and games – It’s important that your team enjoys the event but don’t forget that the whole idea is to improve some aspect of team work! You have to have some form of feedback system that allows you to track your teams progress during the event – if you use an external consultant, they will have trained observers whose job is to make a note of any “interesting” behaviours during the event; the feedback obtained is then used to promote discussion and hopefully to offer solutions to problems.
5) Follow Up! – It is vitally important that you follow up on these events. Just because the team building event is over doesn’t mean that your team building efforts should be. This type of event will only be successful if you have a detailed and concise follow up plan in place; you will then be able to continue building a sense of community and, more importantly, you will help to stop your team from going back to old habits. You need to reinforce the lessons learned in the team building event on a regular basis until they become engrained into your company’s culture.
Organising effective team building events is not an easy task; however, if done properly, the rewards can be amazing. You will be improving teamwork which in turn will have a positive effect on internal culture and ultimately on your company’s profits – that’s what it’s all about isn’t it?